Written by: Jake Kraus and Nic Nightingale
A hush rolls over the crowd as the house lights dim, the maestro stands poised at the ready to conduct the opening fanfare of Mary Poppins. The stage lights illuminate the fair features of the disgruntled Banks family as they await their unbeknownst savior.
Tonight, tomorrow and Sunday the Center Grove Theatre department will be performing “Mary Poppins,” a beloved story from our childhoods. However, the original musical differs from the Disney film so ingrained into our memories.
This is still Disney’s portrayal of the beloved book and musical, but how does Disney “Mary Poppins” compare to the original musical production?
“Well there’s no penguins,” senior Katie Swaney said. “I think the storyline is a little bit different, and I think some of the characteristics, for example Mrs. Banks, [is a] bit different. In the movie she’s a female rights activist, and she is not in the musical. I don’t think we see her stronger side come out until the end of the musical; whereas in the movie she’s strong throughout..”
Many of the character’s relationships with other characters have been changed drastically.
“I play the role of Bert, who is the narrator of the story,” Jeffery Robison said when he explained the relationship between Mary Poppins and Bert. “In the movie, it’s simplified more to where they’re friends, but in the musical it leaves a lot more up to interpretation. So what the majority of people suspect is that wherever Mary Poppins goes Bert is usually there before her, and that’s where she comes in and together they help fix things. Their relationship isn’t romantic; it’s more flirtatious.”
In addition to the relationship change, characters have also been added and deleted between the movie and the musical.
“I am Robertson Aye, who is the butler of the Banks family. He is not in the movie,” Taylor Ward said. “The Broadway version is based more off of the book series than it is off the movie; it has the same characters and songs from the movie with other things changed and added.”
Modifications to basic plots details have been made between the two productions, including setting.
“In the scene “Jolly Holiday,” instead of dancing penguins, it’s dancing statues,” Ward said.
There are other setting changes, especially for the song “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
“‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ doesn’t take place in a picture, or like in the movie when it takes place after ‘Jolly Holiday’ in that park setting after the race. But in the musical they go to a talking shop, and she buys fifteen letters and then makes that word from it,” Robison said.
The perspective of the musical takes a different angle than what the audience receives from the movie.
“The characters are more flushed out,” Swaney said. “You get more of the family side of it, rather than just Mary Poppins, the children, and Bert it has a lot more to do with how Mary Poppins comes to change the family.”
This show features over 45 students, including two middle school students.
Not only is the cast large, but so is the production. The show features over 10 huge sets. The largest being the Banks’ Home, “17 Cherry Tree Lane.” The house is over 14 feet tall and serves as 3 different sets throughout the show. All of the sets also feature magical effects that you will have to see to believe.
For those coming to the show who are familiar with the movie starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, you will get to hear all of your favorite songs such as “Feed the Birds,” “Step in Time,” “Spoonful of Sugar” and, of course, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Many other new songs written by the original composer Richard Sherman have also been added.
All seating is reserved and can be purchased on cgtheatre.org.
Friday, November 20th – 7:00pm
Saturday, November 21st – 7:00pm
Sunday, November 22nd – 2:30pm
Tickets are $10-$12