Lipor plays the title role in Sunset Playhouse’s
courtesy of Sunset Playhouse
GROVE — During the curtain call, which followed this
marvelous production of “Mary Poppins,” I wish the
director, Nate C. Adams, had appeared so we could have
given him his well-deserved accolades.
The assemblage of talents he gathered and guided brought
us a musical not to be soon forgotten.
The 1964 movie starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke
made this musical a classic, but the Broadway show that
came out in 2004 was a big hit, too, and has been
touring the world ever since.
One of its many universal appeals, besides its hopeful,
positive attitude, is its share of magical tricks,
including the mysterious contents of Mary’s bag, her
ability to fly and the chimney sweeps’ tricky climbs up
As soon as we meet Briana Rose Lipor as Mary Poppins and
Eric Welch as Bert, we know we are in for a melodic and
dramatic treat. Add Brant Allen as the officious George
Banks and Carrie A. Gray as his beautiful wife Winifred,
and we realize that we’re in for a quadruple blessing.
All have impressive voices and are able to fully realize
Things are not going smoothly at the Banks household —
George is a constant crab; his patient, long-suffering
wife has about had it with him and her life in general;
four unhappy nannies have left their ornery,
uncooperative charges, Jane and Michael (Ella Rose
Kleefisch and Casey Westphal); and the housekeeper, Mrs.
Brill (Antoinette Stikl), is taking out her frustration
on the poor butler von Hussler (Brad Skonecki), all of
whom played their parts with a flair.
One of the cameo roles, the bird woman, was beautifully
rendered by Liz Norton, who was especially affecting in
her “Feed the Birds.” That woman’s soul always shines
through in all her roles.
Everything begins to change when Mary Poppins suddenly
appears upon the scene and begins to take charge of
everything. She brings out hope, imagination, and an
unusual mix of ingenuity and propriety in everyone she
She encourages responsibility, independence, resiliency
Bert’s infectious, impish spirit permeated every scene
he was in, The most memorable songs are familiar to us
all — “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee” and the
which the entire cast aced. But two others that should
make the list are “A Man Has Dreams,” nicely rendered by
George, and “Anything Can Happen.”
Choreographer and dialect coach Ashley Patin certainly
more than contributed her share to the formidable mix,
along with scenic designer and technical director
Matthew Carr and costumer Lisa Quinn.
See this one. It’s one of the most professional musicals
I’ve ever seen at a community theater.
At a glance
The musical runs through Nov. 4 at Sunset Playhouse, 700
Wall St., Elm Grove. Call 262-782-4430 or visit