A generation’s favorite housekeeping nanny is back in the news. Producers Thomas Schumacker and Camaeron Mckintosh announced today that the Broadway stage version of the very popular “Mary Poppins” will go on tour around the world.
Already a successful Broadway production, the play is currently in its second year on the Great White Way. The stage version of the Julie Andrews/Dick Van Dyke film has been so successful that in less than two years it’s recouped its investment. With that news the producers felt it was ready to share this wonderful stage musical with the rest of the world and have embarked on a grand tour schedule that will take “Mary Poppins” throughout North America. And, beginning in June 2008, througout England (already in London for the last 2 years) and Australia (2009). Negotiations are currently underway to also bring the play to other parts of Europe and other countries as well.
“All at once, we have a lot of `Poppins,”‘ said Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical Productions.
This tour will be quite an undertaking since the huge cast and crew, special stage effects, period costumes and lavish sets are very expensive and must be included because they are at the heart of the production.
“We’ve rebuilt the house,” Mackintosh said. “It works in a very different way. It still opens up to be more or less what you’ve seen (on Broadway), but how it does that is different.”
The North American tour will originate at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago, premiering there on March 25, 2009.
Productions have also been licensed for Stockholm, Sweden (October 2008), Copenhagen, Denmark (January 2009), and Budapest, Hungary (September 2009) – with more to come, including China and South Africa.
“The show is perhaps perceived by people who go to it very differently than the way the media talk about it, which is as `the Disney children’s show,”‘ the producer said. “When you think about it, `Mary Poppins’ is the only classic musical playing on Broadway now. It’s lush. It’s big. It has fantastic songs. It’s a story you are familiar with but perhaps haven’t seen told this way. That’s the pocket of people it hits.”
Because an entire generation was raised on Disney’s “Mary Poppins,” many still able to recite the lyrics to every song in the production, the audience for the staged musical has been full of adults who are introducing their own children to the world’s favorite nanny.
“If you’re 12 years old, you’re not that interested in `Mary Poppins,’ stated Mackintosh. “But if you are in that 35 to 40 to 60 range, the classic Broadway musical audience, it’s absolutely up your alley.”