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arts & leisure

Mary Poppins entertains…in the most delightful way!

Zak Edwards and Elizabeth Early, center, are "practically perfect" in the Forestburgh Playhouse production of Mary Poppins.
TRR photos by Jonathon Charles Fox

By Jonathan Fox
August 4, 2014

Half-way through the season, the folks at the Forestburgh Playhouse (FBP) have a smash hit on their hands in the form of the beloved Disney classic “Mary Poppins.” The musical stage adaptation began its journey to Broadway as far back as 1993, and when it finally opened in New York City it garnered six 2007 Tony Award nominations, ultimately winning a statuette for Bob Crowley’s amazing scenic design. While the FBP may not have Broadway’s millions to spend on its productions, this show glitters magically throughout and is sure to please both kids and adults, as Mary Poppins has something for everyone. Many hands went into the presentation on the Great White Way, overseen by legendary producer Cameron Mackintosh, and with so many details to accomplish; it’s easy to see why. FBP producer Frankin Trapp is at the top of his game with Poppins, having brought so many talented people on board to ensure that his version would be considered yet another “Miracle in the Forest.”
Customarily, I don’t approve of individuals wearing multiple hats for any given show, but director/choreographer Christian Saint-Girard has proven me wrong this time out, as his skills in both fields are exemplary. Granted, his cast is beyond terrific, but in less capable hands might not have risen to the challenge. Girard’s direction is flawless and the numerous dance numbers are so fantastic that I did not want them to end. Ably assisted by Chaz Wolcott, Saint-Girard has managed to create the illusion of hundreds of performers filling the stage and has achieved the coveted theatrical triple-crown, earning five stars for acting, singing and dancing. Honestly, this musical confection is an all-‘round winner, as musical director Henry Lewers brings out the very best in the cast and Michael O’Connor’s lighting design, Dave Sanford’s sound and Ashleigh Poteat’s lush costuming enhance the overall production, elevating it to one of the best I’ve seen at the playhouse in years. The original Broadway set was a character in its own right, therefore scenic designer German Cardenas-Alaminos had his work cut out for him in Forestburgh, but there are many clever components incorporated in this version and some truly delightful effects to behold.