Broadway

Mary Poppins

A signage of Mary Poppins show at New Amsterdam Theatre in Broadway

One of the most popular Disney movies turned to best-selling musical, Mary Poppins captured the hearts of audiences in a whole new way. The story is based on the similarly titled children’s books by P.L. Travers and the 1964 Disney film. Mary Poppins is an endearing story of a nanny who fundamentally changes a family, which was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The show is a mixture of unforgettable songs, an irresistible story, breathtaking dance numbers, and amazing stagecraft. Since its inception, the musical became a popular choice for community theatres and schools to produce.

Production History

In 1993, theater producer Cameron Mackintosh met with P.L. Travers to acquire the rights to develop a stage adaptation of the Mary Poppins books. Travers agreed to a stage production given that the creators were all English, and that Mackintosh would not involve anyone who had worked on the Disney film adaptation, as she did not like the way Disney interpreted her story. Travers died three years after, never seeing the stage production.

In 2001, Mackintosh collaborated with the head of Disney Theatrical Thomas Schumacher so that the play would be able to use songs from the Disney film. The next year, a preliminary outline of the show was written in 2002. Afterward, songwriters George Stiles and Anthony Drew wrote a demo version of a new song for Mary’s character, and Mackintosh accepted it and made them join the creative team.

An experienced production team was formed, including multi-award-winning director Sir Richard Eyre, and Bob Crowley, a theatre designer who has worked with prestigious West End and Broadway theatre companies like Royal Ballet, Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre, and Royal Opera.

Original West End production

The West End stage adaptation of Mary Poppins premiered at the Bristol Hippodrome in September 2004. The production then moved to the Prince Edward Theatre in December, making it the only Disney musical to make its premiere in the UK. The production closed in January 2008. The original West End cast included:

  • Laura Michelle Kelly as Mary Poppins
  • Gavin Lee as Bert
  • David Haig as George Banks
  • LinziHateley as Winifred Banks
  • Charlotte Spencer / Carrie Hope Fletcher as Jane Banks
  • Harry Stott as Michael Banks
  • Rosemary Ashe as Ms. Andrew
  • Julia Sutton as Bird Woman
  • Jenny Galloway as Mrs. Brill
  • Gerard Carey as Robertson Ay
  • Melanie La Barrie as Mrs. Corry
  • Kevin Williams as Park Keeper
  • Ian Murford as Admiral Boom
  • Claire Machin as Miss Lark
  • Stuart Neal as Neleus
  • Nathan Taylor as Valentine
  • Louisa Shaw as Katie Nanna
  • Nathan Taylor as Northbrook
  • Alan Vicary as Von Hussler
  • Tim Morgan as Policeman

Original Broadway production

After the success of the West End production, a Broadway production debuted in November 2006 at the New Amsterdam Theatre. It closed in March 2013 after more than six years and 2,619 performances to make way for another stage adaptation of a Disney film, Aladdin.

The original cast included:

  • Ashley Brown as Mary Poppins
  • Gavin Lee as Bert
  • Daniel Jenkins as George Banks
  • Rebecca Luker as Winifred Banks
  • Katherine Doherty / Delaney Moro / Kathryn Faughnan as Jane Banks
  • Matthew Gumley / Henry Hodges / Alexander Scheitinger as Michael Banks
  • Ruth Gottschall as Ms. Andrew
  • Cass Morgan as Bird Woman
  • Jane Carr as Mrs. Brill
  • Mark Price as Robertson Ay
  • Janelle Anne Robinson as Mrs. Corry
  • Nick Corley as Park Keeper
  • Michael McCarty as Admiral Boom
  • Ann Arvia as Miss Lark
  • Brian Letendre as Neleus
  • Tyler Maynard as Valentine
  • Megan Osterhaus as Katie Nanna
  • Matt Loehr as Northbrook
  • Sean McCourt as Von Hussler
  • James Hindman as Policeman

The closing cast included Steffanie Leigh as Mary and Nicholas Dromard as Bert.

Plot Overview

In the musical, a jack-of-all-trades named Bert narrates the story of the dysfunctional Banks family who lives in a big house in London on Cherry Lane in 1910. Things are not going well for the family, and the mischievous children, Jane and Michael, have sent another nanny packing. Having a father who’s always working and a mother who’s constantly distracted, the children do not have a strong caretaking force in their lives.

