A spoonful of sugar was not the only thing that there was an abundance of at the North Shore Music Theater tonight! Coming into the theater you are instantly struck by the simplicity of the props and scenery. No matter the simplicity you are quickly transported to Edwardian London circa 1910 and dropped off at the doorstep of the Banks family who are living on 17 Cherry Tree Lane.
Instantly you can see this family (that is quite the cast of characters) is in dire need of some assistance. You have the uptight father George Banks who is played by James Andrew Walsh (whose credits include but are not limited to the TV productions of “The family”, “Castle”, “Shine”, “Law and order SVU” and “law and Order Criminal Intent”) Walsh brought with him his obvious ease of being on stage and combined that with his unique acting style and a voice that cannot be forgotten.
The Meek and mild wife and mother Winifred Banks (who is struggling to find her way) is played by Molly Garner. Not only has molly portrayed this role before on the national tour but she has worked in such musicals as Billy Elliot, and Romeo and Juliet among many others. I was nothing short of impressed with molly’s lovely voice and her ability to simply embody a charter.
All Michael Banks wants is love and acceptance from his father and he is played by Jake Ryan Flynn who has held many roles at the NSMT as of late including last season’s smash hit Billy Elliot as well A Christmas Carol and Shrek from a few seasons ago. Flynn was nothing but adorable and perfect for the role of Michael whose character is sweet lovable and mischievous all rolled into one.
Scarlett Keene-Connole took to the role of Jane Banks who is the daughter with a big voice and much whit. She has been in many productions including but certainly not limited to NSMT’s own A Christmas Carol and Saturday Night Fever. Connole slipped into this role with such ease and sophistication that it blew my mind. She will no doubt be a name to look for when she gets older if she keeps up the hard work.
Of course you cannot forget about the strong and soulful powerhouse that is Jenelle A. Robinson. Robinson has come back to the North Shore Music Theater after 15 years away (she was in Carousel in 2001.) She has played in Oklahoma!, Thoroughly Modern Millie and the Broadway run of Mary Poppins including many more! She portrayed both Miss Andrew and Mrs. Corry. Robinson played both of these charters with such conviction and honesty that I honestly forgot that I was watching something of fiction and fantasy.
Then you have the two charters that stood out to me the most and those are Bert the fun loving deuteragonist played by Brad Bradley (The Broadway productions of Spamalot, The People in the Picture, Annie Get Your Gun (with Reba McEntire) and so many more!) who came across as having this role written specifically for him. When I first saw him sitting on one of the chimney stacks (as part of the opening number) not only did I love his look and thought his costumes was perfect but I was instantly in love with his voice! His opening number of “Chim, Chim Cheree” was so cheerful and exciting that I was instantly drawn into the world that is Mary Poppins without even trying. Every time Bradley came out on stage I became like a little kid, excited to open a new never seen before Christmas present because I knew that I was not going to be disappointed in the slightest.
Kerry Conte played the beloved and well-known charter Mary Poppins. Conte truly brought a little bit of magic and wonder to the theater tonight! Her costumes were on point and her voice was truly out of this world. There were a few instances that I found myself simply sitting in my seat and closing my eyes so I could really hear and understand the full magnitude that was her voice. I have never and I mean never seen or heard someone who looked like they were having more fun and truly loving what they were getting the opportunity to do than Conte.
Don’t even get me started on when Bradley and Conte were on stage together whether it was simply acting or singing that of a duet. Those two were a force to be reckoned with all night. You could see and feel the chemistry that those two had together and it was very refreshing to see. My two favorite musical numbers throughout the whole show had to be “Supercalifragilisticexpialidious” and “Step in Time”. The talent that ran throughout the cast when it came to the choreography was to die for!
I also must give major kudos to the entire crew at the NSMT. This production was completely flawless but the one thing that stood out to me the most was their ability to make Mary fly! When I saw her come down from the roof I was astounded. I really don’t think that this show could have gone any better. I would like to say thank you. Thank you for finally giving me a reason to enjoy what I get the opportunity to do and making me fall in love with what is musical theater once again. Lastly thank you for brining bit of magic to your stage and into my life if only for just a little while. The whole production was nothing short of spectacular.
Mary Poppins is running now through July 31st please don't miss your opportunity be part of the excitement and magic, you won't regret your choice in the slightest!
Written By: Nicole Lynne Wood
Wood Media Staff Writer
Wood Media Theater Reviewers are a husband and wife team which includes Mark & Nicole Wood of Beverly.