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Mary Poppins UK

Discussion in 'Archive' started by Ghost Host, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. Ghost Host

    Ghost Host Member

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    As it seems as though the Disneyland set might not be orderable for a few days now, I thought I'd give a shout out to Tommy for suggesting ordering Mary Poppins from AmazonUK. I walked over to Footlight inquiring about it and (true to form) they barked at me "Not yet!" Someone should enroll them in Traditions. Colony, of course, had it, but they wanted over $40.00 for it! I took Tommy's advice and ordered it through Amazon UK. The price was unbeatable, and they had it here in less than a week.

    Thanks, Tommy!
     
  2. disneymagic

    disneymagic Member

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    Glad you got your copy!

    Ever since I got my hands on the CD it has been on loop constantly.

    This is an absolute musical theatre masterpiece and Disney has done right to team forces with Cameron Mackintosh.

    Being a fan of both producers, I never doubted that what they would come up with would not be of high quality, but was a little sceptical that too much may have been drawn from the books.

    I was however completely wrong as the best of both has been included and the new characters and scenes are definately better suited to the stage than many in the film.

    The film is obviously a cinematic triumph but they are two completely different entities. When I watch the musical or listen to the CD, even though they are the same melodies, I am listening to something new and completely fresh.

    The new orchestrations of the classic tunes are wonderful plus the newly composed numbers all contribute greatly to the score. PRACTICALLY PERFECT, performed as Mary introduces herself to the children and ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN (a great Broadway-esque number) towards the end of the show, are both show highlights. The latter works far more effectively as a closing theme than LET'S GO FLY A KITE.

    The darker elements of the show add great tension and theatricality to the show, TEMPER TEMPER is quite terrifying, when the toys of the nursery come alive. BRIMSTONE AND TREACLE, sung by Mr Bank's nanny Miss Andrew is greatly executed by Rosemary Ashe and is comical in its reprise.

    SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALODICIOUS is now performed in Mrs Corry's Sweet Shop and the choreography is outstanding. STEP IN TIME equally has a stunning routine and added melodic and lyrical elements, which are very fitting and make more sense in their context.

    JOLLY HOLIDAY takes place in a London park, where statues come to life, this section is both elegant and magical.

    A SPOONFUL OF SUGAR takes place in the kitchen rather than the nursery.

    Several songs from the film are missing, yet I must say I was not at all bothered after I had seen the show.

    There are so many moments I could mention, this post would be too long. It is interesting that the show has both West-End and Broadway elements. It is also completely unique in its combination of high class and schmaltz, making it suitable for a large audience. Young children would inevitably find the show a little too complicated yet this appeals to a much wider audience than say Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, both of which I also adore.

    If you are in London, you have to see this show. The cast are fabulous and are worth the price of the ticket just to see their presence. Laura Michelle Kelly and Gavin Lee are outstanding as Mary and Bert.

    I have read some reviews from people who have not seen the show nor listened to the Cast Album and I must clarify that Mary Poppins, the musical is an almost entirely new concept and may not be the same as the film but is wonderfully magical and still very Disney.

    Sorry if this post is long, but I just wanted to share my experiences of this show with other Disney music lovers.

    Have a magical Disney day,

    David in the UK
     
  3. Chrisc710

    Chrisc710 New Member

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    i had just ordered the cd from amazonuk 3 weeks ago. still has not arrived. i wrote to them, and now they are resending me one. so hopefully ill be getting it soon. i went to see lion king on broadway the other day, and in the gift shop, they were selling the cd. it was being sold for $20. online it comes to about 20 something in US dollars. so its the same price either way. so if you live in NYC or are close to it. they sell it inside The Lion King theater Gift Shop. the theater is on 42nd street.
     
  4. Ghost Host

    Ghost Host Member

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    Thanks for your take on this, David. I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it from listening alone. One of my grievances with "Beauty and the Beast" is that it's such a rehash of the movie that it lacks anything really unique except the visceral presence of the actors...which you can also experience from watching the theme park version. The Lion King benefits from a VERY unique staging, though from beginning to end, I felt like I could deliver the lines (and the jokes) for the actors, knowing the film as well as I do.

    I guess what intrigues me about this stage show is that it's not a rehash of the film...and that also sits a little strangely with me. I find myself wondering why they replaced songs (A British Bank with Cherry Tree Lane) that didn't really need replacing. I was really surprised that "I Love to Laugh" was missing...perhaps one of the most theatrical songs in the film.

    I agree with you that Anything Can Happen is the big number, but I also felt that none of the new songs were as instantly memorable as the Sherman tunes. (Being Mrs. Banks?)

