There is a delightful community theater in my old stomping grounds of Lawrenceville called the Aurora Theatre. My friend Kara and I have wandered over there on occasion for improv nights after a few cocktails at McCray's Tavern, but I have never seen an actual play there before. But when they announced that they would performing Mary Poppins this season, we marked it on our calendar to get tickets! I knew it would be a fun mother/daughter day (I invited Steve but he gracefully bowed out), and I was so excited to take Anna to her first live play. This whole Mary Poppins thing still amazes me - I picked out that DVD on a whim from the Disney Movie Club list and I had no idea it would turn into a bonding experience with this kind of longevity!!
We started off the day with lunch at La Cazuela, a Mexican restaurant on the Lawrenceville square. I was amazed at how much the square has changed in the years since I've really been down there. Anna was intrigued to meet a new friend, Kara's niece Nina.
After lunch we strolled down to an ice cream shop right across the street from Aurora. Anna ordered herself a "vananilla" ice cream cone and I settled on an iced coffee.
We got to the theatre just in time to claim our seats- right in the front row! We met the associate director on the way in and he was enamored with Anna's Jolly Holiday outfit, and he came up to talk to us during intermission too. Apparently the Aurora opted to do Mary Poppins with the specific goal of bringing children to a live play, and it worked for us!
Anna did SO well during the performance. It was quite long, and not lined up exactly with the movie, but I was so impressed that she made it all the way through. I had prepared myself to leave after maybe an hour, but she did great and made herself quite comfortable on my lap for the second act.
One of the most special moments of the day for me was at the very end when the cast was taking their bows - Bert and Mary Poppins were taking their final bows and they spotted Anna dancing in the front row in her dress. You could see their eyes light up, they pointed at her, and then waved and blew her kisses. She had stars in her eyes and she blew a kiss back and waved at them with this beautiful smile on her face as they walked off the stage. I'm not going to lie, I teared up a little bit.
After the show, we walked down to the bottom level of the parking deck, where Aurora had hosted a Chalk Walk. Artists and amateurs could register for a spot in the deck to paint a chalk picture, just like Bert. There was some serious talent there and the girls loved walking around and looking at all of the pictures.
We had one last final fun moment at the very end- after the Chalk Walk, we went back inside to sneak a bathroom break now that everyone had left, and the whole cast ended up being inside the lobby. We walked past the little girl who played Jane, and she ran up to say hi to Anna. And then as we were heading to the bathroom, Mary Poppins herself squealed "There she is!!" and came over to say hi to Anna. You could tell Anna was massively confused because I said "this is Mary Poppins, Anna!" and the actress was in her regular clothes, but it was still really cute to see them having a conversation together about Anna's favorite M.P. songs and how she liked the play and about her little dress.
It was such a fun day to spend with my little girl and I loved seeing her eyes light up at all of the new experiences. She has been telling me all day today about how much fun she had and how she wants to go again soon! We have tickets already to some kind of Mary Poppins sing-a-long at the Fox Theatre downtown next month so hopefully we will be able to have another special Poppins day soon!