Audiences attending the upcoming Theatre Under the Stars production of Disney's Mary Poppins can be assured that the flying nanny will, in fact, fly, to the great delight of everyone.
But although many people know the movie (Julie Andrews!), fewer have seen the rewritten book, which emphasizes the fractured Banks family's dysfunction, according to director/choreographer Linda Goodrich. “The magic is still there,” says Goodrich, who has worked with various productions of the flying nanny for several years now. But there are more parts that may speak to the adults in the audience.
“Mr. and Mrs. Banks have lost the ability to communicate and are not effective parents. Mary Poppins comes in and really heals the family till they no longer need her,” she says.
Goodrich, an actress who got involved in the other side of theater while working with producer and director Hal Prince, inherited a touring production of Cabaret. From there, she moved on to other shows, but she's repeatedly done Mary Poppins. “It's become a real labor of love. I adore the show,” says Goodrich, who is also a theater professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Count on Mary Poppins flying during the show. “The actual flying is very technical. “The challenges are hiding the technical aspects, making it feel magical,” she says, adding, “Mary Poppins has a place in everyone's life. And live theater is like nothing else; it's not just the film onstage. You experience a performance that will never exist again.”
To tap into some of that magic, Theatre Under the Stars is offering a number of performances from March 8 to 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sunday, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, visit tuts.com or call 713-558-8887. $30-$124.50.