Malibu Seen / By Kim Devore

MERRY, MERRY MARY

While the dreary economy has taken its toll on everything from art museums to operas, there is a bright spot on the cultural horizon. It is the revival of the family favorite, ?Mary Poppins,? at the Ahmanson Theater.

The feel-good musical turned out to be last year?s highest grossing theatrical event. The elaborate production with songs like ?Let?s Go Fly a Kite? and ?Chim Chim Cheree? pulled in more than 65,000 Los Angeles theatergoers and an impressive $11 million.

?Mary Poppins? has been delighting audiences since 1964, when Malibu locals Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews starred in the film version of the show. The Ahmanson production also features Ashley Brown and Gavin Lee, who appeared in the Broadway original. The fun-loving family extravaganza has won rave reviews.

So if you?re up for a ?supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? stroll down memory lane, head to the music center before Mary flies off this weekend.

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Two local actors are stepping into the spotlight this month.

Four-time Oscar nominee Ed Harris and ?Scream? star David Arquette will be making curtain calls at the Geffen Playhouse. The famed venue has two theaters. Harris will appear at the smaller, more intimate Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, where he will portray Edward Carr in ?Wrecks.? The play peers into the life of a recent widower who has a passion for vintage cars and cigarettes. You can expect a powerful punch as Carr lures you into an extended monologue about his extraordinary marriage.

?He just speaks to the audience,? Harris said. ?He talks about his relationship and their life together. It?s a fun piece.?

The Geffen said its new production is laced with ?passion humor and darkness.? It?s also laced with clouds of herbal cigarette smoke. The one-act drama comes along with 80 minutes of non-stop puffing.

Over at the larger theater, David Arquette teams up with Annette Bening in ?The Female of the Species.? The laugh-out-loud farce is directed by Geffen veteran Randall Arney. It tells the tale of a feminist author?s retreat, which is rudely interrupted by a host of unexpected guests including a disgruntled student, an impatient cabbie and her two kids. The play also features Julian Sands, Josh Stamberg and Mirelle Enos.

It?s a nice break for Arquette, who is in pre-production for ?Scream 4.?

?I love having the interaction with the audience. You get that charge from them,? he said. ?It brings you back to the roots of acting.?

How does Harris feel returning to the stage after 10 years?

?It?s great,? he said. ?I feel at home.?

if you aren?t an heiress like Paris, the right look can make you feel that way.

Got a hot happening or cool event? Send the 411 to kimdevore@malibutimes.com.

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