Super Nanny 

Mary Poppins Tours Portland

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Mary Poppins is the best live-action feature in the Disney canon—and if anyone says differently, I will beat their fucking ass. Obviously I have proprietary feelings for the 1964 film, stars Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, and its songs (especially "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," which I can boisterously sing in its entirety). People with similar feelings should be warned before attending the touring Broadway musical version—this Mary Poppins is not that Mary Poppins. Well... it is, and it isn't. This version is also based on the eight books written by P.L. Travers—which means no dancing penguins, no merry-go-round horse race, and no "Stay Awake." On the other hand, there are startling improvements, such as a galloping tempo, an evil arch-nemesis (arch-nanny?) for Poppins, and the transformation of scampish Jane and Michael Banks into a couple of little turds. As for the songs? New lyrics are added to many of the film's existing tunes—rarely to desirous effect. Also problematic: Here, the character of "Suffragette" Mrs. Banks has been downgraded (possibly for politically correct reasons) to a drab housefrau with crushed dreams of being an actress. A good editor (which all Broadway musicals seem to lack) would've given her songs the ax. All that being said, the stage design and special effects are AH-MAY-ZING, and worth the price of admission alone. And while this Poppins may not be a perfect copy of that Poppins—that's not such a bad thing. Just like watching the film, you'll laugh, tear up a little, and leave the theater flying like a kite.

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