By GEORGETTE SPELVIN
Ten thoughts about the current run of the Broadway version of “Mary Poppins” at Cocoa Village Playhouse:
1. Broadway clone though it may be, this definitely is not a movie clone, though the more famous songs are there. Not all of them made it; the “Sister Suffragette” and “I Love to Laugh” songs/segments have been excised completely and some of the others are not in the order or context they had in the 139-minute film. Cathy Moubray, the Bird Woman (Jane Darwell, you are remembered), sings “Feed the Birds” too, and well.
2. Yeah, if you’re a superannuated Disneyholic, you’ve seen the movie. A lot. If you’re less aged, you grew up with it. Go see the play, make comparisons and organize your own little trivia games.
3. It feels so grand, literally. This is community theatre on the grand scale, with a cast of about 80 people and lots of terrific sets and costumes. From what we’ve seen and heard of the New York show, it and this are a lot alike. A real lot.
4. Shenanigans, I want to meet you. You are a purebred dog, which is reason enough. You are an Irish wolfhound puppy, which is every reason in the world.
5. Megan Abbott should have taken a bow at the end of this show because the choreography is first-class, perhaps the best we’ve seen on a local stage. It alone is worth the price of admission.
6. The vocalizing is dandy: no flat notes, no missed harmonies, no, “What did he say?”
Kyle McDonald shines as Bert in this respect. The man can sing.
7. “Mary Poppins” is a very long night at the theater, in part because its book includes scenes and lines that are somewhat gratuitous, however colorful. Small children do squirm. Anything that could be done to help alleviate squirmage would be appreciated by parents, we’re sure.
8. Mary Jo Marzilli-Mendola, of the big voice and fine timing, comes close to stealing the show as the comic-evil Miss Andrew. Speaking of which, surely that’s not a poke at the original Mizz Poppins, is it? Hmm.9. No one steals this show from Ashley Willsey, who is not practically perfect in every way. She is definitely perfect in every way, and we saw her perform her second show of the day. If you hear that she is in another play here, get tickets. If you hear that she is in another play in Olando, renew your SunPass. Willsey is marvelous.
10. Of all the shows we’ve seen at CVP, this one is the best directed by far. Anastacia Hawkins-Smith, take a bow.
Read a story about Cocoa Village Playhouse and its “Mary Poppins” production by clicking here.
SIDE O’ GRITS: “MARY POPPINS the Musical” runs through May 21 at Cocoa Village Playhouse, 300 Brevard Ave., Cocoa, Florida. Tickets are $24 general, $22 senior, active military and students and $16 for children. Calll 321-636-5050, visit CocoaVillagePlayhouse.com or click onto their ad.