‘Mary Poppins’ is just one facet of Welsh actress Caroline Sheen
By Skip Sheffield
She taps, sings, and even flies through the air with her umbrella as the mysterious, magical nanny of “Mary Poppins,” continuing through June 27 at Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
Mary Poppins is just one role for the multi-faceted singer, actress and dancer Caroline Sheen. She continues on a Broadway Across America national tour of “Mary Poppins” through February 2011, but you have a little piece of Caroline Sheen the singer to take home with you.
“Raise the Curtain” is the first American album by Sheen, a musical theater fan of the first order. Indeed, it is part of a serious mission.
“I specialized with songs that many people have not heard and in some cases have never been recorded,” she explained. “I am a huge musical theater fan. The future of musical theater depends on writers keeping the art form alive. `Raise the Curtain’ is my little part to showcase little-known work by both well-known writers like Maltby and Shire and upcoming writers like Dana Rowe and John Dempsey.
Dana P. Rowe (music) and John Dempsey (lyrics) did the music for a musical version of “The Witches of Eastwick,” based on the John Updike novel and produced by Cameron Mackintosh, who also produced “Mary Poppins” in England and America. “Isn’t This What Every Woman Wants?” is a selection from that show that was cut after the fifth preview.
Sheen’s repertoire includes the ingénue role of Clare in the British production of “The Light in the Piazza.” From that show she sings the title song and the uptempo “What Do You Want From Love?” by Conor Mitchell.
Fans of Mary Poppins will recognize the hopeful “Anything Can Happen,” by George Stiles (music) and Anthony Drewe (lyrics), although it is an entirely different arrangement.
With her husband, actor Michael Jibson, Sheen, 34, sings the comedy number “Nothing is Too Wonderful to be True” by David Yasbek from “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” in which she played the sexy “dumb blond” role of Christine.
“It was so amazing to be cast as Mary Poppins,” she reflects. “I usually play dumb blond roles. Mary is anything but dumb. She is clever, witty, mysterious and a bit naughty. The show has such a great message about family, love and life, and it sparks the imagination. It is a privilege to be part of it here in America.”
“Raise the Curtain” is sold at performances of “Mary Poppins” for $20, and it can be ordered from Sheen’s web site at www.carolinesheen.com.