Get ready to be swept away! The east wind is blowing a “practically perfect nanny” into the Baldwin Theatre. Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins runs November 20th through December 20th at the historic Baldwin Theatre in downtown Royal Oak.
Set in early 1900s England, charming Cockney chimney sweep Bert (Jason Cooper of Belleville) introduces us to the Banks family who are in desperate need of a new nanny. The father, George Banks, (Tony Battle of Royal Oak) is looking for someone who will be strict with his children, however they have their own ideas about their caretaker’s qualifications. When mysterious nanny Mary Poppins (double cast; Hayley Pulizzi of Warren and Celeste So of Huntington Woods) arrives on their doorstep, she is the answer to their prayers. With sidekick Bert, Mary takes Jane (double cast; Madilyn LaJoice of Farmington Hills and Gabriela Moncivais of Grosse Pointe Park) and Michael (double cast; Nathan Koss of Lake Orion and Spencer Clark of Lincoln Park) on a series of magical adventures. Mary’s positive effect radiates beyond the children as even the grown-ups learn a lesson or two.
The stage production is an entertaining mix of the P.L. Travers books and the 1964 Disney film. “The musical splits the difference between the film and the books. The books tend to be darker. Essentially, the books are a series of adventures (short stories) that the Banks children (5, not 2) have with Mary. The musical is darker than the film and it is that juxtaposition that makes the ending happier,” says Director John Luther of Farmington.
Theatre-doers will enjoy many of the songs from the classic film (“A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Feed the Birds”) as well as a few new songs written specifically for the musical (“Practically Perfect,” “Being Mrs. Banks”). There will not be dancing penguins, but Mary Poppins does fly and there are a couple of toys that come to life. Master carpenter Mark Clark and his crew have been constructing a unique set which has been intricately scaled to the Baldwin Stage. The set design, inspired by the National Touring production, is essentially a giant cube that splits in half and opens to display different scenes. Crew and cast members are responsible for turning the set between the acts and have had rehearsals just to choreograph the movements to provide a seamless flow.
Patrons attending the Nov. 20 opening night performance are invited to participate in the complimentary pre-glow featuring light hors d’oeuvres, courtesy of Bistro 82 of Royal Oak, and beverages courtesy of Stagecrafters. The pre-glow runs from 7 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.
Show tickets are $22 on Thursdays, $24 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Tickets may be purchased online atwww.stagecrafters.org (online handling fees apply) or by phone at 248-541-6430 using Visa or MasterCard. All seats are reserved and there are no refunds or exchanges on individual tickets. If shows have not sold out, tickets can be purchased at the box office one hour prior to the performance. Student, military and senior discounts are available for specific performances. The Baldwin Theatre is located at 415 S. Lafayette in downtown Royal Oak. Mary Poppins is rated G and recommended for ages 7+. This show will utilize the following special effects: strobe lighting and theatrical haze, fog and smoke which are chemically allergenic.