Their parents – especially the father, George Banks – are insistent on having someone strict for the job. Then, the magical, young Mary Poppins flies in on the wind and appears at their doorstep. The family finds that she’s the answer to their problems but in the most peculiar way. Mary Poppins brought her combination of magic, whimsy, and disciplined common sense to the children’s lives. She also takes the children on many magical and memorable adventures, but they also learn the importance of taking care of their toys, having a tidy room, and taking the medicine they need. Mary Poppins’ influence did not stop with the children – eventually, she also teaches the grown-ups to open up and realize that anything can happen if you let it.

Songs

Act I

  • “ChimChim Cher-ee” – Bert
  • “Cherry Tree Lane” (Part 1) – George, Winifred, Jane, Michael, Mrs. Brill, Robertson Ay, Katie Nanna, Bert, Admiral Boom, Mrs. Lark
  • “The Perfect Nanny” – Jane, Michael
  • “Cherry Tree Lane” (Part 2) – George, Winifred, Jane, Michael, Mrs. Brill, Robertson Ay
  • “Practically Perfect” – Mary Poppins, Jane, Michael
  • “ChimChim Cher-ee” (All Me Own Work) – Bert
  • “Jolly Holiday” – Bert, Mary Poppins, Jane, Michael, Neleus, Statues, Parkgoers
  • “Cherry Tree Lane” (Reprise) – George
  • “Being Mrs. Banks” – Winifred
  • “Jolly Holiday” (Reprise) – Jane and Michael
  • “ChimChim Cher-ee” (Winds Do Change) – Bert
  • “A Spoonful of Sugar” – Mary Poppins, Jane, Michael, Robertson Ay, and Winifred
  • “Precision and Order” – Chairman, Von Hussler, Northbrook, George, Mrs. Smythe, Clerks
  • “A Man Has Dreams” – George Banks
  • “Feed the Birds” – Bird Woman and Mary Poppins
  • “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” – Mary Poppins, Mrs. Corry, Bert, Jane, Michael, Annie, Fannie, Spellers
  • “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (Playoff) – Bert, Ensemble
  • “ChimChim Cher-ee” (Twists and Turns) – Bert
  • “Temper, Temper” (2004–2009) − Valentine, Mr. Punch, William, Glamorous Doll, Jack-in-the-Box, Ensemble
  • “Playing the Game” (2009–present) – Mary Poppins, Valentine, Ensemble
  • “ChimChim Cher-ee” (Reprise) – Bert and Mary Poppins

Act II

  • “Cherry Tree Lane” (Reprise) – Mrs. Brill, Michael, Jane, Winifred, Robertson Ay, George, Miss Andrew
  • “Brimstone and Treacle” (Part 1) – Miss Andrew
  • “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” – Bert, Park Keeper, Jane, Michael, Park-goers
  • “Good for Nothing” – George
  • “Being Mrs. Banks” (Reprise) – Winifred
  • “Brimstone and Treacle” (Part 2) – Mary Poppins and Miss Andrew
  • “Practically Perfect” (Reprise) – Jane, Michael, and Mary Poppins
  • “ChimChim Cher-ee” (Reprise) – Bert
  • “Step in Time” – Bert, Mary Poppins, Jane, Michael, Sweeps
  • “Step in Time” (Reprise) – Bert, Mary Poppins, Jane, Michael, Sweeps
  • “A Man Has Dreams” (Reprise) – George
  • “A Spoonful of Sugar” (Reprise) – George and Bert
  • “Anything Can Happen” (Part 1) – Mary Poppins, Jane, Michael, Winifred
  • “Feed the Birds” (Reprise) – Bird Woman
  • “Precision and Order” (Reprise) – George, Chairman, Winifred, Clerks
  • “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocioius” (Reprise) – George, Chairman, Winifred, Clerks
  • “Anything Can Happen” (Part 2) – Mary, Bert, Jane, Michael, Company
  • “A Spoonful of Sugar” (Reprise 2) – Mary Poppins
  • “A Shooting Star” – Orchestra
  • “Anything Can Happen” (Reprise) – Company
  • “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (Reprise 2) – Company

Awards

Original West End production

Mary Poppins was nominated nine times for a Lawrence Olivier Award in 2005 and won two awards: Best Actress in a Musical for Laura Michelle Kelly and Best Theatre Choreographer for Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear.

Original Broadway production

The show received seven Tony Award nominations in 2007, including Best Musical. It won Best Scenic Design for Bob Crowley. It was also nominated six times for a Drama Desk Award in 2007, winning the Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical award for Gavin Lee and Outstanding Set Design for Bob Crowley.

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