Mary Poppins the Musical is in Houston and this weekend, Alex and I got to see it.
As a geek for all things Disney I have been hearing rumblings about this production for years and have been dying to see it. I wasn't going to go into the whole back story of things, but I did a search on Wikipedia and this part of the story wasn't there so I think I should share.
The idea for a Mary Poppins play started with the hairs to the P.L. Travers estate wanting to make more money off the story. They used their rights to the books to produce a stage production. It didn't go over well. They opened in a small theater in England and the play was a huge failure. Why? Because it was nothing like the movie and had non of the original songs. They where forced to swallow their pride, and like A.A. Milne's hairs have done before them, sell their souls to Disney. It was the Sherman Brothers songs that audiences loved and the Disney touch to the characters that turned these quirky (and very British) adventures into childhood classics that Americans could swallow. Anyway, with Disney on board the Musical was a smash hit blah, blah, blah... seven Tony awards... blah, blah ... Happily Ever After... blah.
Now the important part. What did I think of the production? I loved it. I wouldn't call it the best Musical I have ever seen in the history of the universe, but it was nicely done. A great blend of book and movie. I have to confess that my favorite part was the set. I know the actors and orchestra would probably die to hear that, but I really did love the sets the best. It wasn't the best acted thing on earth and while I appreciate the way they made some of the more random songs like Spoonful of Sugar, fit the story better than it did before, I loved the way that everything about the stage made you feel like you were watching illustrations in a book.
Alex loved it as well. It was "spectacular" to use her word. How could it not be? Flying people, people walking on the ceilings, children running amok and nannies being tyrannical what more could a kid ask for? Also, I will say that the finale was pure Disney magic. Mary Poppins flew over the audience, and since we were in the nose bleed section, we were right next to where she landed. We watched her run out, back to the stage for the curtain call. Fun!
On a side note, I heard people there rumbling about how it "wasn't like the movie" and "what did they do to the characters?" I really wish people would take the time to educate themselves about what they are seeing. Even if they didn't know the whole thing about the Traver's hairs, they should have the sense to know that Poppins was first a book. (Wasn't everything?) And really... what is the point of seeing the movie just acted out on the stage? If you are going to bring an old story into a new medium it should be because you are offering a unique perspective on things.
Anyway, we had a great time. I really do wish that theater tickets weren't so expensive. I know that public health care is high on the list of things to do right now, but I think next Congress should tackle rising theater costs.