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Review: 'Mary Poppins: the Supercalifragilistic Musical'

The 2010 Original Live Cast Recording

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Review: 'Mary Poppins: the Supercalifragilistic Musical'

Mary Poppins Live Cast Recording by Disney in Melbourne, Australia

Walt Disney Records
Disney musicals can be seen on almost every continent and they inspire children of all ages to sing and dance. From Disney and producer/director extraordinaire Cameron Mackintosh comes the new definitive recording of their stage adaptation of the beloved film, Mary Poppins. The original Broadway production was a Tony Award winner, winning for Best Scenic Design. This album, recorded before live, paying audiences in August 2012 in Melbourne, Australia, this new original live cast recording features the Australian Mary Poppins cast giving spoonfuls of sugar to audiences Down Under.

From Film to Stage to CD

The film turned stage production, Mary Poppins the Supercalifragilistic Musical, originally opened in London to wide acclaim. An original London cast recording was released in 2005. Then the show transferred to Broadway, which also spawned a cast recording.

In the liner notes, producers Cameron Mackintosh and Thomas Schumacher write:

"This recording also gives us the chance to present listeners with a permanent record of the show as it has evolved since the Original London Cast Recording from 2005. We have done so much wrk on he musical score since then, first on Broadway, then on the U.S. tour, and some final tweaks in rehearsal in Australia."

This recording features a new song, "Playing the Game," which replaced the darker "Temper, Temper," and is now performed in every production of Mary Poppins.

Based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the original film by Walt Disney Pictures, the latest stage version of Mary Poppins features a new book by Julian Fellowes and includes new songs by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, adding to the tunes written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert M. Sherman.

Review

While attitudes have changed toward women and women's roles in society and within the family, the story of Mary Poppins is still enjoyable, though 19th century sexism is more than evident. "Mary Poppins" herself is sharp-witted enough to battle the sexism from society and men while deflecting the brattiness of the privileged children in her charge, "Jane and Michael Banks."

Vocally, Verity Hunt-Ballard is more sharp and shrill in tone than the perfectly voiced Julie Andrews who immortalized the title role in the film. A fuller-voiced singer, Hunt-Ballard seems comfortable in her alto range while being more timid on the high notes. Matt Lee as "Bert" sounds too young for the role to be proclaiming love for "Mary."

Overall, the recording shows the stamina, pitch- and diction-perfect skills live theatre performers must have to do their job every day, eight shows per week. The occasional applause at the end of some numbers is a stark reminder that these performers were not doing take after take in a studio but performing live before a paying audience.

The supporting ensemble of singers and the orchestra exude the joy that can only be found in performing the big musicals of yesteryear. The cast clearly enjoys what they do, and the audiences' applause shows their appreciation of this spectacular musical.

If you have seen the production, this CD will allow you to remember the dynamic family-friendly stage show. If you have not seen the show, this CD will hold you over until you can book tickets at the nearest venue featuring the family-friendly musical Mary Poppins.

Act 1

  • 1. Act 1 Prologue/Chim Chim Cher-ee sung by Bert
  • 2. Cherry Tree Lane Part 1 sung by George and Winifred Banks, Jane and Michael, Mrs. Brill, and Robertson Ay
  • 3. The Perfect Nanny sung by Jane and Michael
  • 4. Cherry Tree Lane Part 2 sung by George and WinifredBanks, Jane and Michael, Mrs. Brill, and Robertson Ay
  • 5. Practically Perfect sung by Mary Poppins, Jane, and Michael
  • 6. Jolly Holiday sung by Bert, Mary Poppins, Jane and Michael, Neleus, and the Statues
  • 7. Let's Hope She Will Stay sung by George and Winifred Banks, Jane and Michael
  • 8. A Spoonful of Sugar sung by Mary Poppins, Jane, Michael, Robertson Ay, and Winifred Banks
  • 9. Precision and Order sung by The Chairman and the Bank Clerks
  • 10. Feed the Birds sung by Bird Woman and Mary Poppins
  • 11. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious sung by Mary Poppins, Mrs. Corry, Bert, Jane and Michael, Fannie, Annie, and Customer
  • 12. Playing the Game sung by Valentine, William, Mr. Punch, the Doll, and Other Toys
  • 13. Chim Chim Cher-ee (Reprise) sung by Bert and Mary Poppins

Act 2

  • 14. Act 2 Entr'acte: Run Away performed by The Orchestra
  • 15. Brimstone and Treacle, Part 1 sung by Miss Andrew
  • 16. Let's Go Fly a Kite sung by Bert, Park Keeper, Jane, and Michael
  • 17. Good for Nothing/Being Mrs. Banks (Reprise) sung by George and Winifred Banks
  • 18. Brimstone and Treacle, Part 2 sung by Mary Poppins and Miss Andrew
  • 19. Step in Time sung by Bert, Mary Poppins, Jane, Michael, and the Sweeps
  • 20. A Man has Dreams/A Spoonful of Sugar (Reprise) sung by George Banks and Bert
  • 21. Anything Can Happen sung by Jane, Michael, Mary Poppins, and the entire Company
  • 22. The Task is Done sung by Mary Poppins
  • 23. A Shooting Star sung by George and Winifred Banks, Jane and Michael, and The Orchestra
  • 24. Bows/Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (Reprise) sung by The Company

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