Mary Poppins Offers Magic, Mischief, & Memories
BEVERLY – The North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Disney’s Mary Poppins brings together an animated cast for an evening of magic, mischief, and memories that delights audiences of all generations.
The show is an adaptation of the classic Disney film, however, co-creator Cameron Mackintosh returned to P.L. Travers’s book series for additional material. Still, the basic story remains. George Banks is a stern, emotionally unavailable banker whose family encounters a whimsical nanny Mary Poppins. Her mission is to help them better understand one another and learn important life lessons, no matter their age.
Our region’s theatre-in-the-round required some changes from the team’s previous production of the show during the summer of 2014 at Bill Hanney’s venture in Rhode Island, Theatre by the Sea.
While the set design featured fantastic pieces, it often assumed a minimalist approach that allowed for quick transformations during the nearly two and a half hour show. One intriguing effect was their incorporation of several digital, scrim backdrops that hung high above the audience to create a black silhouette of the London skyline. This fantastic addition brought even more wonder and life to several scenes with shooting stars, butterflies, and other surprises accentuating the heavens.
The rigging used to fly Poppins across the stage was obvious in several scenes, however, her soaring approach through the window of the Banks family home better obstructed the cables, offering a more fantastic flight for the audience. While they may not have hid the component well, the amazement of watching an actor float across stage was certainly satisfying.
Many cast members from the Theatre by the Sea production returned for another round of enchantment alongside NSMT Artistic Director Kevin P. Hill who directed and choreographed both productions. It’s clear that Hill understands the strengths of his actors, and knows exactly how to get the best out of each of them.
The singing and dancing was consistently impressive with above average performances by each of the leads as well as those actors in supporting and ensemble roles. This cohesiveness and absence of a weak link most definitely leads audiences to believe, “Anything can happen if you let it.”
Some find it difficult to break away from Julie Andrews’ portrayal of Poppins, however, Kerry Conte’s polished performance captures the determination of this sharp and charming character while developing a nostalgic sense that she is the Mary Poppins we all know and love.
Scarlett Keene-Connole and Jake Ryan Flynn offered standout performances as siblings Jane and Michael. They behaved like brats and beasts while managing to create a soft spot not only in their fictional father’s heart, but also in those of the audience as well.
While Brad Bradley’s cockney accent was distracting at first, his dancing during the show stopping “Step in Time” put to rest any doubts about his performance. He was flanked by a talented team of fellow chimney sweeps who tapped their way to a rousing round of applause from the audience at its conclusion.
The magnificent Molly Garner was mesmerizing as the emotional wife Winifred, belting beautifully “Being Mrs. Banks” in both the first act and as a reprise in the second half.
Ultimately, the talented team and cast behind Mary Poppins creates an appropriate balance between the story’s important themes and a belief in the unimaginable, bringing back to life the magic that exists in us all. Even if you’re able to capture it once again for just a few short hours, take the time to escape the “Brimstone and Treacle” and head to “Cherry Tree Lane” to catch this “Shooting Star” as Mary Poppins flies on stage at the North Shore Music Theatre through July 31.
Tickets & General Information
When? Performances will run July 12 through 24, 2016 with shows Tuesday to Thursday at 7:30PM, Friday & Saturday at 8PM, matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2PM; Added performances on July 28, 29, 30, and 31 at 2PM.
Where? North Shore Music Theatre, 62 Dunham Road, Beverly, MA
Cost? Tickets are priced from $54 to $79. Kids 18 and under save 50% at all evening performances. Click here to buy tickets today!
For tickets and information call (978) 232-7200, visit www.nsmt.org, or visit the box office in person.
Production Photos by Paul Lyden
All photos © Paul Lyden and North Shore Music Theatre. Do not reproduce, edit, or crop without expressed written permission.
Cast & Production Team
The cast of Mary Poppins will be lead by Kerry Conte (Mary Poppins) and Brad Bradley (Bert). The show features James Andrew Walsh (George Banks), Molly Garner (Winifred Banks), Al Bundonis (Admiral Boom/Bank Chairman), Janelle A. Robinson (Miss Andrew/Mrs Corry), Jennie Boone (Miss Lark), Brian Padgett (Robertson Ay), Ellen Peterson (Bird Woman/Mrs. Brill), and Jake Ryan Flynn (Michael Banks), and Scarlett Keene-Connell (Jane Banks).
The ensemble of Mary Poppins features Carlyn S. Connolly, Craig Donnelly, Jordan Dunlap, Cameron Edris, Alex Eisenberg, Briana Fallon, Jacob Paulson, Haven Pierra, Will Porter, Cara Salerno, Brad Trump, Lael Van Kuren, Chris Woods, and Alex Zarlengo.
Mary Poppins will be directed and choreographed by NSMT’s Producing Artistic Director, Kevin P. Hill. The creative team also includes Milton Granger (Music Direction), Bert Scott (Scenic Design), Mark Nagle (Costume Coordination), Martin E. Vreeland (Lighting Design), Daniel Erdberg (Sound Design), ZFX, Inc (Flying Effects), Natalie A. Lynch (Production Stage Manager), Zachary Tucker (Assistant Stage Manager), Luke Flood (Assistant Music Direction), and Binder Casting (Casting). MARY POPPINS is produced for North Shore Music Theatre by Bill Hanney (Owner/Producer), Kevin P. Hill (Producing Artistic Director), and Tom Amos (Associate Producer).
The 2016 Season at NSMT
North Shore Music Theatre will continue the 2016 musical season in August. Beverly’s theatre-in-the-round will be soaked as Singin’ in the Rain storms through from August 16 to September 4. Audiences will be sore from laughing their behinds off when Monty Python’s Spamalot comes from Sept 27 through October 9. The season will sizzle with the heat, passion, and drama of West Side Story from November 1 through 20. The season will conclude with the 26th annual production of A Christmas Carol starring David Coffee running from December 9 to 23.
For more information or to purchase tickets & packages today, visit www.nsmt.org.
More About North Shore Music Theatre
Since 1955, NSMT has become one of the most attended theatres in New England, with approximately 250,000 patrons annually. With a national and regional reputation for artistic achievement, NSMT has received numerous industry awards including Elliot Norton Awards, IRNE Awards, the Rosetta Le Noire Award from Actors’ Equity, and the Moss Hart Award. NSMT produced the World Premiere of Memphis in 2003, the show went on to win four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Under the new ownership of Bill Hanney in 2010, NSMT continues to annually produce a musical subscription series and an annual production of A Christmas Carol along with celebrity concerts and children’s programming.
For tickets and information call (978) 232-7200 or visit www.nsmt.org.