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Mary Poppins

Cover to OLC Recording

A musical in 2 Acts. Based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney film of the same name. Co-created by Cameron Mackintosh.

Original music & lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert R. Sherman. Book by Julien Fellowes. New songs and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drew.

Prince Edward Theatre, London - 15 December, 2004
New Amsterdam Theatre, Broadway - 14th October, 2006


Act I

The show opens with Bert, a man of many professions, introducing the audience to Cherry Tree Lane. Number 17 is where the Banks family lives: George and Winifred Banks, their two children Jane and Michael, their cook, Mrs Brill and their odd-job man, Robertson Ay. Things are not going well, for Jane and Michael are out of control and as the show starts, their latest nanny, Katie Nanna, storms out. The children decide to write the advertisement for a new nanny, but George Banks has a very different idea of what constitutes the perfect nanny and he tears up the piece of paper and throws it in the fireplace. Within moments Mary Poppins arrives and takes charge of the Banks children, having every confidence in her own qualifications and merits.

On the children's first outing to the park, they meet Bert and, despite their reservations about his ragged clothes and dirty face, Mary teaches them that they must learn to look past appearances. To illustrate the point, Mary brings the park statues, including a mythological figure named Neleus, to life.

While Mary manages the children, other problems lie with their parents. Winifred Banks is aware that she is somehow disappointing both her children and her husband. George Banks, on the other hand, can't understand why she finds the role of wife and mother so difficult. In an effort to please her husband, Winifred sends out invitations for a smart tea party. The children inadvertently sabotage the kitchen preparations, but Mary Poppins sorts it out with a lesson. However, it is then revealed that none of the invitees are coming.

Mary takes the children to visit their father at the bank where he works. There George is busy dealing with possible investment clients: first an ambitious man named Von Hussler who has an elaborate money-making scheme, and then a middle-class man named Northbrook who has a simple factory project. George is furious when Mary turns up with the children, but an innocent question asked by Jane makes him realise how much his values have changed since he was an idealistic young man. He then decides to accept Northbrook's project, and rejects Von Hussler's.

Outside St. Paul's Cathedral, Mary introduces the children to the Bird Woman. Jane is suspicious of her, but Michael responds to the Bird Woman and throws crumbs for the birds. On the trip home, the children meet the enigmatic Mrs. Corry who runs a magic sweet shop that also sells words.

The children return home in high spirits, unaware that things have gone wrong for their father. Unknown to them, George's decision to reject Von Hussler has cost the bank dearly, and he is suspended without pay. George explodes with rage at the children and they are sent to the nursery.

Reacting to her father's outburst, Jane flies into a fury, ignoring Mary Poppins' words of warning about controlling her temper. The frightening consequence of her anger becomes apparent as Jane and Michael's toys take on a life of their own and teach the naughty children a lesson.

Realising that Jane and Michael still have a lot to learn, Mary decides to leave Cherry Tree Lane to bring them to their senses. Her distraught charges find a note bidding them 'au revoir' ("goodbye", "see ya" in French), which they learn from Mrs. Brill, means that perhaps they will see Mary Poppins again.

Act II

Unfortunately, in a misguided attempt to please her husband, Mrs Banks arranges for his childhood nanny, Miss Andrew, to take over from the suddenly departed Mary. At the very sight of her, Mr. Banks flees, terrified. To everyone's shock and dismay, Miss Andrew is a brutal and cruel tyrant, rejecting any notion of a 'spoonful of sugar' in favour of her own terrible elixir.

Terrified of their new nanny, the children escape to the park and find their good friend Bert, who cheers them up and helps Michael fulfil his dream of flying a kite. This marks the return of Mary Poppins. Jane and Michael are thrilled to be reunited with her, and quickly tell her of the changes that have gone on at Number 17.

Also hiding in the park is George, who is depressed over his supposed lack of achievements. Searching for him is Winifred, who at last understands her husband and the damage that was done to him by Miss Andrew.

When the children return to Number 17, Mary sets Caruso, Miss Andrew's lark, free from his cage. This leads to confrontation between the two nannies. Winifred and then George return at this point, surprised but pleased that Miss Andrew has left.

On their next adventure, Bert introduces the children to his friends the chimney sweeps. The sweeps' dance eventually enters the house, causing chaos. As the sweeps quickly exit, George receives a telegram from the bank requesting his presence there. George assumes that it is to seal his fate, and decides its time to sell the family heirloom. When the vase is shattered by accident, it reveals a collection of gingerbread stars from George's childhood. This leads to a brief moment of reflection for George. After shaking hands with Bert, George leaves to meet the Chairman of the Bank.

At the children's encouragement, Winifred decides to follow her heart and be at George's side at the bank. Unseen to anyone else, Mary takes Jane and Michael to follow, where they watch the unfolding events.

At the bank, George is shocked to learn the truth about his choice: far from ruining the bank, he has made a fortune. They ask for the word that made them so successful, which George admits it to be Mary Poppins' word, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Winifred, arriving to defend her husband, finds instead he is the hero of the hour. George apologises for underestimating her, and together they return to the house.

Mary realises that with the family reunited and happy, her task is done. With regret she says goodbye to Bert with a kiss,and sets off. Jane and Michael accept that Mary has left again, knowing that they no longer need her. The two children watch as their parents waltz happily together and Mary flies high above the audience, disappearing in a flash.

Muical Numbers

  1. Prologue / Chim Chim Cher-ee - Bert
  2. Cherry Tree Lane Part 1 - George & Winifred Banks, Jane and Michael, Mrs Brill and Robertson Ay
  3. The Perfect Nanny - Jane and Michael
  4. Cherry Tree Lane Part II - George & Winifred Banks, Jane and Michael, Mrs Brill and Robertson Ay
  5. Practically Perfect - Mary Poppins, Jane and Michael
  6. Jolly Holiday - Bert, Mary Poppins, Jane, Michael, Neleus and the Statues
  7. Cherry Tree Lane (Reprise)
  8. Being Mrs Banks
  9. Jolly Holiday (Reprise) - George, Winifred, Jane and Michael
  10. A Spoonful of Sugar - Mary Poppins, Jane, Michael, Robertson Ay and Winifred
  11. Feed the Birds - Bird Woman and Mary Poppins
  12. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - Mary Poppins, Mrs Corry, Bert, Jane, Michael and Customers
  13. Temper, Temper - Valentine, William, Mr Punch, the Doll & other toys
  14. Chim Chim Cher-ee (Rooftop Duet) - Bert & Mary Poppins
  15. Entr'acte: Run Away
  16. Brimstone and Treacle (Part 1) - Mrs Andrews and Michael
  17. Step In Time - Bert, Mary Poppins, Jane, Michael, & the Sweeps
  18. A Man Has Dreams
  19. A Spoonful of Sugar (Reprise) - George, Bert
  20. Anything Can Happen - Mary Poppins, Jane, Michael, Bert, Mrs Corry & entire company
  21. A Spoonful of Sugar (Reprise)
  22. A Shooting Star - Mary Poppins, George, Winifred, Jane, Michael