Mary Poppins on Broadway + the New Amsterdam Theatre

Anyone who knows me knows about my love of music. Broadway musicals are heavenly to me, and I could sit in the theatre all day to listen and watch one after another. On my recent trip to NYC for the red carpet premiere of War Horse, Disney/DreamWorks treated 20 bloggers, including myself, to a showing of Mary Poppins on Broadway! It was absolutely fabulous!

The Mary Poppins musical is based on the Disney movie as well as the P.L. Travers Mary Poppins book series. If I am not mistaken, it was this series that first inspired the film. The musical follows the book a little more closely than the movie, from what I’ve been told. There were no dancing penguins or floating in the air due to laughter. However, there were some phenomenal dance scenes and a scene where Burt Reynolds walks up the wall and across the ceiling. The talent that it takes to accomplish that feat, while singing and not sounding winded at all, is just beyond me. I am particularly fond of Burt and was just mesmerized by him through the entire show.

Of course, Mary Poppins is the real star of the show. I actually hadn’t seen Mary Poppins (the movie) until I was a teenager. I watched it with a friend and immediately knew that it would be a show that I would one day want my own kids to see – and they have! Like me, my children enjoy watching shows with a lot of music and dancing in it. The music just captivates my youngest, Brielle. I think that is why she was able to sit through The Muppets.

The actress who played Mary Poppins was of course absolutely talented. I love how toward the end of the show Mary flies over the audience, and she does it with such cool and calm style.

The two children that play Jane and Michael were also beyond amazing. During the scene of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, the dance steps and hand movements were so incredibly fast that I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to keep up. Jane and Michael never missed a beat and just worked their little bodies so hard.

I loved the relationship that Jane and Michael developed with one of the park statues, Neleus, the son of Poseidon. The statues have a roll in the musical that I don’t recall being in the book. Neleus seemed to have a special teaching moment with the kids, and they were just drawn to him and his own story. Some found that the nudity of the statues was a bit much, but it was all costume and their particulars were covered with leaves (also part of the costume). The costuming was just fabulous and they did a great job of making everything seem so real. The shadowing and such of the statues’ costumes made them look so real.

If you do ever get a chance to go to Broadway or see an Off-Broadway show, Mary Poppins is definitely an absolute delight.

You can get a good feel for the musical by watching this fun Youtube video, that shows a snippets of the play. The music is slightly different, but so fun. You can follow Mary Poppins on facebook, Twitter, and be sure to check out the Mary Poppins website, where you can purchase tickets.

Mary Poppins takes place in the New Amsterdam Theatre, which is just beautiful. We were taken on a tour of the theatre by Kymberly Tuttle, who was just incredible. We learned so much history! The theatre was renovated in the 1990s by Disney, because after The Great Depression, the beautiful $48 million dollar theatre was turned into a movie house.  To make the movie house dark and appealing for movies, all of the beautiful architecture (I mean everything) was covered in Chocolate colored paint!

From the 1970s to the 1990s, 42nd street, where many of Times Square theatres are located, was just an awful part of town. The streets were not a safe place to be. In the 1990s the streets were cleaned up. Between Disney, The Port Authority and the State of New York, they were able to remodel the theatre and make it beautiful once again.

The renovation was quite intensive and there was water damage and damage of paintings and sculptures, but they were able to continue and keep most everything in tact as there was team of certified water damage restoration professionals who helped us. They had large mushrooms growing in the orchestra pit, so I can only imagine how devastating it would have been to see such beautiful architecture and history so horribly treated. After getting rid of all of the chocolate paint, they discovered that the paint almost acted as a preservative and the beautiful sculptures and architecture underneath it all, remained in tact. They did do some things to make those things once again look slightly aged, rather than brand new. It was an intensive amount of work that had to be done, but they were able to make the New Amsterdam Theatre a once again beautiful place to visit and see magical shows in.
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We were taken on a tour of the theatre, and got to visit a special room that had props and costumes from several of the Disney musicals that have been performed on Broadway. It was so fun to learn about the costumes and to even get to try out or use whatever we wanted. It was a hands on experience that was fabulous. We even learned that they plan to make an official tour out of the theatre sometime in 2012.
The picture above is of me wearing one of the magnificent hats from the Disney musical, Aida. The following two pictures are of me in the shell that Ariel performed in (The Little Mermaid). I would love to see The Little Mermaid on Broadway!!

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I feel so absolutely privileged to have been part of such a spectacular weekend.

*Disney/DreamWorks sent me on an all expense paid trip to NYC for the showing of Mary Poppins on Broadway as well as the premiere of War Horse. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Emily Buys

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