‘Mary Poppins’ Rings In Holiday Season

By Janee Law

jlaw@longislandergroup.com

Luke Hawkins (as Bert), Katherine LaFountain (as Jane Banks), Analisa Leaming (as Mary Poppins), and Christopher McKenna (as Michael Banks) performing “Jolly Holiday” at the John W. Engeman’s production of “Mary Poppins.” (Photo by Michael DeCristofaro).

Luke Hawkins (as Bert), Katherine LaFountain (as Jane Banks), Analisa Leaming (as Mary Poppins), and Christopher McKenna (as Michael Banks) performing “Jolly Holiday” at the John W. Engeman’s production of “Mary Poppins.” (Photo by Michael DeCristofaro).

The stage of the John W. Engeman Theater is bringing an energetic performance to Northport Village this holiday season with the timeless and magical tale of “Mary Poppins.”

“I thought it was fantastic,” audience member Marianne Esolen, of Huntington, said after Saturday’s performance. “It was wonderfully uplifting and positive. It was a lovely night for families and a perfect pick for the holidays.”

Based on the classic children’s book series and Disney film, Engeman’s production of “Mary Poppins” is directed and choreographed by Drew Humphrey and musically directed by Michael Hopewell.

The cast features Analisa Leaming as Mary Poppins; Luke Hawkins as Bert; Liz Pearce as Winifred Banks; David Schmittou as George Banks; Katherine LaFountain as Jane Banks and Chris McKenna as Michael Banks.

There are unforgettable dance numbers and fan favorite songs like Academy Award-winning “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Feed the Birds,” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” but the most entertaining number of the night was “Step in Time,” which demonstrated synchronized tap dancing and high energy performances that had the audience clapping along with the beat.

The cast delivered perfect European accents and demonstrated mannerisms of that of their characters from the film. For instance, Hawkins reflected Dick Van Dyke with his carefree performance of Bert, while Leaming reflected Julie Andrews with her operetta voice and feet pointing outward in her performance as Mary Poppins.

LaFountain and McKenna, who play the curious and sometimes mischievous children, both said their favorite scene to perform was “Step in Time.”

“I love the tap dancing and the energy is so great in it,” LaFountain said. “Kids our age usually don’t get to do stuff like this so it was really an honor to do it. I loved it.”

McKenna said he loved the opportunity to play Michael Banks, a “fun role.” 

Esolen and Anne Paley, both of East Meadow, said “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Step in Time,” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and “Anything Can happen” were their favorite performances of the night.

“I always prefer seeing things live,” Esolen said. “The film is amazing, but to see it performed in our own local community and to hear all the enthusiasm and all the laughter in the audience is better than any film could be.”

Show times for “Mary Poppins” at John W. Engeman Theater (250 Main St., Northport) are Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. The last performance is Dec. 31, with some Wednesday and Sunday evening tickets available. Tickets are $71-$76, and can be purchased at the box office, or at Engemantheater.com.