Stage productions of “Mary Poppins” need to have enough magic in them to suggest that they just might have been conjured by the “practically perfect” nanny herself.
Director Greg Hinojosa and the rest of the crew at the Woodlawn Theatre’s staging manage to pull that off with aplomb.
The show, adapted for the stage from the Disney musical that was based on P.L. Travers’ novels, focuses on the troubled Banks family.
Father George (David Blazer) is a rigid sort consumed by work. Mother Winifred (Megan DeYoung) is unsure of her role in her household. And children Michael (Jack Dullnig) and Jane (Madison Calderon) have been called “little beasts” by the most recent nanny to leave the family’s employ — nanny No. 6 in four months.
Enter the mysterious Mary Poppins (the pitch-perfect Mia Migliaccio), a nanny who simply appears in the house and immediately gets to work using her magical powers to set the family on better footing. She is sometimes assisted by Bert (Travis Trevino), a chimney sweep who’s sweet on her.
There’s plenty of flash in the show. Mary flies several times, including a few treks that take her from the balcony to the stage and back, and Bert runs up the side of a building. There’s also a sweet bit in which a kite sails out over the audience. And there is the business of Mary returning the Banks kitchen to order with just a few snaps of her fingers.
The big production numbers work beautifully, too, thanks in part to Eric Mota’s choreography and the talents of the ensemble. “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and the tap-intensive “Step in Time” are standouts.
All of that is handled well. But Hinojosa and the cast also zero in on the emotional heart of the story, which makes the family’s huggy state at the end of the show that much more satisfying.
Benjamin Grabill’s set for the family home suggests a dollhouse, a wink at the story’s status as a tale for chidren. And the projections of the outside of the house and of the bank where George works evoke book illustrations, a very nice touch.
Rose Kennedy has worked her usual magic with the costumes. Mary is dressed precisely as one would expect, right down to the cherries on her hat and the crisp white-and-red ensemble she wears for “Jolly Holiday.”
The orchestra, led by musical director Darrin Newhardt, does a terrific job with the well-known score.
There were a couple of small issues Saturday, but, on the whole, it’s a magical show that’s well worth seeing.
“Mary Poppins” can be seen at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays at 3 p.m. through July 26 at the Woodlawn Theatre, 1920 Fredericksburg Road. Tickets cost $17 to $26 at the Woodlawn websiteor by calling 210-267-8388.