One of the most popular Disney movies of all time is capturing hearts in a whole new way: as a practically perfect musical! Based on the books by P.L. Travers and the classic Walt Disney film, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s MARY POPPINS delighted Broadway audiences for over 2,500 performances and received nominations for nine Olivier and seven TONY Awards, including Best Musical.

The jack-of-all trades, Bert, introduces us to England in 1910 and the troubled Banks family. Young Jane and Michael have sent many a nanny packing before Mary Poppins arrives on their doorstep. Using a combination of magic and common sense, she must teach the family how to value each other again. Mary Poppins takes the children on many magical and memorable adventures, but Jane and Michael aren’t the only ones she has a profound effect upon. Even grown-ups can learn a lesson or two from the nanny who advises that “Anything can happen if you let it.”

MARY POPPINS is an enchanting mixture of irresistible story, unforgettable songs, breathtaking dance numbers, and astonishing stagecraft. This show is a perfect opportunity to showcase a strong, iconic female performer, as well as unique special effects and illusions.

COMING SOON! A DVD of the detailed choreography for the unforgettable Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious number.

Certain international territories subject to approval.

Watch Exclusive Video from Broadway and Beyond.

Continue Exploring MARY POPPINS With Our Video Collection Featuring Clips of the Show and In-depth Interviews with the Original Broadway Cast.

Order Your Free Perusal Copy of the Script Today!

For a limited time only, you can read a free perusal copy of the libretto for MARY POPPINS. Log in to your My MTI account and select the show from the dropdown menu (it will appear free of charge), or call your licensing agent to order an electronic version or hard copy today!

Offer valid through 11/20/2014.

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    BIG at the York Theatre starring Kerry Butler and John Tartaglia

    The laughs were long, hard and genuine guffaws after most jokes. The applause was strong and hard after all songs. The opening night crowd couldn’t contain its enthusiasm — and had no desire to.

    And the show was BIG.

    Eighteen years ago, BIG had the misfortune to open just as RENT was taking Broadway by storm, hurricane and tsunami. Critics, many of whom wanted to show how young and hip they were, gave RENT the raves and BIG faint praise. Only days later, BIG found itself enmeshed in notoriety when it failed to get a Tony nomination as Best Musical. The New York Daily News didn’t agree with the decision, and emblazoned its front page– not front page of the arts section, mind you, but the front page of the entire newspaper – with the headline “TONY BALONEY.”

    But now the musical version of the famous movie is being redeemed by the York Theatre Company, director Michael Unger, musical director Eric Svejcar and a most talented cast.

    John Tartaglia (of AVENUE Q fame) is pin-point perfect as the man-child that Josh Baskin becomes after he’s made a wish to Zoltar, a carnival machine that isn’t expected to really grant wishes but in this one case does. The suddenly big Josh doesn’t know where to go, so he heads to FAO Schwarz to play with toys. There he runs into Macmillan, the CEO of Macmillan Toys, who’s immediately so impressed with Josh’s extensive knowledge of action figures and games that he hires him on the spot.

    Macmillan, by the way, is now being played at the York by no less than Richard Maltby, Jr. – BIG’s lyricist. This casting wasn’t planned; Walter Charles was scheduled to do it, but became indisposed, so Maltby stepped in. Wow, wow, wow, fellas; look at the ol’ guy now, fellas! He’s doing a terrific job.

    Once at Macmillan, Big Josh also impresses Susan (excellently portrayed by HAIRSPRAY’s “Checkerboard Chick” Kerry Butler). Eventually, she falls in love with him, unaware, of course, that he’s a child. But we’re reminded of his youth in the scene and song where they’re about to make love for the first time — for out comes Young Josh (the extraordinary Hayden Wall) to sing what a 13-year-old boy would feel in this situation.

    So as in the film, Big Josh has a doting girlfriend, a great job, a company apartment and plenty of money. That spurred bookwriter John Weidman to wonder why the screenwriters had Josh constantly aching to become young again. Weidman apparently asked himself, “Why would a kid who’s been given all this ever want to return to the oppression of parents, teachers, chores and homework?”

