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Mary Poppins on stage in London- INFO

Discussion in 'Archive' started by SpectroPluto, Oct 20, 2003.

  1. SpectroPluto

    SpectroPluto Member

    Mar 16, 2002
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    Mary Poppins to Open in London Dec. 2004; Creative Team Announced

    A stage musical version of Mary Poppins ? the classic 1964 Disney film that made a star out of leading lady Julie Andrews ? is heading to the West End's Prince Edward Theatre.

    Thomas Schumacher, producer for Disney Theatrical Productions, and Sir Cameron Mackintosh today announced that they have joined forces to co-produce a stage adaptation of the classic film musical Mary Poppins based on the stories by P. L. (Pamela) Travers and the 1964 Walt Disney film. The production will open at the Prince Edward Theatre on December 15, 2004, 40 years after the premiere of the film.

    Announcing the team, the two producers said, "Everyone we talked to about working with us feels the same, a sense that these characters and stories are their own personal property. It is this deep-rooted appeal which has enabled us to put together a dream team to write and stage the musical."

    The multi award-winning creative team assembled for Mary Poppins is led by stage and film director Sir Richard Eyre. Co-direction and choreography will be supplied by Matthew Bourne, with additional choreography by Stephen Mear. Bob Crowley will design the sets and costumes. Lighting design will be by Howard Harrison, sound by Andrew Bruce, and orchestrations by William David Brohn.

    Mary Poppins will include many of the original songs from the film, with music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The new stage production has been created, in collaboration with Cameron Mackintosh, by Oscar-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who has written the book, and the Olivier award-winning British team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, who have written the new songs and additional music and lyrics.

    Mary Poppins played to an estimated 200 million people when it was released as a film, engendering extraordinary affection in its audiences and has remained one of Disney's most enduring and best-loved films.
  2. JeffNOrangeCounty

    JeffNOrangeCounty Member

    Oct 25, 2002
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    Thanks SP.
    At least I have a date to shoot for now, London here I come!

  3. micca

    micca Member

    Jul 7, 2003
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    I would SERIOUSLY consider going to London to see this.
    Anyone else?
  4. diegorivera2

    diegorivera2 Member

    Jul 22, 2003
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    I imagine we'll consider it when we plan our next trip there for summer 05. I'm curious to know what 'book' the article references Julian Fellowes writing.
  5. SharonKurland

    SharonKurland Active Member

    Mar 15, 2002
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    We've got plans to go to Japan in Spring 2005. Trying to figure out how I can fit England into the vacation schedule too now .

  6. JeffNOrangeCounty

    JeffNOrangeCounty Member

    Oct 25, 2002
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    Here is an article posted up over at RADP re: MP!

    ....and this bit from this past Sunday's London Times.

    Mary Poppins - brought to the stage at last
    An international alliance between two theatrical giants is set to
    finally bring Mary Poppins to the stage.
    By Matt Wolf

    It?s traditional, in the theatre, to think of the great partnerships
    being on stage rather than off: Gielgud and Richardson, Finney and
    Courtenay, Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn. But a recent Saturday found me
    down in Somerset, in what was once a 13th-century priory, to discuss the
    biggest behind-the-scenes theatrical pairing of our time: the first
    collaboration between Sir Cameron Mackintosh, the British musicals
    impresario, and Thomas Schumacher, the American head of Disney
    Theatrical Productions.

    What makes this important, you might ask. Because one can, without any
    exaggeration, claim that these two men, between them, bestride the
    theatrical world. Even Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, a glamorous West End
    pairing though the Dames were last year, don?t represent such a potent
    combining of forces, as theatregoers will discover when the first fruit
    of the Mackintosh-Disney collaboration ripens at the end of next year:
    the stage-musical premiere of Mary Poppins.

