Thursday, December 17, 2009
I was only 10 years old when I had my appendix removed in 1964. I remember the pain and my mother crying. But I also remember, quite fondly, the book that kept me company while I was in the hospital: Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. It was the first full-length novel I read and was thoroughly enchanting. We had seen the movie, which came out earlier that year, but there was something quite captivating about the book’s Mary Poppins. She has held a special place in my heart ever since.
One of the reasons I subscribed to Ahmanson theater season tickets this year was to see Disney’s musical adaptation of Mary Poppins. I originally had tickets with Karen, but had to change dates because of out-of-town guests. So I went by myself last night (Tim is not a fan of the nanny). I had a third-row center seat—absolutely perfect. It was me and lots of parents with young children—and on a Wednesday night, too!
The play was wonderful, though slightly different from the movie. For one thing, this Mary is a lot less snooty than Julie Andrews and seems to genuinely care about her two wards, who are also very good in their roles. Bert is terrific and brings the house down during “Step in Time,” when he (spoiler alert!) dances upside-down on the stage ceiling. It was completely breath-taking! Mary also flies several times, which is exciting, especially for those of us afraid of heights. But the biggest thrill, of course, is “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Almost every cast member was on stage dancing and miming the letters of my favorite word when I was a kid. I wanted to scream the lyrics, but somehow managed to keep my mouth shut. The audience went wild.
As wonderful as Mary Poppins is, I always cry at the end when she (last spoiler alert!) leaves—partly because I wish she and Bert could stay together, but mostly because the magic is ending. The play is on till February 7. I highly recommend getting tickets right now before Mary flies off again.