    It's interesting that the play (appears) to take a darker cue from the books. Mary, herself, is described as not particularly attractive and there is something about the London Mary that really resembles the book illustrations. (Sorry Laura) It's easy to buy into Julie's being "practically perfect in every way"...it's more of a reach here and seems to reinstate the book's quirkiness in exchange for the Hollywood glamour. If Walt took the British (Australian?!) Mary and made her American, this seems to be the British reclamation. Hearing Bert with a more authentic Cockney accent really plays up the class distinctions between Mr. Banks and Bert...Dick Van Dyke, God love him, never really seemed that down and dirty despite the soot makeup.

    Though I can't speak for the play, the character of Miss Andrews seems like a nod to modern day sensibilities. I don't remember her from the books. Maybe someone can clarify that. One of the beauties of the film, in my mind, is that there really isn't a true villain. Mr. Banks, as well as the children have to grow and learn. Somehow, having Miss Andrews take the rap for ruining Mr. Banks and potentially Jane and Michael seems too neat and simple. It feels like a cheap out.

    Above and beyond it all, I'm kind of relieved that, like it or not, it appears to be an intelligent reworking and not a mindless rehash. I guess time will tell how audiences receive it here and how Disney fans will respond. I need to get to London....and put an end to this intrigue.
     
  5. disneymagic

    disneymagic Member

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    Hi Ghost Host,

    I agree totally with you that "beauty and the beast" is a little too directly drawn from the movie, allbeit my favourite musical. I think they realised they had a broadway show on screen and to be honest I think any alterations may have marred its success. I love "the lion king", the first time i cried, a great piece of modern artistic theatre on stage, yet have always been let down by the book and the pantomimic acting which I have seen in both Britain and America, which seems to be a book related problem. Anyone else notice this?

    I like the fact that Mary Poppins stays carefully placed between the book and the film. The problem with a lot of the original songs is they really wouldn't have fit into the plot at all. Cherry Tree Lane, did take some getting used to, but is serves much better as a recurring theme. It sums up the family and the new characters far better during the opening of the show than The Life I Lead and Sister Suffragette could.

    I Love To Laugh (a scene in the book and the film), was going to be in the show. They tried to accommodate this segment in many places but it didn't work. Apparently Cameron Mackintosh was more keen to keep Uncle Albert in the show than Disney. I was a little concerned at first that both this and Stay Awake were not in the musical, but I really did not miss them.

    Laura Michellle Kelly was an interesting choice for Mary, I doubted her before i saw the show, as she is still only young and I remember her recently playing the teenage roles Sophie in Mamma Mia and Swallow in Whistle Down The Wind. But her maturity in musical theatre really shows through as she represents a more mysterious Mary than Julie.

    The added numbers may not be instantly memorable but the key to a good song is how it grows on you, don't you think. The first time I saw the show, the only new melody I could remember fully was cherry tree lane and after several times seeing the show, practically perfect and anything can happen started to grow on me more. I now they are equal favourites of mine with some of the Sherman Bros classics.

    I can perfectly understand all your concerns as I had many similar before seeing the show. I really just feel so passionate about this show now, it really is a magical combination of elements from the film and book and is a great piece of both American and British musical theatre.

    Sorry to express my views so.

    David
     
  6. Goin2Disneyland

    Goin2Disneyland New Member

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    Please don't apologize for expressing an opinion in such a well-thought out and civil manner! :) It's interesting to hear the perspective of someone who has seen the show.

    I got the CD from Amazon, and I will say up front that Mary Poppins is my favorite film, period. I adore that movie. That said, I was thrilled about the stage production, being an actor and living in New York. Unfortunately, the new cast album thrills me very little but concerns me a lot.

    Now I haven't seen the show, but on disc it all comes off as bizarre and/or boring. The re-arrangements of the classic songs range from improvement (Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious) to detriment (Feed the Birds, Step in Time) and the new songs are completely forgettable, with the exception of Anything Can Happen. The lyrics in many of the songs are trite to my taste, and the style contrasts greatly to the Sherman Bros. songs, which appear to be shoehorned into a musical that doesn't really need them.

    I think the new show relies much to heavily on the books, and whether it works or not, I fear it will prove to be a liability when it opens in New York in fall 2006. American audiences will expect something more faithful to the film, as the books are not nearly as well-known here as they are in the UK.

    I might change my mind if I see the show (I wish I could just go to London), but I am largely displeased with the CD. The cast sounds lovely, but I just can't grab onto it.
     
  7. disneymagic

    disneymagic Member

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    Hey! :)

    I agree that American audiences will probably want something more faithful to the film, I would have said the same for the British as the books are by no means that popular nowadays. Yet I do think it is fair that the musical takes many book elements into consideration as the film really did differ.