    Thus Weidman wisely considered what Josh would do after work. Susan, of course, would want him to meet her friends – and when Josh does, he’s finally out of his league and knows it. He can’t abide caviar, isn’t able to open a champagne bottle, is hopeless at driving a car and fails to keep up in witty and urbane conversation. That’s enough to make a kid high-tail it home to the suburbs, school and even parents.

    Now if you only know the show from its original cast album – or from its original production – you don’t know the BIG that Weidman, Maltby and composer David Shire revamped since its non-Tony-winning run. The revised script with a bevy of new songs is in evidence at the York as well as in the materials that MTI offers.

    Taking a cue from Weidman’s acknowledgement that grown-ups have it better than kids (well, relatively speaking), Maltby and Shire wrote “Big Boys.” Here Josh’s best friend Billy (the hilarious Jeremy Todd Shinder) points out the assets of being adult: “No one yelling, ‘Young man, you are grounded!” he accurately observes.

    Susan has been fleshed out with no fewer than three new songs (of which Butler made the most): “My Secretary’s in Love” (“In two weeks, her nails are all she’s ever filed”), “Let’s Not Move Too Fast” (in which the lady doth protest too much about not spending the night with Josh) and “Little Susan Lawrence,” spurred by Josh’s giving her a toy ring – just as Buzz Babcock did in middle school.

    But all good flights of fancy must come to an end, so Josh and Susan experience a bittersweet parting in “We’re Gonna Be Fine.” This actually harkens back to a scene only seen in the early performances of BIG’s 1996 Detroit tryout: Weidman had an epilogue that took place six months later, when Josh was again playing in FAO Schwarz and Susan and her new beau walked in — to let us know she’d moved on and had found true love. Incidentally, Susan’s previous boyfriend and nefarious co-worker Paul burst in, too, alas, as an out-of-work wino who was so soused that he made the title character of THE DRUNKARD look like Reverend Doctor Brock in TENDERLOIN. Considering how consistently mean he’d been to Josh, the punishment fit the crime.

    To be frank, BIG was fine on Broadway and fine now. But if you only know the original, get thee to the York this weekend. Catch a plane, catch a breeze; on your hands, on your knees, swim or fly, only please come back to it. If all else fails, go to a carnival, find Zoltar, and firmly state “I wish I could be in New York City this weekend to see BIG.”

    You may e-mail Peter at pfilichia@aol.com. Check out his weekly column each Tuesday at www.masterworksbroadway.com and each Friday at www.kritzerland.com. His new book, Strippers, Showgirls, and Sharks – a Very Opinionated History of the Broadway Musicals That Did Not Win the Tony Award is now available at www.amazon.com.

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      The soundtrack for the brand new big screen edition of beloved family-friendly musical ANNIE is now available to pre-order in anticipation of the film’s December release.

      Pre-order the soundtrack here.

      About the Film

      A Broadway classic that has delighted audiences for generations comes to the big screen with a new, contemporary vision in Columbia Pictures’ comedy, Annie. Director/Producer/Screenwriter Will Gluck teams with producers James Lassiter,Will Gluck, Jada Pinkett Smith & Will Smith, Caleeb Pinkett, Shawn “JAY Z” Carter, Laurence “Jay” Brown, Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith with a modern telling that captures the magic of the classic characters and original show that won seven Tony Awards. Celia Costas and Alicia Emmrich serve as Executive Producers. The screenplay is by Will Gluck and Aline Brosh McKenna, based on the musical stage play “Annie,” book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and on “Little Orphan Annie,” © and ® Tribune Media Services, Inc.

      Academy Award® nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) stars as Annie, a young, happy foster kid who’s also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they’d be back for her someday, it’s been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). But everything’s about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) – advised by his brilliant VP, Grace (Rose Byrne) and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale) – makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in. Stacks believes he’s her guardian angel, but Annie’s self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it’s the other way around.

      Visit the official site here.

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        Too bad there isn’t a meter to measure civic pride.

        If there were, Mason City, Iowa – the real River City that bookwriter-composer-lyricist Meredith Willson fictionalized in his Tony-winning 1957-58 musical THE MUSIC MAN – would score high.

