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  1. #1

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    Event wrap-up:Mary Poppins in the Windy City

    Just thought I'd share my experience about the D23 event in Chicago. I picked up my ticket about 6pm and they were just setting up the 'check in' table for the event. I then received my souvenir program (nice!) and my DVD (more about that later) and my 20% off coupon. Next stop the souvenir counter!

    There was a nice selection of things to use my coupon on. From Pins, keychains, snowglobes, Mary Poppins dolls, books, CDs, magnets, Christmas ornaments and yes--umbrellas. Everything seemed to be reasonably priced. I bought pins($5 ea.) and the Christmas ornament($20), which is a small open umbrella.(they have this also available on DisneyStore.com in the Broadway section, for anyone who wants to see it.) I think the large umbrellas were under $40 (please correct me if I'm wrong MiceChatters who purchased these) After the show I kept debating on buying anything more, but I'll save something to get the next time I see the show. Yes, I am definitely going to see the show again!

    Now to find my seat. I show my ticket to the usher and as he leads me down, down, down to the 5th row(wow!) second seat from the end he stops a lady from taking cell-phone pictures of the stage area. They are *serious* about no cameras of any kind. After I take my seat I meet fellow D23 member Rachaface and we talk about the Expo(can't wait!) We were curious as to how many of "us" were here.

    A couple of quick thoughts about the show itself. For those who are unfamiliar, this show is based on the series of Mary Poppins books, with some of the songs from the Disney movie along with new songs. Its quite different from the movie. They do have some pretty fantastic technical things that happen in the show.


    After the amazing show which I HIGHLY recommend (my hands were *sore* from clapping so much), we were told to wait until the audience cleared out and then we would head downstairs to do a Q&A session with some of the cast. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to ask for photos or autographs. The cast had already done one show that day and were tired. (bummer) As mentioned in a previous post, I'm sure we had some hangers-on following along, but we made our way down to the lower level where the coat check room and rest rooms were located. We formed a semi-circle around the bar area that was there and in walked 8 castmembers. It was so strange seeing them in everyday clothes. At this point I wish I would have taken notes, but anyone that can add in information or correct me, please do. Left to right was Jesse Swimm-swing character, Ellen Harvey-Miss Andrew a.k.a. The Holy Terror Nanny. Two of the kids who had not performed that night, but earlier in the day were next, Chris Flaim and (I think) Abigail Droeger. Then were the two leads, Gavin Lee and Ashley Brown follwed by Emily Harvey-Miss Lark and finally Carol Angeli-swing. Did I miss anyone?

    After we welcomed them with a round of applause, we were told we'd have about 15 minutes to ask questions. I just couldn't think of a question but burst out with 'Thank you so much it was wonderful!' which got me a "reprimand" from the Holy Terror-"that's not a question", she smiled and everyone laughed. At this point for the sake of accuracy, I'm going to leave it for the Mice Chatters that were there to tell what their questions were and the responses that were given. I realize that not everyone that was there is on Mice Chat, so I will come back to this post in a couple of days and fill in the stories that were left out. Some questions dealt with favorite parts of the show, any problems that had occurred, how did the kids get started and how hard was it to learn the hand motions to Supercali. I will say as I don't think it was part of a question, that Jesse told us that the company watches out for the cast in regards to the makeup very carefully. If anyone starts to react to all the makeup they are wearing, they are given special ointment to treat it. He went on to explain that while they are changing in the wings that they have water jets that help to quickly remove the makeup for their next entrance. Gavin also told us that we are seeing probably the BEST of the productions. They didn't, in his words, dumb it down for the tour. Other than the house, everything is almost what it is in the Broadway production.

    Once our time was complete, we thanked them again for taking the time and said goodbye. Before we left, a gentleman representing the AllEars site took a group picture of us-which hopefully we'll see online. We then went our separate ways. I walked out with the 2 gentlemen that were our hosts for the evening and they asked me questions about D23. As we were talking outside of the theatre, I was noticing a cute little English bulldog being walked past us. One of the guys commented how he loved Ashley's English Bulldog. Ashley's?! I looked again and there she was walking her dog. (Eddie I found out later) Also next to her, Gavin and his wife were walking hand in hand, awww how sweet!

    My final thoughts on how this could have been better, not to be a whiner or anything, but I've been reading about the other D23 theatrical events and what happened there. With our packets, if they would have printed some kind of sticker, it didn't have to be our name, just an identifying sticker for each person so no extra people tagging along. How about they knew exactly how many of us were coming and that the cast would likely be too tired for autographs, so ahead of time have them sign x number of playbills or the souvenir books. And why couldn't we have just had one group shot of all of them with all of us and then have it sent to us later. Oh well. I guess I should just be grateful that we weren't attending the show this weekend that had to be cancelled due to a computer issue. Oh and the DVD. Everyone that got the 45th anniversary edition, crack it open as there is a marvelous segment about bringing the production from page to stage. They talk to Ashley and Gavin quite a bit. They also talk to Richard Sherman who was going to see the Chicago production and how cool would that have been if he would have been there that night! Also they show the number Step in Time and refer frquently to the upcoming Chicago production and tour.

