So, the Chicago company of Mary Poppins will be moving on to start the 1st National tour in a couple of weeks- I cant believe its been six months already! It’s true – TIME FLIES WHEN YOU’RE HAVING FUN! The minute Em (my wife) and I arrived here in January we loved the city (even though it was freezing. Erm, when is the sun gonna come out so we can go sit on the beach?) Our apartment is just off the Loop, so easy access to all things ‘touristy’ even though I feel we have only touched the surface when it comes to exploring the real Windy City.
Being asked to go on tour was just perfect for me because even though I absolutely love the role of Bert, after 4 years it can get to be ‘just a job’ so to get to start from scratch again with a practically brand new cast was exactly what I needed. Everyone at work is so fresh and positive and already the company feels a lot closer than Broadway or London. I’m guessing, because we are all away from home and our loved ones and ‘Poppins’ becomes your family. On any night there’ll be a group going for a drink after the show to ‘Stocks and Blonds’ or ‘The Emerald Loop’ and there’s always a cast birthday to celebrate at some cool bar or club- any excuse for everyone to get dressed up!
As for the show, having been involved in three separate productions now, I think we have a really strong cast, crew and production and I’m so, so glad that the producers didn’t scale down the show for the tour – everything is still there – the sets, the magic and of course the flying – who knew I’d get to hang upside down in so many cities around the country!
In a couple of days everyone is going to get our ‘touring trunks’ to pack all our worldly goods into, put on one of the 15 or so trucks and it will magically appear in the dressing room of our next theatre. I’m so excited to get out on the road and get to explore this great country that I’ve fallen in love with but I’m kinda gutted that we have to leave here already. The things I’ll miss most about Chicago – the friendly, polite people, Bongo Room for brunch, our apartment roof deck, the river, Brazzaz all you can eat buffet (meat meat meat!) and the great audiences – they are soo loud!! Thank you Chicago for having us – what a brilliant place to have started this amazing journey!
-Gavin Lee (Bert/MARY POPPINS)