Practically Perfect: A Mary Poppins Birthday

My daughter Daisy May’s 4th birthday was “Practically Perfect,” just like the famous nanny who sings that song in the musical “Mary Poppins.” We had tickets to see the production at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre on Daisy’s ACTUAL birthday rather than one of the three lead-up celebrations she had already enjoyed. (Talk about confusing. “Am I four now?” she kept asking us all week. Finally it was official.)

She didn’t know anything about the show,except what she saw in a picture of Mary Poppins flying with her umbrella. That was enough to set up Daisy’s great expectations.

As soon as Mary Poppins, AKA Cara Statham Serber, made her first dramatic appearance in the spotlight looking and sounding absolutely perfect as the world’s most memorable nanny, Daisy was all in. “Is that the girl that’s going to fly? She has DAISIES on her hat!”

She and her big sister Clara watched with wide eyes, clapping for the chimney sweeps and the children (who were fabulous!) I found myself admiring the gorgeous costumes (kudos to my amiga and costume designer, Jill Kelly!) the “spit-spot” characters created by the actors, including our friend Eddie Curry’s tightly-wound Mr. Banks. (I love how he was able to invoke pity and sympathy, even while being intolerable – that’s not easy!)

As soon as I saw Ms. Poppins holding her umbrella up I started shifting my focus onto the little girl sitting next to me. Then Mary’s feet lifted off the ground. Daisy’s jaw dropped wide open like a fish out of water. Then, the shock turned into a gaping, wondrous smile. Even though it was tempting to watch Mary make her ascent to the top of the theatre, Clara and I couldn’t take our eyes off Daisy.

I love, love, love what theatre does to people.

I loved watching my kid live in that moment.

I loved thinking back to the times I flew above heads in that same theatre, seeing the same delighted reactions in the faces of children, and even adults.

Now, Daisy is telling everyone who will listen everything they need to know about the show. “You know the show Mary Poppins? There’s a girl with daisies on her hat and she FLEWED with an umbrella!”

It was a perfect birthday outing; a spoonful of sugar that’s left behind a sweet memory.

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