London’s Daily Mail reports that the joint venture between Cameron Mackintosh and Disney Theatricals will feature direction by Sir Richard Eyre, a book by Academy Award winner Julian Fellowes (“Gosford Park”) and additional tunes (supplementing the original film score by Robert and Richard Sherman) by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Stiles and Drewe are the British songwriting team who composed the score for the Olivier Award-winning musical Honk!.
The London paper also reports that rehearsals may begin in January 2004 for a West End debut. A New York production is also likely. A spokesperson for Disney Theatrical was unable to confirm details of the production at this time.
“Mary Poppins” will mark the first pairing of two theatre giants, Disney Theatricals, represented on Broadway with the long-running hits The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Aida; and Cameron Mackintosh, who has produced the three longest-running shows in Broadway history, Cats, Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera. It's a necessary arrangement, too, as Disney holds the rights to the film's classic songs, while Mackintosh has the rights to the original book penned by P. L. Travers.
Sir Richard Eyre, who received a 2002 Tony Award nomination for Best Director for his work on the Broadway revival of The Crucible, is currently represented on The Great White Way with the British import Vincent in Brixton. Some of his numerous other directorial credits include Amy’s View, The Judas Kiss, Stanley, Skylight, Racing Demon, Indiscretions, Arcadia, An Inspector Calls, Carousel, The Grapes of Wrath, The Secret Rapture and Ghetto.
The beloved 1964 Disney film "Mary Poppins" starred Julie Andrews in the title role opposite the Bert of Dick Van Dyke. Directed by Robert Stevenson, the movie boasted a score by the Sherman brothers (Richard and Robert) and featured such tunes as "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Jolly Holiday," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," "Feed the Birds," "Chim Chim Cher-ee" and "Let's Go Fly a Kite." Nominated for an Academy Award as Best Picture, the film garnered Oscars for Julie Andrews as well as those for Best Special Visual Effects; Best Film Editing; Best Score; and Best Song ("Chim Chim Cher-ee").