Based on the original children’s stories by PL Travers and the Disney film about a magical nanny who revolutionises the lives of the Banks children, the musical has a book by Julian Fellowes and new music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, in addition to many of the Sherman brothers’ original film songs.
Following an out-of-town try-out in Bristol, the stage adaptation of Mary Poppins opened on 15 December 2004 (previews from 6 December) at the 1,600-seat Prince Edward, where it’s recently marked its 1,000th performance with a cast currently led by Scarlett Strallen as Mary and American Gavin Creel as cockney chimneysweep Bert.
Mary Poppins is co-directed by Richard Eyre and Matthew Bourne, choreographed by Bourne and Stephen Mear, and designed by Bob Crowley. The musical was revised for its Broadway production, which opened in November 2006 and was nominated earlier this month for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for original West End Bert, Gavin Lee (See News, 15 May 2007).
No official announcement has yet been made about Jersey Boys, which premiered at Broadway’s August Wilson Theater in November 2005 and won last year’s Tony Award for Best Musical. It tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the blue collar kids from New Jersey who formed a singing group and became famous. The musical – directed by Des McAnuff with a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice – features many of the group’s pop hits from the Sixties such as "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Oh What a Night" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You".
- by Terri Paddock