Spoonful of sugar timely medicine
It’s a practically perfect release from Covid restrictions.
The feel- good musical Mary Poppins will deliver a spoonful of sugar to theatregoers for the first time in months.
The hit Broadway show opens on Friday at The Civic, the historic Auckland theatre that hasn’t seen anyone tread the boards since its Covid- forced closure in March.
Auckland joined the rest of the country on level 1 at 11.59pm on Wednesday, lifting gathering restrictions and allowing theatres to open.
That meant it was back to work for close to 150 people on Mary Poppins, including cast and crew, orchestra, ushers, front of house and theatre management.
With no events since level 4 lockdown, staff at The Civic, Auckland Town Hall and the Aotea Centre were redeployed to other Auckland Live venues such as the Auckland Zoo and the Art Gallery.
But as Mary Poppins runs in evenings and weekends, the
28- strong all- Kiwi cast kept their day jobs.
Shaan Kloet who plays Mary Poppins works in education, Caroline Everitt who plays mother Winifred Banks works for her family’s chocolate shop, and lolly shop lady Mrs Corry is school teacher Maria Angela Vaa.
G & T Productions codirector Terry O’Connor said it was a tense wait for confirmation of alert level 1. The show was rescheduled twice because of the pandemic. “There has been a huge amount of uncertainty for everyone involved in Mary Poppins so there was a sigh of relief when we knew we could finally do it,” O’Connor said.
“These people have given their heart and soul and so to know it is finally going to happen is quite emotional for everyone.” O’Connor’s company lost $ 120,000 in March, when Mary Poppins was cancelled. An additional $ 70,000 was spent on marketing when restrictions eased but then there were more postponements because of the second wave of Covid.
The theatre and events community has called for more conversation with decision- makers about how shows could go on safely if alert levels rise again.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff visited the cast and crew this week at The Civic to celebrate the reopening of the theatre — the biggest in the world to reopen since Covid shut Broadway and The West End. There was a rush on sales just after the alert level 1 announcement.
Despite two lockdowns and rehearsals hampered by social distancing, O’Connor said the show was going to be world- class.
“We were ready to go in March and then Covid hit so we had rehearsals via Zoom,” O’Connor said.
The production is adapted from
PL Travers’ classic stories and the beloved Walt Disney film about the magical nanny who helps the dysfunctional Banks family. It runs until November 1.
Venue: The Civic, Auckland Tickets: Ticketmaster, from $ 27.50 to the VIP $ 130 “Practically Perfect” package