After seeing the premiere of "Mary Poppins" at the Blumenthal last week, I can say one thing for sure: Charlotte is getting the big city treatment with this show.
The musical is part of the Blumenthal's Broadway Lights Series, which is a professional organization, so you'd expect something pretty decent.
The sets were fabulous and felt like a Broadway show in NYC. Mary glides through the air with her umbrella, Bert tap dances on the ceiling, a drab park turns into a kaleidoscope of color. It really was marvelous to stare at. I found my mouth gaping quite a few times.
And hearing all those favorite songs from my childhood was such a treat. I think half the audience hummed along with "Chim Chim Cher-ee" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," and several times we broke out into clapping with the beat.
Those two praises alone may make the show worthwhile, but there were a few drawbacks.
First, I didn't like the portrayal of Mary. I know it must be tough to follow in the footsteps of Julie Andrews, but Andrews played Mary Poppins with kindness, levity and just a touch of sternness. This show's Mary Poppins was fairly snotty, constantly preening and snapping at the children with sarcastic comments. I didn't quite understand why the kids liked her.
Second, the show is long. We didn't get out until nearly 11, and it started at 8. I was pleasantly surprised, though, at how well the many children in the audience behaved. No way would my 7-year-old son have survived.
Finally, the story is pretty thin and forced. I think that was true in the Disney movie, too.
Still, there are some real showstoppers, especially this incredible tap number to "Step in Time." And how fun is it to see grown adults singing along with a Disney show.