I couldn’t disagree with you more about the Mary Poppins musical production. I saw this in April and left the theatre profoundly disappointed.
The *film* is about a man so absorbed by his career that he has no time or interest in his wife or children. The wife therefore leaves home and kids whenever she can in order to be with her socialite political activist friends and the kids run away from their nannies whenever they can. It isn’t until George Banks loses his job that he comes to his senses and begins valuing things properly and the whole family comes together...and it was Mary Poppins that triggered the change.
The *musical* is about a man so stressed by his job that it isn’t until he gets a promotion when he feels free to pay attention to his marriage and family. Having never heard “supercalifragalisticexpialadocious” before he suddenly and inexplicably blurts it in the silliest fashion possible to his boss…and to no effect.
The thesis of the *film* is magic itself: “With tuppence for paper and string you can have your own set of wings; with your feet on the ground you’re a bird in flight with your fist holding tight to the strong of a kite.”
The thesis of the *musical* is inane: “Anything can happen if you let it; doesn’t matter how fantastic, dreams are made of strong elastic.”
How many millions of times does that dumb nursery set go up and down without advancing the story one bit? I’m sorry to say it, but it is basically a Le Miserable–esque version of Mary Poppins. She herself transforms nothing and no one; she’s just special…and a bit stuffy at that.
The only thing making the production worthwhile is watching her fly out of the theatre over the heads of the audience…but it was a charmless 2 hours awaiting that moment at the end.
I REALLY wanted this to be a great production, and with about 5 VERY simply plot/script changes this could have been a long-term smash hit that earned its longevity. Instead it will play for a time only because it’s a highly-produced family stage show and it will remind people of the MUCH better film.
The only theatre in New York that could accomidate the incredibly tall set is the same theatre that currently houses The Phantom of the Opera. In spite of the fact that the show is in a rapid decline, Andrew Lloyd Weber refuses to close Phantom down. If it eventually stops turning a profit then he may reconsider, however.
And a side note. The "Special Effects Wizards" referenced throughout this wonderful column actually refers to one man who designed and executed the creation of these effects. That man is Jim Steinmeyer, a professional magician turned special effects artist. For more on Jim or to see what else he has worked on visit www.jimsteinmeyer.com.
I actually saw Mary Poppins a little less than two weeks ago. I thought they did a fantastic job. They took a smart route, not making it too much like the book or like the movie, so that people wouldn't compare them. The guy who played Bert was amazing, and Mary Poppins was really good too (even though we had an understudy). We had nosebleed seats and we could still appreciate the whole thing. If anyone goes to London, I would definetly recommend seeing it.
Did you hear about the three blondes who were driving to Disneyland?
After being in the car for hours, they saw a sign that said "Disneyland left" so they turned around and went home.
Phantom is not selling like it used to. The movie has done some good to keep sits filled, and it is still successful in that most people see it as synonymous with Broadway and theatre, but it is not doing the numbers it once was or the numbers that Mary Poppins could do.
I adore Phantom and pray it doesn't close prior to my December New York trip because I haven't seen it yet. This is not a Weber-Hater opinion at all.
There is also a chance that the show will come to another city, say LA. There are theatres in LA that could accommodate the incredibly tall set , the Pantages for example. I'd love to see it come stateside soon. Fingers crossed.
I understand the need to keep the effect at the end of Mary Poppins a secret in deference with those blessed financially and geographically who might see it. But how about letting those poor broke sods on the wrong continent in on the secret?
I saw the show in April. I loved it. I really enjoyed the mix of new and classic songs and thought the production was very well put together. I can't claim to be a technical theater critic, although I have seen quite a few shows. I thought this was the most seriously produced of the 5 Disney has done (Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Hunchback - in Berlin, Aida and this one). This show actually had enough material to be a 2 act show, and even though they added new songs, it still felt like the original story in spirit.
If you are a Disney fan, you'll enjoy it.
I do hope that the "London attractions" he hinted at include the London Dungeon (Or as I like to call it, "Disneyland for Goths")
Hello, all, Alain Littaye, here. Yes, "morrigoon" one of the two attractions i will talk about in my next article will be the great and gothic "london dungeon"!
Also, i forgot to mention for those of you who will go to london and see the mary poppins show that the best seats are in the "J", "K", "L", "M" AND "N" rows in the "stalls". The best of the best is the "L" row, but most of the seats in this one are "house seats" they keep for VIP.
I saw this in July, it was fantastic, I loved it! If you would like to purchase some of the souvenirs for yourself even if you never get to London you can buy a selection of them at marypoppinsthemusical.com. (You can get the parrot head umbrella for less than they have been selling on ebay even with the shipping from London.) We bought the souvenir program, cd soundtrack with the new songs, a t-shirt and a key chain to use as a christmas tree ornament. You also have to buy the normal program (which should come with your ticket in my opinion) for 3 pounds if you want to know the names of the cast and crew. I called the theater in London before we left the US to ask which seats they suggested. I'm glad that we did. I think it cost $12 for the call though. If you would like another review that reveals the surprise ending go to www.curtainup.com and look up the Mary Poppins review. It does a fantastic job of describing all the sets. It doesn't have as many pictures as Alain's does though.