September 15, 2011
“Mary Poppins” on Broadway has some grand dancing, and they do it eight shows a week! I went to see Nick Kepley, who plays
Neleus, a statue who comes to life in the London park, and happens to
be a former ballet dancer from Kansas City Ballet, (among other
companies). Besides doing that solo role, he is in the ensemble of
'Supercalifragilistic', and 'Chim Chim Cherr-ee', and 'Playing the
Game,’ just like most of the dancers in the ensemble. Throughout he
dances everything with character, clear intent and beautiful line,
always appearing fresh and vital! In fact, all of the members of the
cast work together to support the story and every dance is done with
precision, care and flourish.
These dancers navigate a steel stage with moving parts, change
costumes multiple times and portray various emotions, all while
dancing...and singing! The choreography is by Matthew Bourne and
Stephen Mear, and they know how to enhance the action and move the
story line along in an utterly delightful way. In "Jolly Holiday" Gavin Lee as Bert gracefully cavorts through the scene, but never steals the limelight.
character dances with importance and motivation and this moves the
story from narrative to song to dance.
As Mary, Laura Michelle Kelly moves with dancer-ly grace as she
unpacks her bag and extols her virtues in 'Practically Perfect', whoops
it up with Bert and the chimney sweeps in 'Step in Time' and is super
perky each time she seems to glide up those stairs! Janelle Anne
Robinson is bubbly and enticing as Mrs. Corry in her marvelous shop,
and Barrett Davis is wonderfully sinister as Valentine, one of the toys
come to life.
From beginning to end I wanted to dance along and sing and found
myself smiling over at my young companion as we watched each
dancer pirouette, leap and do those high kicks! As the ?nal curtain
came down she looked at me and sighed, " I want to do that! To be on
Broadway!" And I felt that same magical delight!
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deborah Wingert