    Once again I ask that anyone wanting to contribute more info to this write-up to feel free to do so.

    Denise

  2. #2

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    Re: Event wrap-up:Mary Poppins in the Windy City

    This is a great wrap up. Thank you for sharing. I'm so glad you had such a great time.

  3. #3

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    Re: Event wrap-up:Mary Poppins in the Windy City

    I was there. I was actually standing a few people away from you. I asked the question about the funniest technical difficulties they've had.

    By the way, I bought the adult umbrella, which was $39.99, so just under $40. They had a child's sized version for less. This was all I bought since it was my second time seeing the amazing show and I got the ornament and coffee mug the first time. Obviously, the seats and experience were much better through D23.

  4. #4

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    Re: Event wrap-up:Mary Poppins in the Windy City

    yay i had so much fun there. I asked Ashley about whether or not she felt she was coming full circle since her first role was "Belle" in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and she also was in Disney's On The Record, which showcased some songs from Mary Poppins as well. While my brain was coated in pixie dust from excitement, i don't remember all of her answer but t more or less broke down to 'yes' LOL and she was so happy to be doing it all etc. she was aghast that i even remembered her from On The Record (since that show didn't do as well for Disney shows), but they all were so awesome to see face-to-face like that.

    Also, someone asked about favorite numbers from the show, and the best response was from "The Terror" who, of course, responded "Mine" LOL

    If anyone wants to see, Bret Caldwell wrote an article about it (including photos!) on AllEars.net - here's the link D23 - The Official Community for Disney Fans
    Rachel loves DISNEY!
    hoping to find my prince charming... pm me!


  5. #5

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    Re: Event wrap-up:Mary Poppins in the Windy City

    I saw On The Record in Chicago as well and remember thinking that Ashley Brown would go on to bigger things. I'm glad she did. She was perfect as Mary Poppins. My boyfriend even said that when he watches the film, he sees Julie Andrews playing Mary Poppins, but when he sees the show, he sees Mary Poppins, which I think is a real testament to Ashley's performance.

  6. #6

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    Stories from:Mary Poppins in the Windy City

    As I promised here are the stories, as far as I can recall them, as they were shared with us.

    When asked about what was their favorite song in the show Ellen Harvey (Miss Andrew) replied, in true Holy Terror fashion--Mine! The kids love doing Supercali. I think that Jesse(swing) said that the park scene, which is Jolly Holiday was his favorite. Carol(swing) said that she especially enjoys Let's go Fly a Kite. Ashley enjoys the song 'duel' of Brimstone and Treacle with Ellen (Miss Andrew). Gavin chose the quieter number where he is trying to cheer up the kids.

    Earlier in this post a Chat-er shared about how the kids got into the biz. Gavin wanted to tell us how impressed he is with all of his juvenile co-stars. With all the work and schooling they have to do, they truly are professional.

    Jesse wanted to share also that when he first saw the show on Broadway, as soon as he saw the scene silhouetting the chimney sweeps on stage; he KNEW he wanted to be a part of this.

    When asked if anything has ever gone wrong during the course of the show, Chris(Michael) got the giggles. Apparently during the matinee performance the kitchen table had decided to get a case of the shakes when it was re-assembling itself. Ashley added that on a previous occasion that same table decided to be unco-operative and she turned to it and said 'oh behave!' and it promptly stopped its vibrating. She truly is magical <g> Gavin's comments were 'touch wood nothing has happened' while he was in his rigging, but there is usually some little thing that will happen, he said. Like a chair wasn't exactly where it supposed to be and they have to walk farther. As he commented "it just gives us something to complain about after the show." Ashley put in that she realizes that the audience probably doesn't really notice when some mishap may happen, but if something like the table situation occurs, it's fun for them(audience) because they can say I saw the show when (blank) happened. They can identify with it more.

    The cast were all asked how hard it was to learn 'the hand jive' for Supercali. They all groaned-hard! It's especially difficult for the swing actors, Jesse pointed out as he could be a different character each night and during that number, each row of actors will be doing a different letter at different times. Like doing the "S" when everyone else in the line is doing the "R"-whew!

    Ashley was asked if she had trained with a magician for her role. She said yes she worked with (I can't remember his name--anyone?) and he had helped her with the hand movements required to make it magical.

    Everyone wanted to know about when Mary's flying. Ashley said she loves that part because she can actually see people's faces when she passes them. Gavin put in that at the end when all the cast are taking their bows, they have to extend it a bit to allow her time to get back to the stage. Ashley put in that there is nothing ladylike about it, when she's in a hurry and dashing back to get in to place. They laughed that the bows may get even longer depending on the distance at other venues during the tour.

    Well, I think that's about it. If anyone wants to fill in or correct my memory errors, please do so.

    Denise

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