So, I saw Mary Poppins tonight at Gammage. I can't even tell you how excited I was for this. Mary Poppins is one of my all time most favorite movies, and I especially love the soundtrack. My mom had it on a record and I listened to it over and over as a kid. We had the movie on VHS, which was watched a lot, and if you know me at all, you know I watched it over and over and over and over and over. Eventually we recorded the soundtrack on to an audio tape (with Annie on the other side, another favorite) that I continued to listen to until it melted in my car when we moved to Arizona.
Mom, if you haven't seen it yet, you may want to skip my review. And if you aren't as familiar with the movie, you may not care, but I am so disturbed that I needed to get it down in writing. I'll start with the high points. The cast were amazingly like the characters in the movie. I thought Katie Nanna had been beamed through time and placed on stage. their voices were top notch when they did sing, and the dancing was very well coordinated. "Step in Time" was brilliant in the dance coordination, and they all had on tap shoes, which added to the effect. They had almost the entire cast in unison with the sweeps and everything. I was thrilled that it was done well. But the rest of it pretty much sucked. They kept some characters, but not their odd charm and personality. For instance, Mr. Banks talks to the Admiral in the street, but never did they address the fact that he sets off a cannon every day at noon and the whole house shakes and everyone has to scramble to keep the breakables from falling off teh walls. Scenes were out of order, and some just plain omitted. Bert's bipolar uncle was no where in the story, which also means that one of my favorite songs was gone too - "I Love to Laugh." The scene in the park when Bert dances with penguins was creepily done with statues instead of penguins. The words to Supercalifragileisticksxpialidocious were changed, and the scene where they sang it was new. As a purest, I can't believe they changed the song that is most known and associated with the movie. I was appalled. I hate the song "Feed the Birds" and they did a reprise of it 3 times. Really? I find it hard to believe that of the 18 original songs from the movie that the stage writers could only find ways to include and adapt 6 of them. The movie is only 140 minutes long, you could easily have used the exact same script. They also took time to write new songs, and turn them into main focus pieces of the entire production. Mary Poppins was not "Practically Perfect" as she is in the movie, but came off as goofy and silly as opposed to composed and wise. Mrs Banks came off as pathetic and insecure, which was obviously planned and so leaving out "Sister Suffregette" only took away from her strength. "Let's Go Fly a Kite" was sang with Bert & Michael instead of Mr. Banks, which took away from the whole meaning behind the song.
Was I glad I went? Yes. Would I see it again? No. I guess I should have known better. I assumed that since Annie and Chicago were both well done on the stage and in the movies, I thought this would be the same. I have always wanted to see the Lion King, and I think the movie is ho-hum, so maybe I won't be disappointed. On a positive note, when I got home, I immediately downloaded the soundtrack from the 1964 Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke movie from iTunes onto my iPod. I am happy once again.