Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mary Poppins' Flight On Broadway Begins Tonight

Mary Poppins' Flight On Broadway Begins Tonight

Nearly two years ago, Cameron Mackintosh and Disney joined forces on London's West End in recreating a Mary Poppins that was much more in line with author P.L. Travers' original artistic vision than its silver screen incarnation. The resulting stage sensation received eight Olivier Award nominations, including for Best New Musical , and captured two awards for Best Actress in a Musical (Laura Michelle Kelly) and Best Choreography (Matthew Bourne).

Now, after a month of previews at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre, the U.S. production makes its official bow this evening. Included in the staging is Gavin Lee, who originated the role of chimney sweep Bert in London; Lee was nominated for an Olivier, in part because of his captivating upside-down dancing "on" (under?) the theatre's proscenium. Alongside him will be Ashley Brown in the title role.

It was nearly impossible to find a ticket to Mary Poppins after it opened in London, but the stateside version has only been showing to an average capacity of around 90%. Will all that change once the reviews come out tomorrow? Or will critics pooh-pooh one of the most beloved of British imports landing on the Great White White?

My prediction is that Ben Brantley of The New York Times will repeat his decidedly negative review of the London show, which he called, "bizarrely ambivalent." However, I'm confident that critics will not be calling this "Mary Floppins" as suggested by Michael Riedel of the New York Post.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Mary Poppins, Grey Gardens Tops Among SOB Readers (October 27, 2006)
Survey Says.... (October 23, 2006)
Mary Poppins Lands Top Five Capacity Spot With Broadway Debut (October 17, 2006)
Which New Broadway Musical Are You Most Enthusiastic About Seeing? (October 16, 2006)
Which British Hits Will Be Broadway-Bound? (September 20, 2006)
Which Broadway Musical Will Depart Next? (August 21, 2006)
Rejoice! Gavin Lee to Cross Atlantic for Mary Poppins on Broadway (May 8, 2006)
Flashback: Best of 2004-05 (May 26, 2006)
Disney Moves from Continent to Continent (May 22, 2006)

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At 16 November, 2006, Blogger Michael said...

We were in London a few weeks before they opened for previews...I was so mad! Fortunately while we were there we got to see The Woman in White with Michael Crawford and Maria Friedman - not the best of shows, but was great to see both of them.

We were just in NYC last weekend and had a chance to catch A Chorus Line, Mimi Le Duck (with Eartha Kitt - she was Fab) and the revival of Company - totally OUTSTANDING!

At 16 November, 2006, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Thanks for everything you've shared, Michael!

My first time seeing Mary Poppins was in London within a couple weeks of its opening. I was mesmerized. I guess my question back to you is whether you'll go see it now that it's in New York? (I've now added a new poll question on the upper right hand side of Steve On Broadway in which you can vote).

I never did see The Woman In White -- I've only seen Crawford once: in a Las Vegas spectacle called EFX at the MGM Grand a number of years ago. The production was overblown, but it was fun seeing him.

Would be curious to hear what you thought of A Chorus Line. I love Eartha Kitt (saw her several years ago as the Fairy Godmother in a touring production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella -- seeing her was worth the price of admission).

Finally, appreciate the heads-up on Company. I already have my tickets, but won't actually see it until February. Hearing your praise for it only enhances my excitement for seeing it.

Thanks again, Michael!



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