        Now the town with 28,000 people has bought more than 2,000 tickets to two nights of Shirley Jones, Patrick Cassidy and THE MUSIC MAN IN CONCERT. This would vault Mason City into an uncontested first place on the civic-pride meter as its residents give a tacit challenge to the people of Prior Lake (MN); Paducah; Topeka; Springfield (MO); Oklahoma City and Little Rock, where the concert will soon play. Hey, other towns — can you possibly show it the love that we will?

        The evening begins with band members walking onto a white-latticed platform. Fittingly, the first one out is a trombonist. True, he’s the only one in a band of 12 and thus only represents 1/76th of what Willson ideally imagined. But he’s enough for the crowd to already be applauding.

        So that local deejay sent out to warm up theatergoers is superfluous. Yet the crowd applauds again when he says “We’re welcoming Shirley Jones back to River City” — and yes, he does say “River City.” He also takes advantage of the show’s most famous Willson-ism when citing “We’ll have trouble with a capital ‘T’ and that rhymes with ‘P’ and that stands for ‘Phones.’ Shut them off!”

        Then orchestra plays a quick overture (“76 Trombones,” “Till There Was You,” “The Wells Fargo Wagon” and the quodlibet of “Lida Rose” and “Will I Ever Tell You?”). The crowd applauds, but pushes it up 76 trombones worth of decibels as Jones, in a blue pants suit with sequined jacket – and with unashamed gray hair — saunters on. The next big hand comes when she introduces Cassidy, and not merely because she and then-husband Jack Cassidy created him; he’ll be playing Harold Hill.

        Jones asks if many had been in attendance when she was here on June 19, 1962 with co-star Robert Preston to launch the world premiere of THE MUSIC MAN film. More than a hundred shoot up their hands with the speed of baseball fans who think they have a chance to catch a home run. They really want to convince her that they aren’t Jonesy-Come-Latelys but fondly remember the day that Harold Hill and Marian the Librarian came to town.

        Although the title is THE MUSIC MAN IN CONCERT, it really should be Shirley Jones Remembers THE MUSIC MAN. The show has been shortened to accommodate the star’s memories. At one point Cassidy even brings on the Oscar that Jones had won for Elmer Gantry. (All right, it’s not the actual Academy Award, Cassidy would later tell me, to which Jones added, “I’d kill him if he tried to take that out of the house.”)

        Because Jones’ Oscar came from portraying a woman on whom the Pickalittle Ladies would have really picked, she jokingly drones “Thanks for telling the audience I played a hooker.” She admits the role wasn’t logical preparation for Marian the Librarian. Then she divulges that Onna White, the film’s choreographer, wasn’t ruffled when Jones revealed her lack of dancing ability. White insisted “By the time I’m through with you, you’ll be doing Swan Lake.” She laments that “I never hear from Ronny Howard” but brightens when relating that Warners wanted Frank Sinatra as Harold Hill, but Willson insisted that he wouldn’t green-light the film without Preston. The audience roundly applauds with appreciation and relief.

        In addition to dispensing memories, Jones plays Mrs. Paroo, Marian’s mother. Despite the cuts, every dollop of her dialogue stays. While the star’s Irish brogue is so good that she could be surnamed O’Jones or McJones, she isn’t giving an imitation of original Mrs. Paroo Pert Kelton. Jones also gets one line in “The Wells Fargo Wagon,” but “And I expect a new rocking chair” is inappropriate. This lady, although 80, is still far from needing one.

        When 2104’s Marian – Teri Bibb – sings “Goodnight, My Someone,” “My White Knight” and “Till There Was You,” director Glenn Casale puts Jones in a nearby spotlight. There we can see her justifiable admiration for the new Marian and a face full of memories.

        Is Jones also thinking of original Marian Barbara Cook? She would later tell me, “I saw her do it before I was mentioned for the movie. I just wanted to see THE MUSIC MAN. Barbara was radiant. She was Jack’s favorite singer – and that includes me. He said that! And he even stated in advance that he wanted her to sing at his funeral – which she did.”)

        Jones and Cassidy do some hoofing in “Gary, Indiana” and “Shipoopi,” which may well be the first time the two have danced together since someone’s wedding. But the best moment comes when Mrs. Paroo expresses her confidence in Harold Hill. Doesn’t Jones give a little extra when she says to her son, “But if anyone can do it, I bet you can?”

