Hello & welcome back to A Look at Disney and we continue our Return To The Theater as we look at the stage adaption of Mary Poppins. As always, we will look at What’s The Same, What’s Different, New Music, and lastly, I’ll give my Final Thoughts. With that outta the way, let’s begin.
What’s The Same
The base story from the movie is kept the same but I should mention that this also bring in elements from the other books written by P.L. Travers. Mary Poppins shows up to Cherry Tree Lane to help the Banks and be a Nanny to Jane and Michael but helps brings all of The Banks closer together.
We’d be here all day if I tried to list all the differences between the movie and the stage version. However, I will cover a few notable ones. Jane and Michael are much more bratty in the stage production with the constant fighting, which lead to one of the most awesomely nightmare inducing moments, Temper Temper that was sadly cut after I saw the stage production.
A lot of the music has been tweaked and moved around such as A Spoonful of Sugar being moved to after Jane and Michael destroy the kitchen The penguins are replaced by statutes in Jolly Holiday
One of my favorite changes comes with what the show did with Feed The Birds as it is now a duet between Mary Poppins and Old Bird Lady
It is a hauntingly beautiful take on one of the greatest Disney songs of all time. Though, perhaps one of the biggest changes comes from an addition from the books as we are given an antagonist character.
Miss Andrew is presented as being the polar opposite to that of Mary Poppins as she believes in order and discipline and that children shouldn’t be heard and wants to send Michael off to boarding school. She’s brought in at the beginning of act two after Mary Poppins leaves to teach the children a lesson and I will say that I think this is perhaps one of the most unique changes as the movie was one where it didn’t need a villainous character as you had an interesting enough story with Mary Poppins bringing the Banks family closer together but I do like the idea of Miss Andrew as to showing what being too strict on a child can do. After all, one of the biggest plot points is the fact that she was Mr. Banks’ nanny and him being raised by her explains so much about who he became as an adult. Still, it is a unique idea and that is one element added that truly does set the stage production apart from the movie.
Strap in folks as this is going to be a long section.
Cherry Tree Lane Part 1
We start with the song, Cherry Tree Lane that introduces us to the characters that inhabit the household and we see how things work. And while on the surface, everything may seem perfect but as we will learn that’s not the case.
Cherry Tree Lane Part 2
I do apologize about using different cast recordings but this still gets the basic idea down . Not a bad little number but as you can see, this is mostly just a continuation of the first song.
This is a great little number for Mary Poppins and she is probably one of the few characters that can get away with showering this kinda praise on herself as it’s true. This song is great and you hear what kind of person, Mary Poppins will be in the show as it goes on. What’s interesting is that there was a song with this name written for the original movie but it morphed into becoming Sister Suffragette.
“Cherry Tree Lane (Reprise) / Being Mrs Banks / Jolly Holiday (Reprise)”
This medley provides with us two reprises and one of my favorite numbers in Being Mrs. Banks. The reprise of Cherry Tree Lane is a sweet little number but Being Mrs. Banks is my favorite part of this medley as I feel that it gives Winifred much more well rounded character. The reprise of Jolly Holiday is nice but I dunno, it doesn’t do as much for me as Being Mrs. Banks.
Precision and Order
This is a fun little number from when Mary Poppins takes the children to visit the bank that George works at. You can hear all dedicated the people that the bank are. It’s a nice little number that gives you a good idea of what you are in for.
As I mentioned, this song was taken out of the musical after I saw it in and in 2009 was replaced with a new song. Which in my opinion is a bit of a shame as this number was just so eerie and cool with the nightmare inducing in the best way with how Jane and Michael’s toys grew taller than them and put them on trial for their temper. This song may make another appearance come Halloween.
Playing The Game
This is the song that replaced Mary Poppins and yeah, I’m not feeling it. Admittedly, this is the first time that I’ve heard this song but I just think that Temper, Temper is the better song overall. This one leaves me with a whole lotta nothing.
Brimstone and Treacle Pt. 1
Here’s something I never thought, I would write about. A villain song in Mary Poppins. In many ways, this song is the anti-Spoonful of Sugar as we hear how Miss Andrew is not like Mary Poppins. She is a fear mongering monster and there is a reason that George runs and calls her the Holy Terror as soon as she sees her. This is an interesting idea as I said up top and for the most part, I do think that it works but I dunno, I still find this idea kinda strange.
Good For Nothing/Being Mrs. Banks (Reprise)
This was on my Top 6 Favorite Broadway Disney songs and with good reason as it really brings us into who George and Winifred are. As I said on that Top 6, I prefer Winifred’s portion of the song as you really get a good feeling of how much she cares for her husband. And will always be by his side.
Brimstone and Treacle Part 2
This is a neat little moment as you see the philosophies of Mary Poppins and Miss Andrew as you get to hear the two nannies battle in song with Mary Poppins winning as she places Miss Andrew in a giant cage to give her a taste of her own medicine. And Brimstone and Treacle being the anti Spoonful of Sugar is reinforced even further here as Mary Poppins reprises part of it to aid in taking down Miss Andrew.
A Man Has Dreams/A Spoonful of Sugar
This is another great little number and yeah, it’s a bit of a cheat as both of these songs were in the movie but putting them together is an interesting idea and I like how they were able to weave A Spoonful of Sugar into a scene with Mr. Banks and having Bert sing it in the scene, where they interact together was a great idea as I think it helps get the message across to Mr. Banks.
Anything Can Happen
Our last song and it is rather poignant as it shows how far The Banks and this is a great number to close on as it is just so cheerful and upbeat that it puts you in a good mood.
My Final Thoughts
I do like the stage production of Mary Poppins quite bit but I don’t think that one can truly compare it to the movie. Yes, it is based on the movie but it brings in other elements such as Miss Andrew that makes it more of it’s own thing and I am okay with that. I am happy that this version is allowed to co-exist alongside the movie as they are both wonderful and both worth seeking out. Join me tomorrow as we look at Disney Theatrical’s very first stage adaption as I look at…
Beauty and The Beast