Monday, March 30, 2009

Mary Poppins

We went to see the new musical version of Mary Poppins at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago this weekend, and it was quite a spectacle. I was always a big fan of the Disney movie, which I saw when I was six. This version combines some of the Disney musical numbers with some chapters from the P.L. Travers books, and adds a few musical numbers of its own. The best additions for the stage are Bert's climb up and down the walls and across the ceiling during "Chim Chim Cher-ee" and Mary sailing off the stage and over the audience at the end of the show.

The musical takes the Bird Woman story, which was also in the movie, and part of the Mrs. Corry story from Travers' Mary Poppins. It also takes the story of The Marble Boy from Mary Poppins Opens the Door, and a taste of Robertson Ay's story from Mary Poppins Comes Back. (The only Travers book left untouched is Mary Poppins In the Park.) So it was fun for us to see some of those very old, familiar stories brought to life. My kids lamented the fact that they didn't do any of the zoo story, called Full Moon, or any of the story in which Michael wakes up and "he knew he was going to be naughty," called Bad Tuesday, but, in truth, those would be pretty difficult to stage...unless as a show within a show in the style of The Lion King.

On our two-day tour of Chicago we also got to see some of the Art Institute. We went to see the Seurat that we all now tend to call "Sunday in the Park With George" and the famous Hopper lit diner painting, and room after room of absolutely incredible paintings in between. We quit a little after the time we started entering a room full of wonders and looking around in a kind of glazed-over fashion...there are only so many wonders we can bear in one day. So we went down to the gift shop and got a book with Magrittes and another with prints by Hiroshige, to peruse at our leisure.

We walked around Millennium Park, played with the "bean" sculpture (and posed in front of it, as you can see), went to the Field Museum (where we had been in 1977 to see the first King Tut exhibit), travelled nearly to the top of the John Hancock building to see the view (and have lunch), and took a cold, windy boat cruise up the still-green river on an architectural tour of the city. We also had several hair-raising taxi rides through Lower Wacker drive, and on every one we felt like The Blues Brothers (if it was at night we put on our sunglasses).

We had to high-tail it out of there a day early because of the snowstorm that came to Chicago Saturday night into Sunday morning, so we were glad to get back to Ohio, where our apple tree and lilacs have little green leaves unfurling, and every jonquil in the garden is in full bloom. The jonquils bent over a little last night when we had a few snow flurries, but they're straight and yellow in the sun this morning. They're good spectacle, too.


Nicole said...

I don't know if anyone can make it past the Bean and not pose in front of it. A friend and I visited a couple of years ago and took the requisite pic standing in front of the bean.

Harriet said...

The Bean is the most successful piece of public sculpture I've ever seen, save, perhaps, the Crown Fountains further down in the same park. You'll have to come back in the summer to see why those are so fabulous. The first time I set foot in the new Millennium Park, I actually got tears in my eyes. It changed my city for the better in ways I would never have expected.