Growing up in the former Soviet Union in the 70-s and 80-s we did not travel very far (or often), so a good children’s theater production in nearby Odessa was what made my school vacations special.
Your kids’ February vacation in Boston could be special too- if you hurry up to get the tickets for the new “Mary Poppins” musical production presented by Wheelock Family Theater (January 29-February 28).
Originally staged in London by Cameron Mackintosh in 2004 (followed by a successful 7-year Broadway run), “Mary Poppins”, the Musical about world’s most famous nanny and the London family she “rescues”, is based on P.L. Travers stories and the Walt Disney Film, with some new songs and lyrics.
The Boston Globe called Wheelock Theater’s production “Practically Perfect” (after one of the show’s songs). My 6-year old daughter and I enjoyed all 3 hours of the beautiful singing and dance numbers (Step in Time in Act 2 was my favorite!), magic tricks, acrobatics (there is lots of flying!), timeless family dynamics, and of course, a very special Mary Poppins’ brand of Spoon Full of Sugar magic.
Russell Garrett both directed and choreographed Wheelock’s staging, which gives the dance numbers that extra “connection” with the whole production (that is sometimes lacking in musicals). The show’s set (by Janie Howland) is a piece of art in itself. Designed as a two-tiered “pop up book” it does not change much during the production, but with a help of “magical” props (made by Wheelock’s prop designer Margorie Lusignan) it is transformed momentarily (and believably) so we could follow Mary (and her charges) on the many adventures they take us.
Most of us know the plot, yet I found myself rooting for Jane and Michael, and following highs and lows of the Banks family as if I did not know it was all going to end well. I also caught myself swaying to the lovely (live!) tunes of “A Spoon Full of Sugar” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee” – which is usually a “tell tell sign” of me liking the show.
“I’ll stay until the wind changes”, “What those children need is love”, “When will you learn to look past what you see”- these and other famous Mary Poppins quotes stay with you as you leave the theater…happy!
It is a 3-hour performance (with one 15-minute intermission) which may be the reason the program’s recommended age is 7+. If you are bringing younger kids, I would advise a matinee performance. (Possibly to reward a 7:30 pm Friday audience, there was a choreography workshop offered before our Friday show by a cast member).
For tickets ($20-$38) go to theater’s website or check out discounted bostix deal (some shows are already sold out). January 29-February 28; Friday-Sunday performances; daily during February school vacation week.
Check out Wheelock’s School Vacation Week Theater classes for ages 4-16 via this calendar link.
HERE ARE MORE SCHOOL VACATION TO DO’S IN BOSTON THIS FEBRUARY:
Museum of Science Boston is hosting National Engineers Week February 14-21 with an array of design challenges plus fun, hands-on engineering-themed programming.
Puppet Showcase Theater in Brookline offers Vacation week classes and several puppet shows for audiences starting as young as 3. February vacation line up includes an award-winning The Snowflake Man suitable for ages 5+(by Puppetkabob company; part of the Mini-Festival of Marionettes). For full February calendar and tickets ($12) follow this link.
Chinese New Year Celebration at the Boston’s Children’s Museum is on February 21.
School Vacation Week Adventures (drop in) at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston are free with admission. This year’s workshops and activities are centered around musically inspired art. (Wednesday nights’ access (after 4) is by “pay what you can” voluntary contribution. Family membership ($109) gives unlimited admission for entire family for one year. Museum is open late Wednesday-Friday (until 9:45pm).
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston (special vacation week hours, Monday-Saturday 10 am-9 pm and Sunday, 10 am-7 pm) will premiere a new 15-minute 4D movie, “The LEGO® Movie™ 4D A New Adventure,” on February 20. As part of special activities leading up to the premiere during school vacation week, (Feb. 15- 21) visitors will be helping to turn Boston’s MINILAND into their very own Bricksburg (from the original The LEGO Movie).
There is nothing wrong with some school vacation Disney on Ice (celebrating 100 years of Magic); follow this bostix ticket link here.
Older kids may enjoy making history connections at the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum.
For teens, look into Huntington Theater’s provocative new play Milk Like Sugar (see bostix tickets’ link here).
The whole family will enjoy the outing at the Boston Globe Travel Show at the Seaport Hotel on February 19-21. (Tickets are $10 online / $15 onsite; Kids 16 and under visit free when accompanied by adult.)
For outdoor winter fun, the Frog Pond, Boston’s favorite skating rink at the historical Boston Common offers rentals and skating instruction. Private lessons – single or packages are available via this link; or sign up for a group session at one of the 7 campuses of the Boston Skating Academy.
Visiting Boston for the first time this winter or taking out of town guests for a tour? Read my Boston with Family article for more ideas and a free walking tour (post snow week!)
We were invited to the media night performance of Mary Poppins by Wheelock Family Theater. I received no compensation for including any of the aforementioned activities and institutions into the post.