This past weekend, my family had the chance to check out the newest addition to the Wisconsin arts community – the Palace Theater located in the heart of the Wisconsin Dells (right across from the Wilderness Resort). The Palace Theater is a fully renovated and state of the art dinner theater which seats 800. The size of the theater is absolutely perfect – there is not a bad seat in the house.
We loved our experience at The Palace. We arrived 90 minutes before the show time listed on our ticket. (This is important to note – the time of the show is displayed on tickets and other promotional material. Dinner, which is included in the ticket price, is actually served prior to the show and it is recommended you arrive at least 90 minutes before the show.) The lobby of The Palace is beautifully decorated for the holidays and it felt like entering a friend’s living room.
Dinner (or lunch in our case as we were seeing a matinee) was delicious and I loved that the adult entree included both chicken and beef so that there was something for everyone. And if Chef Guy is at all inclined to share his stuffed squash recipe, it would definitely become a staple at our house. YUM!! We were particularly impressed with how attentive and helpful the staff was. Every request was taken care of in a timely manner with a smile and kind word. I’m pretty sure none of us ever saw the bottoms of our glasses thanks to the quick refills.
The cast of Mary Poppins is perfectly perfect in every way!! Between the talent of the actors and actresses and the AMAZING set, you very quickly forget that you are not attending a Broadway production. Seeing Mary Poppins float in for the first time is magical. The entire production is of the caliber you would expect to see on Broadway. (In fact, many of the actors were brought in from New York.)
I actually had the chance to visit with the cast a few weeks before the show opened. They had only been in Wisconsin a few days and were diligently working to learn the choreography of two of my favorite numbers – “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Step in Time”. It was really cool to see all of the steps and work that go into making such complicated numbers look so effortless and flawless. I also had a chance to chat with Buddy Reeder, co-director, about his vision and passion for the show. Buddy played Bert many times himself and is very familiar with Disney’s famous chimney sweep. The result is a very family friendly, engaging production of Mary Poppins that holds every member of the audience spellbound from beginning to end.
While the whole cast is amazing, I have to give a special shout out to Jessica Lorian (Mary Poppins) and Kyle Szen (Burt) who never miss a step or a note throughout several vigorous dance numbers. Both completely become their characters (complete with authentic sounding British accents) and take the audience on a magical journey that includes a stroll through the park with a live statue and a romp on the rooftops of London.
Kyle had an especially challenging task to make me believe that he was indeed Burt the Chimney Sweep since I have known him since he was in elementary school and I was his 5th grade teacher! I also helped the music teacher out with the school chorus and have fond memories of him being an incredibly talented boy even back then. I’ve had the pleasure of following his career as he’s played princes on Disney’s Magic cruise ship (I was so disappointed that he had already moved on when we sailed on the Magic) , had leads in Rent, and most recently went on tour with the USO. You can learn more about Kyle on his website.
Whether you are headed to the Wisconsin Dells for the holidays, a quick winter getaway, or just a day trip, be sure to add Mary Poppins at the Palace Theater to your itinerary. I promise, you won’t be sorry!!
Tickets can be purchased in advance on the Palace Theater’s website. Be sure to also follow the Palace Theater on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with upcoming offers and shows. Mary Poppins will be running through January 3rd.