    I disagree however that the new lyrics are trite, I think they add more depth to the show. "Step In Time" now makes more sense in the placelemt of the show with the additional lyrics (the orchestration, with celtic flute also plays perfectly with the choreography). Jolly Holiday explains itself well in its new context. Feed The Birds is better represented on stage, however I do love the chorus segment of the song on CD.

    I would say that I was most disappointed with Let's Go Fly a Kite to begin with, as the feeling of the original had been lost, but it's not too dramtic, especially during the chorus abd the second verse.

    Practically Perefct I think is a perfect hommage to the Sherman Bros songs and audiences, the majority of which don't know there have been two teams of composers, aren't aware of two diferent styles. I do think that Stiles and Drewe's music is slighlty more complex, but not too much. Their harmonies and progressions are definately more suited to teh stage, which is great here. The Sherman's hollywood style works well on both I feel.

    The show does have a very British feel, but I do think that is natural because of the origin of the book and the involvement of Cameron Mackintosh. Hollywood on stage doesn't work for me and Mary Poppins the film is a perfect piece of hollywood artistry, def one of my fave films, but a direct transition I wouldn't think is viable.

    There is as much theatrical magic on stage as there is hollywood magic on screen but it happens in different segments. It is clear that Disney have had a major input into the show, I almost cried whilst watching it, some of the shows visuals blow you away. Especially in "Shooting Star" when Mary flies during the instrumental of "Fly a Kite"

    The show will appeal more to Brits and other Europeans, it does have a more gritty edge to it like British shows, not too much and there is definately some Broadway sofistication in there too.

    It has proved a big success amongst musical theatre lovers who aren't necessarliy fans of Mary Poppins or Disney, yet has still managed to please the Disney fanatics over here too.

    I hope you will be surprised, I personally think it is a masterpiece and hopefully PL Travers would have been pleasantly surprised by the changes made as the movie Poppins did not meet her nanny's standards.

    David
     
  8. chris

    chris Member

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    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on the new stage show. It sounds fascinating! Since Mary Poppins is my favorite film of all time as well, I'm anxious to experience the show. I'll probably have to wait until it makes it to Broadway though. From your descriptions the show does sound wonderful, but I too have my concerns that American audiences will want and expect something more faithful to the film itself. I do hope it is a great hit when it opens in New York.

    David, your description of Mary flying during "Let's Go Fly a Kite" instrumental makes me want to cry just hearing about it! I love that song so much. It's one of my very favorites from the entire score.

    I read that when she flies in for the first time, the cherry blossoms blow through the auditorium. Is that true? I can't wait to see this show and hear the cast album.

    No movie experience will ever match seeing Mary Poppins for the first time at the theater in 1973 when I was seven years old. I've been in love with it ever since.

    Here is my color pencil artwork that I did of my favorite heroine:

    [​IMG]

    Chris
     
  9. disneymagic

    disneymagic Member

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    Re:Mary Poppins UK: Spoilers

    Hi Chris,

    Can I first say how talened you are! That picture is outstanding, it is beautiful and the sort of thing I would buy if I saw it in stores in the Parks!

    Caution I have included some spoilers below:

    -There has been some confusion as to what falls in the auditorium and still I am now sure. At the end of Cherry Tree Lane, Mary Poppins appears on stage, she rises through a trap door. This is done well, as no-one notices her until she speaks, as she appears from behind the Banks family as their (and the audience's) eyes are drawn to the skies as many pieces of small white paper drop from above onto the audience. I am still not sure whether this is cherry blossum or the torn-up letter from Jane and Michael, even staff at the Prince Edward aren't certain. If anyone here knows I would be interested!

    -Mary Poppins flies up diagonally on stage at the end of Act One as she says "goodbye Bert, keep an eye on them for me".

    -She then flies down at the End of "Let's Go Fly a Kite" in Act Two as she returns to the Bank's household. Michael loses control of his Kite yet Mary returns down to earth with it in hand.

    -The End of Brimstone and Treacle "Part 2" sees Mary Poppins sliding up the banister.

    -The end of the show after they have spotted the shooting star features Mary Poppins (cue the instrumental of Let's Go Fly a Kite) flying up accross the front ouf the stage, then under the proscenium over the audience, gradually rising up slowly until she is dissapears through an opening in the ceiling. I have shivers thinking about it now.

    -Anything Can Happen is a trully magical moment too, filled with gorgeous costumes and lighting. All the main characters from the show ensemble on stage surrounded by sparkling lamp-lighters, it's a great hommage to Broadway finales, and it's not even the end of the show!

