For those of you who really know me, you know that my very best favorite movie of ALL time is Mary Poppins. I started watching this when I was young and haven't stopped. There's something about the magic of the movie that captures me all the time. As children, my sister and I used to go to my grandmother's house a few times a week (Nonni Day) and we used to watch either Mary Poppins and/or The Sound of Music. As soon as Mary Poppins went on, we would dance around the coffee table to the overture and I'm pretty sure we could recite the movie word for word. I even convinced my husband one year to dress up with me for Halloween...
To this day, I still feel like a kid when I watch the movie (I own it, and yes, I'll watch it on TV even if there are commercials).
For Christmas, my husband bought me tickets to see Mary Poppins on Broadway. I had been wanting to see it for a while, and was so excited. We went on Saturday to see it (which was perfect timing, as my sister's 30th birthday was the next day and we were able to celebrate with her).
So what did I think of the play? I liked it but was extremely disappointed at the same time. Confused? Yes, so was I. I think that if I had not been so obsessed with the movie, I would have enjoyed the show more. There were a lot of difference between the show and the movie that I hadn't been expecting and I couldn't help but sit in my seat and make the comparisons.
In the movie, you have Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. OK, OK, I realize they can't be in the Broadway show. But I couldn't help compare those two main characters. The woman who played Mary Poppins undoubtedly had a great voice, but I was surprised at how cold she played the character. Bert was great, but while he is originally from England, his cockney accent was just a little TOO good (hahaha).
In the movie, you have Mrs. Brill and Ellen, the cook and housemaid, respectively. In the show you have Mrs. Brill and Robertson Aye, the cook and very awkward, weird, face making butler who seems to just take up space on the stage. I still don't understand his role.
In the movie, you have Jane and Michael, who are not bad children, but seem to give their nannies a run for their money. In the show, the children are portrayed as really bad and naughty children, who scream and yell and throw a lot of tantrums. I found it very surprising (although the kids did do a great job).
In the movie, you have a story line. You truly understand why they have the adventures they have and it all makes sense. In the show, I found myself confused as to why they were doing certain outings, why naked statues were coming to life and why Mrs. Corey was giving out "conversations."
There was no animated sequence, there was no laughing on the ceiling and there was blatant magic being performed on the stage (whereas in the movie, you know she's magic, but it seems a little more subtle - she doesn't actually raise her arms, wiggle her fingers and fly things around the room, does she?? I feel like the movie gives you that feeling - did that actually happen? Or was it their imagination?). Some of the songs are different and there are a number of songs that aren't in the movie at all.
However, with all of these differences, I enjoyed the show. It was entertaining and the singing and dancing was definitely great. The Step-In-Time sequence was definitely great.
When we got home, I did a little more research about the movie and the show. I learned that Pamela Travers (the author of the Mary Poppins series) really didn't like the movie, and when she was approached about the show, she put certain stipulations in place. Apparently she felt that the Walt Disney movie did no justice to her books, was overall disappointed with how they portrayed certain characters, hated the animated sequence, etc etc etc). If you have the 40th anniversary DVD, the second disc has a lot of footage and even some recordings of her meetings with the movie makers. It helped to put the play into perspective for me.
So....At the end of the day, I did enjoy the show. I really did (even though it may not sound that way). But it will never replace the magic of the movie, or how much I love it. :o)