Review: Aurora’s MARY POPPINS is practically perfect in every way!

by Jody Tuso-Key — Managing Editor — Photo Credit: Casey Gardner Ford

I remember my first show at Aurora Theatre. It was 8 years ago when I took my oldest children, ages 17 and 15, to see our friend, Greg Hunter, perform in MARY POPPINS along with Galen Crawley as Mary. We were mesmerized by the performance. Eight years later I’ve come full circle having seen MARY POPPINS in Aurora’s new state-of-the-art Lawrenceville Theater with Galen once again at the helm in the title role. I was again mesmerized, and a bit teary-eyed, as my children are now 23 and 25 and have flown the nest. I did find comfort as two young children shared the beautiful box seat I was fortunate enough to occupy for the performance.

Inhabiting a box seat at this beautiful theater is a thrill, and gave me a new perspective as I was able to see the show’s most important character, the audience, as well as those gracing the stage. The extraordinary set, the beautiful lights, and the flawless sound are all heightened from those seats. In addition, Mary flying from the stage to the audience (provided by D2 Flying Effects) is a sight to behold.

Bravo to director/choreographer Dave Rossetti, who pulled double duty to bring this timeless classic to the stage along with the rest of the crew, Producing Artistic Director and Music Director Ann-Carol Pence— who took home the 2014 Suzi Bass Award for her work on the original production—, Featured Choreographer Jen MacQueen, Lighting Designer Kevin Frazier, Sound Designer Daniel Terry, Props Designer Ryan Bradburn and Scenic Designer Shannon Robert.

Galen Crawley, who earned the 2014 Suzi Bass Award for Outstanding Lead Female Actor in a Musical, is the embodiment of Mary Poppins. She’s a delight to see on stage. I recently fell in love with her perfect comedic timing on stage as the stepsister Charlotte in Aurora’s recent production of Cinderella. It was fun to recently put two-and-two together and realize she was also the Mary I saw in 2014.

I also thoroughly enjoyed seeing the incomparable Marcus Hopkins-Turner as George Banks. He’s become an Atlanta favorite and tackles the role with all the pomp and dignity required. Jillian Melko delivered a stellar performance “being Mrs. Banks”. The children, four talented young artists alternating the roles of Jane and Michael Banks; Kayla Furie and Adrienne Ocfemia as Jane and Jai Soundar and Max Walls as Michael, are cute as can be. Other key-noteworthy performances include Kari Twiman, Calvin Bernardo, and Marcie Millard. The entire ensemble is also exceptional.

MARY POPPINS is a Speakeysie Must See! You’ll want to reserve your tickets ASAP as this show is sure to sell out every performance. Don’t miss out! Reserve your seat at AURORA THEATER today!!

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