Mary Poppins is back. The sold-out (or nearly so) shows can vouch for its status as a perennial favorite. (If you don’t have tickets yet, don’t wait!) And there’s the highly anticipated release of Mary Poppins Returns on the big screen. Before taking in the next chapter, go back to where it all began with Northwest Children’s Theater’s latest production.

This beloved story graced NWCT’s stage in 2014 and earned a slew of DRAMMY nominations and awards. And it’s no wonder. The acclaimed show (which differs from the classic book and the Disney movie that so many know and love) features colorful sets, high-energy song-and-dance numbers, catchy tunes (like the crowd-pleasing “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”), and an extremely talented cast, including the very Mary Poppins from the 2014 show. Everything about it makes you smile—the high-flying kites, Mary Poppins soaring through the air, a terror of a nanny and her showdown with her practically perfect counterpart, and (my favorite) the delightful tap-dance number “Step In Time.”

Clocking in at 2 hours and 30 minutes (plus a 15-minute intermission), the show is longer than most children’s productions, especially those recommended for ages 5 and up. I was a little worried about the runtime, even though my kids are older. (They’re just a month shy of 8 and 11, though that didn’t stop this mom from asking, “Are you sure you don’t need to use the restroom?”) The play’s quick pace and engaging scenes put those worries to rest. My daughter was captivated from start to finish (she’d been looking forward to it for weeks). She wasn’t a fan of the smoke used during the rooftop scenes, though. Her older brother took the aisle seat, knowing from past experience that the cast would make their way past and possibly engage him (which Bert, the chimney sweep, did).

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Mary Poppins runs through January 6 at Northwest Children’s Theater. ASL and audio-described shows are scheduled for Saturday, December 22 (visit the website for more information). For those traveling by car, there’s a small parking lot and on-street parking, with metered spots west of NW 17th Ave. and non-metered time-limit spots between the freeway and NW 17th.

As with all NWCT shows, the cast gathers in the lobby after the final curtain for autographs and photos. After the meet-and-greet, bundle up, step outside, and be ready to hum “Chim Chiminey,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” and all the heartwarming tunes long into the winter’s evening and night.

Jade Chan

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