I was originally planning on posting this review some place else, but my own website seems to be the best fit for it. In many ways I am glad.
Musical theatre has always been close to my heart. I plan on writing one myself one day. (Though my marriage musical has been put on hold with my writing partner now living in Quebec. What shall I do with my show stopping song "Vasectomy" or my Act Break tension filled closer, "What Would Dr. Laura Do?" Only time will tell.)
Meanwhile, I give you my Mary Poppins review. Hope you enjoy. ------------------------------------------------------------------
Rex and I will be married ten years in August. Perhaps the most daunting part of our passionate union is that delicate balance between being a strong couple and maintaining our personal identity.
A prime example of this emotional juggling occurred just last Thursday. For weeks Rex and I had looked forward to a date night to the Tony Award winning musical Mary Poppins. Instead, due to L.A. rains, we got a very sick Rex. A spoonful of sugar wasn’t going to keep him from coughing through Step In Time. (Though you wouldn’t have heard him over the raucous clapping and you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it tap dancing and stage stunts.)
Having a big piece of Mary Poppins independence, I went ahead without him – and boy am I glad.
With sets that opened and closed like vintage doll houses, voices as lyrical as angels and enough dancing to make you breathless from watching, I felt guilty thinking this would be just another super-sized version of a good movie. This was indeed a razzle-dazzle family spectacular worth every bit of standing ovation it received.
Like me… ahem… Mary Poppins, who is Practically Perfect , the show was not without its flaws. There is a subplot involving a dancing statue and life sized toys that visually were stellar, but story wise seemed a bit contrived. And yet, these minor chinks were nothing compared to a musical armor of feel good optimism that radiated from the moment Burt stuck his head out of the chimney. (The world’s favorite chimney sweep was played by the intoxicating Gavin Lee. Check out the brilliant Step In Time ensemble here.)
Perhaps most surprising, and touching, was the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Banks. While the husband was still the same stodgy Rex… I mean banker… from the 1964 classic, Mrs. Banks’ suffragette subplot was replaced with the very same angst I consistently speak of in this column. She wants to support her children and her husband:
I have a comfy home
I have a simple life
I have a name which tells the world
I’m someone else’s wife…
And yet she desperately clings to who she was before her “I” became a “We”.
And as for his ‘best’ people
Well, I’d like to say “no thanks”
They’re not exactly my idea
Of being Mrs. Banks.”
Unlike Mary Poppins (Ashley Brown) who could come and go on her terms, Mrs. Banks (played by the impeccable Megan Osterhaus) had the tougher role of maintaining composure amidst runaway children, household calamities and her husband’s career crisis.
Yet, rather than “settling” for a boorish man, she became the gracious rock that allowed that man to shine.
And now although you're lost
It's time that we closed ranks
I'll fight for the man who needs freeing
The 'real you' who no-one is seeing
And you'll find a way of just being
Being Mister Banks.
Like this musical, marriages can surprise us. But, like Winifred and George, I’ve found that bringing out the best in someone when they are down on their luck is the most unsung, yet most important, virtue of all. Husbands and wives might not win Tony Awards for it, but we’ll end up with a peaceful home life. Not even the lights of Broadway can compare to that.
· Disney This blog adheres to a FULL DISCLOSURE policy. Disney graciously comped my tickets to the show. If you'd like to go, you can order them here. I am considering purchasing tickets for the kids. I'll let you know if I do.