    The story of Poppins?s belated stage birth is the one I have come to
    Somerset to hear. And so I find myself in the spacious kitchen of
    Stavordale, the seven-bedroom country estate (situated on 34 acres when
    Mackintosh bought it just over a decade ago; the property now
    encompasses upwards of 1,500 acres) that is the preferred one of the
    producer?s multiple homes. With a personal fortune estimated by his own
    office to be as much as ?240m, much of it in land, Mackintosh, 57 last
    Friday, need never start a new project again. He could live off the
    continuing incarnations of the so-called Big Four ? Cats, Les Mis, The
    Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon ? as they continue to blaze trails
    around the globe. Last year, his company had a ?30m turnover. But never
    discount the power of individual passion in the theatre ? the kind that
    Mackintosh has, for a quarter of a century, harboured for Mary Poppins.

    And in Schumacher ? the 45-year-old American who joined Disney in 1987,
    only to move over time from animation in order to devote himself wholly
    to the conglomerate?s now crucial theatrical portfolio ? Mackintosh may
    just have met his theatrical soul mate. Like Mackintosh before him,
    Schumacher is someone used to rolling out musicals around the world:
    Beauty and the Beast, Aida and The Lion King, the last of which opens
    its 10th production in Sydney tonight. And, as an employee of a company
    whose total revenue for the 2002 fiscal year was ?18 billion, Schumacher
    is not exactly unaccustomed to thinking big or dealing with charismatic
    people who operate on a large scale. The two producers, says Julian
    Fellowes, who won an Oscar for his Gosford Park screenplay and is
    writing the book for Mary Poppins, represent ?rather an extra- ordinary
    alliance; there?s showbiz history here, and, as the Americans say,
    they?re on the same page?.

    That?s where a shared desire to see a theatre adaptation of Mary Poppins
    comes in, and it is what has brought Mackintosh and Schumacher together.
    Still, why colla-borate? Simple: Mackintosh has long held the stage
    rights to the author Pamela Travers?s Poppins books ? three main texts
    and several more collections written at her publisher?s behest. Disney,
    of course, owns the hugely popular 1964 film, an epoch-making mixture of
    live action and animation that brought Julie Andrews an Oscar as the
    magical nanny (and preserved for ever her co-star Dick Van Dyke?s
    distinctly dodgy cockney accent). If Mary Poppins were ever, therefore,
    to come to the stage, it would have to arrive as some sort of theatrical

    Says Mackintosh: ?Travers created the books, and Disney created the film
    that turned everyone on to the books, and it is one of the most
    wonderful films ever made. In my mind, there is no question that this is
    part of the reason Mary Poppins is known by people in a way that I am
    not. I hope I will be seen to have been the third person? ? after
    Travers and Disney ? ?who has brought something to it.?

    Mackintosh first applied for the theatrical rights in 1978: ?Like
    basically every producer in the world, I had had the brilliant idea of
    putting Mary Poppins on the stage.? But it wasn?t until 1993, when David
    Pugh, the London producer of Art, arranged an introduction to Travers,
    that things started hotting up, and various names even began to be
    floated in gossip columns: Stephen Daldry as director, Emma Thompson or
    Fiona Shaw as Mary Poppins. (?I?ve never heard Fiona Shaw?s soprano,?
    deadpans Mackintosh.) The year is significant, as it was that same
    autumn that Disney launched its theatrical division with Beauty and the
    Beast, from which it was clear many more stage properties would flow.

    Poppins, unsurprisingly, was in the mix relatively early. Says
    Schumacher: ?I have a memo that Michael Eisner (the head of Disney)
    wrote in 1995, saying: ?Let?s try to get this Mary Poppins thing tied up
    in the next six months.?? What followed, instead, was a complex series
    of negotiations. It wasn?t until the end of 2001 that Schumacher took
    the initiative and arranged a meeting with Mackintosh. ?I said to
    Cameron, ?Look, there?s all this deal stuff that is obviously never
    going to work. But what nobody?s talked about is what the show could be.??

