Shalom Life | September 17, 2014

Shalomlife.com Front and Centre at "Mary Poppins" Homecoming in LA!

Our very own Culture Editor Helen Hatzis was a special guest of the Sherman family at the Los Angeles premiere of the stage musical "Mary Poppins" this past Sunday.

By: Helen Hatzis

Published: November 16th, 2009 in Culture » Stage » Reviews

Shalomlife.com Front and Centre at "Mary Poppins" Homecoming in LA!

Last week, I received a cordial invite from the Sherman family to accompany them to the Los Angeles premiere of the stage musical “Mary Poppins.” If you may recall, Shalomlife.com was the first news source in Canada to report on “The Boys: The Sherman Brothers” story, a documentary about the legendary Sherman brothers who composed such memorable Disney tunes as ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,’ the scores to films like ‘Winnie the Pooh’ and ‘Jungle Book,’ and the Disney theme park song ‘It’s a Small World After All,’ to name only a very few.

Our interest in this film – which was directed by their sons Jeff and Gregg Sherman – helped bring the film to Toronto, the only other destination outside of the US to screen the film. “Your articles have been so kind to our dads and equally generous to my cousin's and my film, ‘The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story,’ that we Shermans would like to cordially extend an invitation for you to be our guest at this once-in-a-lifetime event this Sunday evening, November 15th at 6:30 pm,” read the invite from Gregg Sherman.

After immediately accepting this gracious invite, I swiftly organized my trip to Los Angeles and grabbed an ‘umbrella’ to bring you this firsthand take of this memorable event.

The Sherman Brothers composed their Academy Award-winning score for “Mary Poppins” (which was shot a mere two miles from the Ahmanson Theater at the Walt Disney Studios), so this night was truly a homecoming for their greatest musical triumph. Additionally, the original Broadway cast were assembled for the performance and many cast and crew from the film, such as Dick Van Dyke, were in attendance.

“Mary Poppins” is one of Disney’s most successful films in the company’s history, that was released in 1964 and earned five Academy Awards, including Best Musical and Best Song, and remains one of Disney’s most enduring and best-loved films. Disney Theatrical Productions was formed in 1994 and opened with “The Lion King”and then“Beauty and the Beast.” “Mary Poppins” opened in London in December 2004. It is a co-production by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh, an award-winning producer with a career spanning over 40 years with hundreds of productions around the world under his belt, including “Cats,” “Les Miserables,” “The Phantom of the Opera” – the three longest-running musicals of all time – and “Miss Saigon,” to name a few.

New songs were added to the L.A. production by Anthony Drewe and George Stiles, and outstanding performances by Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins), Gavin Lee (Bert), Karl Kenzler (George Banks), and Megan Osterhaus (Winifred Banks), among others, marked their return from originating the roles in the London production. Director Richard Eyre, co-director and choreographer Bob Crowley, and scenic and costume designer Bob Crowley were also present for the homecoming.

In true Disney fashion, the cast and crew captured the magic necessary to bring this memorable film to life on stage. With new musical numbers added to a remarkable articulating stage, fabulous performances included Bert scaling the stage perimeter to mimic the film and Mary Poppins’decent out of thin air. The attentive audience clapped along to the catchy and much loved numbers such as ‘A Spoon Full of Sugar’ and ‘Feed the Birds.’

The performance concluded with roaring applause and a standing ovation, and finalized with a surprise visit from none other than Dick Van Dyke, who played Bert in the original film of “Mary Poppins.”

After the performance the Sherman family whisked us away to a post celebration and an impromptu performance by Richard Sherman.

The evening could simply be summed up in one word: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

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