    What you have to do is think about the show being a completely new entity, yet it is still Mary Poppins and Disney. Broadway will hopefully enjoy this show soon, audiences will have to just anticipate a completely new show, because it is and its extremely fresh. The Sherman's songs seem as if they were written yesterday along with the new songs.

    Anyway hope this info helps and if you have any more questions do not hesitate to ask.

    Have a magical day,

    David
     
  10. Ghost Host

    Ghost Host Member

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    I'm having trouble picturing anything other than an actor on a wire. Did you feel like the effects transcended that or is that basically what we're talking about?
     
  11. FRAN?OIS

    FRAN?OIS Member

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    The MAGIC of the theater, Gost Host!

    "It's Only A Paper Moon!"..... but, if you believe and with your imagination......

    Thank you David for all your insights on the London production!

    I haven't seen the show but I can't get tired of the cd!
    I was so moved when i first heard it; it's a labor of love, yep!
    William Brohn, having only some 14 musicians, has done, imho, wonders with the orchestrations! They have a welcome British music hall feel to them!

    And, yes, and David you're right, this is the STAGE Mary Poppins, and we should not expect the film on stage! Too bad for our American friends ;)
    It's a new work! After all, the original stories are not American, nor is Julie Andrews, by the way!

    The new songs? To me, they are a tribute to the Sherman Brothers' talents! "Pratically Perfect" is top notch -- it's Poppins' song about herself, but the children take part in it; it's a scene, more than just a song!
    Miss Kelly has a very distinctive and beautiful voice; don't expect Julie, but Miss Kelly also IS Poppins to this pup!! :)

    Now..... the new songs are not memorable?????
    Someone's got to be kidding!
    Listen again!!!
    Anything Can Happen is terrific; it's pure Disney/Sherman quality and so moving and nonsensical at the same time!

    I can't wait to see the show!
    This is not Broadway, but London does know how to put on great musical shows... too! (Chitty Chitty, another example!).

    Long live Mary; on screens and on stage!

    -- and remember... I haven't seen the show yet, but the cd is wonderful!

    (Oh... and the spelling of SUPERCALI.... sung in counter-point to the original melody, so clever!)
     
  12. Scott

    Scott Member

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    I guess I had said it on another board, not here--but I absolutely *love* the new lyrics and arrangement of Supercali.... Definitely a risk in messing with a classic...but an absolute home run with that song.
     
  13. chris

    chris Member

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    Thanks for your descriptions of the show and it's effects, David. It sounds really great!

    I'm glad you like the drawing of Julie. Saying that it's something you would buy in one of the Parks is the nicest compliment you could give me. Thank you! :)

    Talking about the actors flying on wires reminds me of the traveling Disney show from the 70's called "Disney On Parade". I saw it when it came to my city and it was wonderful. The entire finale was Mary Poppins, and she would fly on wires all around the auditorium suspended from tracks on the ceiling. It was such a magical effect! Even though you could see the wires at some points, it did not take away from the thrill of it. Early in the show, the film screen at the top of the set design showed a film of the London skyline and Mary Poppins slowly coming forward as the Orchestra played the overture. When the film image of her reached the edge of the screen, the live actress flew out from behind as if she were emerging from the film itself. Then she circled the auditorium in flight as the music continued. It was fantastic. For "Let's Go Fly a Kite" there were huge colorful kites flying suspended on the tracks with live actresses positioned on the kites themselves. It was really beautiful.

    I'm so glad that Mary Poppins is taking flight again! ;D
     
  14. disneymagic

    disneymagic Member

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    Hi Guys!

    Fran?ois you are quite with your observations concerning the orchestrations! Small-ish orchestra but not too bad, he has worked wonders though. Similar with what he managed with Wicked but Mary is not synthesised at all! I agree that Chitty is a marvellous show but has become rather defalted as of late which is a shame. Mary is all together in a different league, you will love it! It's Disney sophistication.

    Chris, I seriously think you are a fabulous illustrator. Is that your profession?

    Have a great day!!!

    David
     
  15. chris

    chris Member

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    Thanks, David. Yes, illustrating is part of my profession.

    Here is more Mary Poppins art that I painted for holiday decorations outside my house. This was so much fun.

    [​IMG]

    Have a great day!

    Chris
     
  16. Dirk

    Dirk Member

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    WOW - that looks marvelous! If I would have walked past your house with the decorations up I might have asked where you bought them!

    GREAT!!

    :)
     
  17. disneymagic

    disneymagic Member

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    I totally agree! :D
    How utterly wonderful your work is!!
    David
     
  18. CPNHOOK15

    CPNHOOK15 Member

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    :D

    WOW Chris!

    Fantastic work. I tip my hat to you sir.

    Tim C
     

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