Mary Poppins musical FAQ: Your practically perfect guide to this spoonful of West End sugar!
Posted on 22 April 2020
Mary Poppins The Musical is just on a jolly holiday right now, but the popular musical will return to the London stage faster than you can say 'chim chim cher-ee'! In the meantime, here are your top 15 questions answered about the perfect nanny!
A preliminary outline of the Mary Poppins musical was written in 2002 after Cameron Mackintosh and Disney Theatrical's Thomas Schumacher opened up talks for a potential collaboration. Following the death of the original Mary Poppins author P. L. Travers in 1996 — who permitted a stage adaptation to be made only on the condition that all creatives would be English and that the team would not include anyone who had been a part of the 1964 film — the new stage musical was no longer held back from using the original film's songs.
Mary Poppins was first performed as a workshop version in London at the end of 2003 in a rehearsal room at The Old Vic. The cast of My Fair Lady took part in the workshop, after which the show was rehearsed for four weeks at Sadler's Wells before moving to Bristol for the show's world premiere and out-of-town tryout performance at the Hippodrome, which was held on 15 September 2004. Mary Poppins is the only Disney musical in history to have premiered in the United Kingdom.
Mary Poppins is set in the Edwardian era between 1901 and 1910. The musical hired Julian Fellowes to help with the show's script, as he had a very clear understanding of the English class system of that era and its social niceties.
The Mary Poppins musical running time for the London production is approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes including an interval.
Matinee performances of Mary Poppins in London begin at 2.30pm on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays and finish at approximately 5.30pm. Evening performances on Wednesdays begin at 7pm and finish at about 10pm whilst evening London performances of Mary Poppins on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday begin at 7.30pm and finish at about 10.30pm.
The Mary Poppins revival is currently playing in London's West End in its original home at the Prince Edward Theatre.
The London Mary Poppins song list includes the Act I songs "Chim Chim Cher-ee", "Cherry Tree Lane", "The Perfect Nanny", "Practically Perfect", "Chim Chim Cher-ee" (All Me Own Work), "Jolly Holiday", "Let's Hope She Will Stay", "Being Mrs Banks", "Chim Chim Cher-ee" (Winds Do Change), "A Spoonful of Sugar", "Precision and Order", "A Man Has Dreams", "Feed the Birds", "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", "Chim Chim Cher-ee" (Twists and Turns), "Temper, Temper", and "Playing the Game"; and the Act II songs "Brimstone and Treacle", "Let's Go Fly a Kite", "Good for Nothing", "Step in Time", "Anything Can Happen (Part 1)”, "A Shooting Star", and "Bows/Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (Reprise)".
The musical Mary Poppins features a book penned by Julian Fellowes; music written by George Stiles (Soho Cinders), Richard M. Sherman, (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book) and Robert B. Sherman (Charlotte's Web, The Happiest Millionaire); and lyrics by the Shermans and Anthony Drewe (The Parent Trap musical known as Identical).
The titular role of everyone's favourite nanny Mary Poppins is portrayed by Zizi Strallen, who reprises the role from the UK and Ireland tour.
Strallen has also starred in such major stage productions as Annie (Victoria Palace Theatre), Cats (Palladium), Chicago (Leicester Curve), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Palladium), Cinderella (Sadler's Wells), Dirty Dancing (Aldwych), Follies (National), Hairspray (Leicester Curve), Merrily We Roll Along (Harold Pinter), Rock of Ages (Shaftesbury), Scrooge (Piccadilly), Strictly Ballroom (Palladium), The Car Man (Sadler's Wells), The Herbal Bed (Royal Shakespeare Company), and The Music Man (Chichester Festival).
Her film credits include Disney's live-action remake of Cinderella and the live-action film adaptation of Cats.
The Mary Poppins West End cast stars Zizi Strallen as Mary Poppins, Charlie Stemp as Bert, Joseph Millson as George Banks, Amy Griffiths as Winifred Banks, Petula Clark as Bird Woman, Claire Moore as Miss Smythe / Miss Andrews, Claire Machin as Mrs Brill, Jack North as Robertson Ay, and Paul F. Monaghan as Admiral Boom / Bank Chairman. The role of Jane Banks is played by Adelaide Barham, Charlotte Breen, Ellie Kit Jones, Imogen Bourn and Nuala Peberdy; whilst the role of Michael Banks is portrayed by Edward Walton, Fred Wilcox, Gabriel Payne, Joseph Duffy, and Samuel Newby.
In the film, the 'cali' in 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' is pronounced as 'cal-eh' whilst in the West End musical it is pronounced as 'cal-ee'.
Ever since Harry Potter burst onto the scene, the question "Is Mary Poppins a witch" dominated headlines for years. After all, the nanny flew by umbrella that was not only reminiscent of a flying broomstick, but also of Hagrid's magic umbrella for a wand. Now with the recent release of It (2017) and its sequel It Chapter Two (2019) — both remakes of the original 1990 film based on the Stephen King horror novel — the question on everyone's mind has been: "Are Mary Poppins and Pennywise related?" However, all of this is simply nonsense as P. L. Travers never collaborated with Stephen King, let alone with J.K. Rowling, whose book Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone was published after Travers' death. Of course, it's always fun to imagine 'what if'.
Mary Poppins is recommended for a general audience, though children under the age of 5 will not be permitted to enter the theatre. The musical is best suited for ages 7 and up. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult or legal guardian and are not allowed to sit by themselves. Please be advised that you may be refused entry if you have separate seats from your children.
The best-priced seats in the Prince Edward Theatre that offer the best views for a large-scale musical production can be found in the middle of Rows D, E, F and H of the Dress Circle. Seats in the Stalls will allow for a more intimate theatrical experience but are generally more expensive. If you are looking for the best views and don't care about the price, you should try central seats in the first two rows of the Dress Circle.
Cheap tickets to see Mary Poppins can be purchased through London Theatre Direct's safe and secure booking system. Our intuitive Mary Poppins seating plan takes all the guesswork out for you thanks to its colour-coded price bands and information on restricted views, which means you are guaranteed to make the right decision when booking your Mary Poppins tickets. London's West End is once again a magical place to be thanks to this hit revival production, so be sure to get your spoonful of sugar today!