“Mary Poppins” reviews: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!!

 Step In Time 2

Daily Herald’s Barbara VitelloHighly Recommended

Excited doesn’t begin to describe the audience for the opening of the long-awaited “Mary Poppins” national tour Wednesday at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. Exhilarated is more like it.

Young children bounced in their seats, adults gasped with surprise and the applause that accompanied the overture’s opening notes didn’t stop until after the enigmatic Mary Poppins (the delightful Ashley Brown reprising the role she created on Broadway) flew away for the last time.  (Read entire review here.)

mpbanner

«««  Chris Jones, of the Chicago Tribune’s blog The Theater Loop, gives the musical extravaganza 3-stars.    Says Jones in his theater review:

Smart children know parents have to be trained to behave. Savvy, pint-sized domestic reformers will be thrilled with “Mary Poppins,” a rare family musical that spends most of its ample running time exhorting parents to stop working, take care of their long-suffering spouses, discover their inner supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and go fly a kite with the kids.

And parents? Speaking as someone who can always use help in that department, the ministrations of a magical nanny—emotionally inaccessible but practically perfect in every other way—sound good to me.    (rest of the review here)

mpbanner

Chicago Sun Times’ Hedy Weiss – Highly Recommended

Mary Poppins” audience as lucky as lucky can be in nanny’s magical hands.

The magic in “Mary Poppins” — the darkly whimsical, continually ingenious musical that opened Wednesday at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in its post-London, post-Broadway and initial national touring company engagement — is doled out in generous but carefully calibrated spoonfuls. And because that magic (some of it quite black, most of it airborne and exhilarating) is interspersed with a healthy dose of realism, it takes on a special Technicolor glow when unleashed.  (Entire review here.)  

Step In Time 1

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Buy tickets at TicketMaster.

Related Blog Posts

Mary Poppins Extends Stay In Chicago – Theatre In Chicago

Olivia Newton-John: "Xanadu" interview

Olivia

 

This past Friday, the Sun-Times featured Misha Davenport’s interview with pop culture’s film icon Olivia Newton-John.  I really loved hearing her take on reasons why Xanadu the movie could be so god-awfully bad while Xanadu the musical could be so successful.  The entire interview is here, but here’s a few out-takes to pique your interest:

 

 

Misha: You spent so much of the film on roller skates.  Still roller skating?
Olivia: Let’s just say I haven’t been on roller skates since the ’80s.
   
Misha: The film had a great soundtrack and terrific cast, including Gene Kelly, Michael Beck and yourself.  What went wrong?
Olivia: I think the big problem was the script.  It just kept changing with constant rewrites, which is not a good sign in hindsight.  More of the answer here.
   
Misha: What does it feel like to have been part of “Grease” and “Xanadu,” two iconic film musicals?
Olivia: I am blessed to have been part of both projects.  Obviosly “Grease” changed my life and that film seems to find a new audience every year. ….. And having the chance to dance with both John Travolta and Gene Kelly, what more could a girl ask for??  (more here)

 

Fun stuff, right?   I remember owning the album with “Have You Never Been Mellow”, and played it over and over.  Though not in the original movie, they’ve inserted this same song into the stage version, which is a great idea.  Read the entire interview!

 

 Olivia6   Olivia3 Olivia4

Olivia5 Olivia with the Chippendales.  Looks like she's having a good time!

Chicago Theater – Best of 2008 (Chicago Sun-Times)

 Requiem - smaller 1  

 Hedy Weiss, theater-critic extraordinaire for the Chicago Sun-Times, has put together an excellent list of her 10 favorite plays of 2008.  Along with the list, Hedy notes the wonderful year Chicago theater has had on the national stage:

…this was the year that Steppenwolf Theatre picked up five Tony Awards for its Chicago-bred Broadway production of Tracy Letts‘ “August: Osage County” before the cast crossed the pond to remount the show at London’s National Theatre, and when the Chicago Shakespeare Theater was feted with the “Best Regional Theater” Tony.

Continuing:

But that was just the beginning. Next Theatre‘s production of the new musical “Adding Machine,” was hailed in its Off Broadway incarnation, with director David Cromer racking up plaudits for his work on that show, as well as for his revelatory revivals of “Our Town” (at the Hypocrites) and “Picnic” (at Writers’ Theatre). Profiles championed the work of incendiary playwright Neil LaBute to grand effect. Remy Bumppo earned laughs with its tale of financial chicanery in a revival of an Edwardian classic, “The Voysey Inheritance.” And director Sean Graney experimented boldy with productions of “The Threepenny Opera” and Marlowe‘s “Edward II.”

 columbinusruinedcolumbinus2 amadeus

Now here are Hedy Weiss’s favorite productions in 2008:

 

1. Caroline or Change  (Court Theatre)
by Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori
Standouts: Charles Newell (director), Doug Peck (musical director); performances: Malcolm Durning, E.Faye Butler
     
2. Ruined  (Goodman Theatre)
by Lynn Nottage
Weiss comments: Worthy of a Pulitzer Prize, the play will soon move to New York’s Manhattan Theatre Club.
 
     
3. Gatz  (Elevator Repair Service Theatre)
by John Collins
 
     
4. Our Town  (The Hypocrites)
by Thornton Wilder
Standouts: David Cromer (director)
 
     
5. Requiem for a Heavyweight  (Shattered Globe)
by Rod Serling
Standouts: Lou Contey (director)
 
     
6. Amadeus  (Chicago Shakespeare)
by Peter Schaffer
Standouts: Gary Griffin (director), Daniel Ostling (set designer); performances: Robert Sella, Robbi Collier Sublett, Elizabeth Ledo, Lance Baker
 
     
7. As You Like It  (Writers’ Theatre)
by William Shakespeare
Standouts: William Brown (director), Performance: Larry Yando
 
     
8. Drowsy Chaperone  (Cadillac Palace Theater)
by Laura Wade
Standouts: Casey Nicholaw (director)
 
     
9. Around the World in 80 Days  (Lookingglass)
Standouts: Laura Eason (adaptor/director); Performances: Philip R. Smith, Kevin Douglas, Joe Dempsey, Ravi Batista, Anish Jethmalani, Ericka Ratcliff, Nick Sandys and Rom Barkhordar
 
     
10. Columbinus  (Raven Theatre)
by Stephen Karam and P.J. Paparelli
Standouts: Greg Kolack (director); Performances: Matthew Klingler and Jamie Abelson
 

To see the Hedy Weiss’s complete description and thoughts on her favorite plays, click here.