Bay Ridge

‘Mary Poppins’ flies into Bay Ridge on Sept. 18

Samaha Productions brings hit Broadway show to Brooklyn

September 9, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Cast members from the new production of “Mary Poppins” look like they’re ready to take the stage! Photo courtesy of Karen Tadross
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Mary Poppins, the British nanny with magical powers, will be flying into Brooklyn on Sept. 18.

Jeff Samaha Theater Productions/Ridge Chorale, a Bay Ridge-based theater company that has brought such smash hits as “Les Miz” Brooklyn, is bringing another gem to the borough by presenting the Brooklyn premiere of “Mary Poppins.”

“Mary Poppins” is the musical based on the P.L. Travers series of books and the beloved 1964 Walt Disney movie that won an Oscar for Julie Andrews in the title role. The movie featured such songs as “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Jolly Holiday” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee.”

“Mary Poppins” was also a hit on Broadway, opening in 2004 and playing more than 2,500 performances. It was produced by the Walt Disney Theatrical and famed Broadway producer Cameron Mackintosh.

Now, Mary, Bert the chimney sweep, the Banks family and all of their delightful friends are coming to Brooklyn!

“Mary Poppins” will play eight performances at the High School of Telecommunications and Technology, 350 67th St., starting Sept. 18.

The performance schedule is as follows: Fridays, Sept. 18 and 25 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sept. 19 and 26 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays, Sept. 20 and 27 at 3 p.m.

The show features a talented cast of 50 performers working under the direction of Frank Caiati. The choreographer is Gabrielle Mangano. Jeff Samaha, founder of Jeff Samaha Theater Productions/Ridge Chorale, is the executive producer and musical director. The show is produced by Karen Tadross.

Expect a lot of razzle-dazzle and technical achievements that will leave audiences in awe, Tadross told the Brooklyn Eagle via email.

“I think that everyone who comes to see Mary Poppins will be so impressed with what we have been able to create. Fly by Foy, Broadways most prestigious flying effects company, will be flying our Mary Poppins and that technical aspect of this show is something that has never been done in Brooklyn community theater. We pride ourselves in bringing Broadway-like performances to our community and now we are bringing Broadway-like effects as well,” she wrote in her email.

Samaha said it was the technical aspects of the show that appealed to him and were part of the reason for doing it.

“When asked whether I would consider mounting a ‘Mary Poppins’ production, I had to think twice.  It’s a very busy show, with lots of props and magic tricks, not to speak of whether or not to fly Mary which can be very costly and tricky. Of course, that’s the kind of show we like to produce — the challenging ones,” Samaha said.

The technical director for “Mary Poppins” is John Olsen.

In an email, Caiati wrote that he and his cast are working hard to find the right balance between fantasy and pathos in P.L. Travers’ timeless story of a nanny who flies in on her umbrella and has a lasting effect on a British family circa 1910.

“I think my job as director of this production is to clearly communicate both the larger than life, often stylized world of fantasy as well as the grounded, realistic family drama at the core of the story. Without the latter, the play is just pretty fluff with no real emotional connection to the audience. Without exploring the former, the world of PL Travers’ books is not given the childlike wonder it deserves. There is a definite balance in this show of fantasy and pathos, and onstage moments are continually being tweaked in rehearsals to maximize their expression of the appropriate storytelling,” he said.

The goal of presenting “Mary Poppins” is to bring Broadway-quality theater to Brooklyn at affordable prices, according to Tadross.

“And the family friendly price cannot be beat. For Jeff and I, that is the most important part of doing these shows — bringing outstanding theater to our community at a price that everyone can afford. You don’t need to spend $150 a ticket to see great theater. It is right here in the community and what a great way to expose children to live theater!” she said.

“I know that our audiences will be thrilled with the show and that our production team and cast have done justice to such an enormous piece of musical theatre,” Caiati wrote.

To purchase tickets, visit www.ridgechorale.com.

***CORRECTION***

An earlier version of the article contained incorrect contact information for purchasing tickets.


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