    Ah, the deal, that most salient of all words, whether you?re talking
    Tony Blair and Gordon Brown or some of the partnerships entered, in
    different ways, by Disney?s film-animation division ? with Steven
    Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis, for example, on Who Framed Roger Rabbit,
    or Tim Burton on The Nightmare Before Christmas. But the Mary Poppins
    deal is different from the Hollywood norm. ?Much of Hollywood is about
    the deal,? says Schumacher, ?because so little of it is about the
    making, and so there are people who are producers because they can make
    a deal, and then they drop by the set twice ? and the deal is not the
    making of something. By contrast, this Mary Poppins is about making
    something, about coming back to the table again and again.?

    For Mackintosh, Schumacher?s wholesale commitment to Disney?s theatre
    division was the impetus the British impresario required. ?Everywhere
    else in the world, you have to deal with a group of producers. Look at
    (the Broadway musical) The Producers ? there are about a dozen of them.?
    With Schumacher, Mackintosh finds ?it is like dealing with another me:
    the artistic process couldn?t be simpler?. And though the men had met
    only once prior to Poppins ? ?Over a jolly lunch,? recalls Schumacher,
    in St Tropez in August 1997 ? it is clear that they speak the same
    language. Says the designer Bob Crowley, who will work on Poppins,
    having won a Tony for the Mackintosh-backed National Theatre?s Carousel
    and another one for the Disney-backed Aida on Broadway: ?Once Tom and
    Cameron met up, as opposed to the idea of the Cameron-Mackintosh
    organisation and the corporation of Disney, and it became personalised
    as it has, I knew it would be a great marriage.? For that, Crowley
    credits Schumacher, for breaking from what might be seen as the Disney
    mould: ?I knew that if this was going to work, it would work because of
    Tom. He?s a man of the theatre, not just a man in a suit from Burbank.?

    That it seems to be working so far can be judged from the buzz that has
    built around Poppins ever since a rehearsed reading of the show on
    September 15, upstairs at the Old Vic in front of an audience of about
    50, Eisner included. At last, the production?s co-director and
    choreographer, Matthew Bourne, and its director, Richard Eyre ? the
    latter making his own bid for the kind of international musical
    franchise over which his National Theatre successor, Trevor Nunn, has
    long presided ? could hear Fellowes?s Travers-steeped book wedded to the
    extant Sherman brothers songs (one of which, Chim Chim Cher-ee, won an
    Oscar) as well as half-a-dozen new ones from the composer-lyricist team
    of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, whose National Theatre entry, Honk!
    The Ugly Duckling, won the 2000 Olivier Award for best musical over,
    wait for it, The Lion King. (?I guess the judges couldn?t get tickets to
    Lion King,? quipped Stiles and Drewe at the time.) At the reading,
    Joanna Riding was Poppins, with Drewe himself taking on the Dick Van
    Dyke role. Julia McKenzie, in a rare return to singing, played Miss
    Andrew, a former governess of the Banks family who features prominently
    in the books and not at all in the film, while Alex Jennings (winner of
    an Olivier for Mackintosh?s My Fair Lady in the West End) and Claire
    Moore played Mr and Mrs Banks. The West End production has yet to be cast.

    Rehearsals start next July, followed by an out-of-town tryout ?
    Mackintosh?s first ? leading to a December 15 London first night at the
    Prince Edward, one of Mackintosh?s seven West End theatres. ?We have to
    give the audience a show that delivers what you hope will happen when
    you come to see Mary Poppins,? says Schumacher, ?not just ride on the
    title.? But will the Disney-Mackintosh names by themselves sell tickets?
    ?Let?s put it this way,? smiles Mackintosh, ?I don?t think we?ll put
    anybody off.?

    Mary Poppins opens on December 15, 2004, at the Prince Edward, W1

    Matt Wolf is the London theatre critic for Variety
  7. chris

    chris Member

    Apr 21, 2002
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    Here is a mention of two of the new song titles:

    For the theater production, 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," already are generating a buzz.

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

    JeffNOrangeCounty Member

    Oct 25, 2002
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  9. chris

    chris Member

    Apr 21, 2002
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    Wow. Thanks for the link, Jeff. That's exciting. Pretty site.

    I like the music preview that is playing, especially the part where Mary and Bert spell out the word Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

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