View Full Version : Mary Poppins in London

10-21-2003, 11:40 AM
I found this in the SF Chronicle this morning:"Mary Poppins," the 1964 Disney film abou a magical nanny that won Julie Andrews an Academy Award in the title role, is being reinvented for the theatre as the latest stage musical to draw inspiration from a well-known movie.

The production will mark the first collaboration between Cameron Mackintosh, the British theater impressario behind such global hits as "Cats," "Les Miserables," and "The Phantom of the Opera," and the theatre division of the Walt Disney Co., whose shows include "Beauty and the Beast," "The Lion King," and "Aida."

Richard Eyre, head of Britain's National Theatre, will direct. The musical, which has not been cast, will open Dec. 15, 2004, at the Prince Edward Theatre on the West End after a seven- or eight-week out-of-town tryout. Rehersals start in July, producers said Monday [10/20/03].

"The fusion actuall has creaded something which is fresh, : said Mackintosh, who met several times with Pamela Travers, Australian author of the various novels on which the movie version was based.

Drawing from the beloved film and extensively from Travers' books, "Mary Poppins" on stage will be "something familiar but which has its own life, which is what one always strives for with any adaptation of anything." Mackintosh said.

For the theatre porduction, the Oscar-winning score by American brothers Richard and Robert Sherman will feature a half dozen or more new songs by the younger English songwriting team of George Stiles (music) and Anthony Drewe (lyrics).

That means playgoers can expect "A Spoonful of Sugar" and the Oscar-winning best song "Chim Chim Cher-ee," as well as new numbers, several of which, "Brimstone and Treacle" and "Practically Perfect," are already generating a buzz.

"Hopefully, everyone will get their favorite moment," Stiles said.

At a recent London read-through of the musical for an invited audience that included Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Drewe played Dick van ****'s screen role, Bert; two-time Olivier Award-winner Joanna Riding sang Mary Poppins.

In probably the greatest departure from the film, British actress-singer Julia McKenzie played Miss Andrew, a character prominently featured in the books, but who isn't in the movie.

The book writer for the stage musical is Julian Fellowes, the one-time actor who won an Oscar last year for his "Gosford Park" screenplay.

In an interview, Fellowes said that in returning to Travers' three main Poppins books and other works, the aim "was to invigorate a show by going back to its source."

These days, more and more theatre musicals ("The Full Monty," The Witches of Eastwick," Footloose") derive inspiration from films, where once the crative flow of traffic went the other way.

Among London's current hits is a stage adaptation of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," which itself bagan life as a film with a Sherman brothers score.

Mackintosh said he thought the time for a stage "Poppins" was now. "The whole notion of having a nanny - which in the '70s and '80s seemed something from a by-gone era - now no longer is: Most people with a bit of money have nannies."

Still, with eight months to go until rehersals, and a 30-member cast still to be signed, Mackintosh ws sounding reluctant to make too many claims.

"The show materially is in pretty good shape - as much as one can be that hasn't gone into rehersal," he said.

10-22-2003, 04:03 PM
I heard on an entertainment report this am that Disney was working with a producer to bring Mary Poppins to the London stage sometime next year. I'd imagine it's reasonable to assume that Broadway would follow.

10-22-2003, 04:39 PM
Sorry, DK... I beat you to this one.

10-22-2003, 05:26 PM
It's Broadway future is questionable. Witches of Eastwick, one of Mackintosh's hits in London never made it stateside. Martin Guerre came to the states, but only out-of-town tryouts and tours. It was too weak for Broadway.

I'm hoping that it will come though!! :)

10-23-2003, 01:29 AM
Originally posted by Sarangel
Sorry, DK... I beat you to this one.
That you did! I completely missed your thread.........and you had better info than I did anyway.

Anyone think that Mary Poppins would do as well on Broadway as the Lion King or Beauty and the Beast? I'm thinking no, but I still think it is a good move.

Oh, BTW - I just took the garbage out and it is snowing (well, flurrying ;)) here in the lower Hudson Valley of NY. I'm a skier and all, but it isn't even Halloween yet :earseek:.

10-23-2003, 05:47 PM
LIGHT flakes flew in Buffalo. No where near a flurry, though, thank god!

I think that ANYTHING is better than the Lion King. It's visually and artistically amazing, but man....I thought the book was a mess! It was really boring, and I just didn't care for it at all.

As for whether or not it will be as popular, I don't know...I think Disney has a good track record when it comes to musicals that are from previously released Disney material. Not only is The Lion King still doing amazing business, but so is Beauty and the Beast! That's actually, from my experiences, one of the harder tickets in town to get.

Aida, on the other hand, while still fairly strong, isn't pulling numbers like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast.

I think if Mary Poppins is done well, it will be successful. Other than Disney's others, Phantom is the only long-running, tourist-appeal kind of show. The others don't have too much appeal unless you're a hardcore musical fan.

10-24-2003, 09:58 AM
Aida, on the other hand, while still fairly strong, isn't pulling numbers like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast.
I think that LK and B&TB have appeal to the younger set. Aida is for the adult set. I think that explains why that is happening. I do think Mary Poppins will have some appeal to the younger set, but not as much as LK or B&TB. As such, I don't think it will do as well. It will still be a success, but just not as big as LK and B&TB, IMHO.

SS - Light flakes in Buf = flurries anywhere else. Flurries in Buf would be a bone-fide snowfall most anywhere else. Gotta love those lakes.