In lieu of an opening-night party, the folks behind the new musical — including the producers, the company and the creative team — have decided to contribute a grand total of $200,000 to three organizations that help improve the lives of New York City children. The beneficiaries will include Rosie's Broadway Kids, Grand Street Settlement and Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.
Although there will not be a lavish opening-night bash, Mary Poppins cast and crew — as well as their family members — will celebrate their show's opening at a post-show private dinner party hosted by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh.
Rosie's Broadway Kids, created by Broadway champion and current "The View" host Rosie O'Donnell, is "an arts education organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children through the arts." Founded in 1916, Grand Street Settlement "has provided residents of the Lower East Side community with the tools and support they need to overcome challenging circumstances and build productive lives and futures." Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club — established in 1915 — promotes "juvenile development and [prevents] juvenile delinquency among the youth of New York City."
Mary Poppins — a co-production between Disney and Cameron Mackintosh — began previews at the New Amsterdam Theatre Oct. 14. Ashley Brown, recently seen on Broadway as Belle in Beauty and the Beast, stars as Mary Poppins, the role immortalized on screen by Academy Award winner Julie Andrews. Gavin Lee, who starred as Bert in the London production, re-creates his role opposite Brown.
Richard Eyre directs Mary Poppins, which is based on P.L. Travers' original stories and the 1964 Disney film. The musical features choreography and co-direction by Matthew Bourne and boasts original songs from the film — with music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman — as well as new songs and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Julian Fellowes wrote the book. For more information visit www.marypoppins.com.