        Meanwhile, Cassidy shows his mettle as the son of an Oscar-winning mom and a Tony-winning dad. (Jack Cassidy won for SHE LOVES ME and was then nominated three times in a five-year span). When Cassidy is about to do “76 Trombones,” he demands “Attention, please!” and the chorus of eight immediately sits and gives it gladly. Cassidy accurately Frisbees his boater hat to a River City-zian — he was a star high school quarterback – and adeptly catches the bandleader’s hat thrown to him. He not only turns a hankie into a cane but also turns in a fine Harold Hill who can connive but is guileless enough to seem sincere.

        Cassidy gets every one of his laughs. (Marian in the library: “What do you want to take out?” Harold: “The librarian.”) Theatergoers greet the jokes with affectionate laughs that reveal they’ve heard them before – to the point where they’d occasionally laugh before the punchline was delivered because they fondly remembered it and were reacquainting with old friend.” But the biggest laugh went to a line that won’t crack a smile on the tour’s other six stops: “Those stubborn Iowans!”

        Thus, everyone knows the plot and that Harold Hill will have his day of reckoning. “Well, where’s the band?” Mayor Shinn demands, and lo and behold, filing in from the auditorium’s side and rear doors comes the actual Mason City High School Marching Band — three dozen teenagers in uniforms who deliver a perfect “76 Trombones.” Although Willson’s plot has the River City lads playing terribly but pleasing their proud parents who are just happy to see their kids in the spotlight. Here the audience is happy simply to hear the song again played full force.

        Want proof? One of the most famous stories attached to the 1957 opening night of THE MUSIC MAN is that the usually jaded New York audience so loved “76 Trombones” at first hearing that everyone began clapping in rhythm. Well, here in Mason City, theatergoers do that, too, but they also rise to their feet out of excitement and respect.

        This must be the first time in history that the performer playing Harold Hill takes the penultimate bow; you-know-who gets the last one. But as Cassidy tells the audience “This is my valentine to you, Mason City,” before turning to Jones and saying, “and you, Mom.” And if there’s any doubt that this is The Shirley Jones Show, she’ll now answer questions culled from submissions made in advance by the audience.

        One concerned her name. Given that her parents chose Shirley to honor Ms. Temple, did they choose Mae as her middle name to salute Mae West? “No,” Jones answers before recalling her meeting West in the star’s dressing room — and finding her draped in fur “on one of the hottest days of the year.”

        Did she prefer “Being in Love,” the film song morphed from “My White Knight” to its predecessor? (“No.”) Who was the best kisser on stage or screen? (“Burt Lancaster.”) And of course she’s asked about The Partridge Family for which she filmed 96 episodes from 1970-74. “I was warned that a TV series would put my movie career in the toilet — and that’s precisely what happened,” she says in a bubbly, who-cares voice. Instead, Jones expresses pride in being “the first working mother in a television series” – and gets a nice round of applause for reminding us of the achievement.

        The evening ends with Cassidy and Jones duetting on “Till There Was You,” with the cast joining in for the last A-section. Is Jones’ voice what it was 52 years ago? Of course not, and no one expects it to be. More to the point, the crowd is happy to hear that so much is left of it.

        Faithful readers who caught last week’s column may recall my statement that a chance remark actually started the ball rolling on this production. It’s the story she saved for last and so have I.

        Jones was in the early stages of pregnancy with Cassidy when filming THE MUSIC MAN, but she and director Morton DaCosta kept it from everyone. No one was the wiser until she and Robert Preston were filming “Till There Was You.” They were belly to belly when suddenly Preston jumped back and exclaimed “What was that?”

        It was, of course, the kick he felt to his stomach, as one of his many Harold Hill successors was making his presence known.

        On the way out, I hear nothing but raves for Jones, Cassidy, the cast and the evening. So I infer that most didn’t mind that the show had been cut down considerably to accommodate Jones. “Rock Island,” “Sadder-But-Wiser Girl” and “Marian the Librarian” were dropped. “Gary, Indiana” was solely sung by Harold Hill (as in the film) and not Winthrop – because there was no Winthrop.

        Oh, a little boy stepped forward and lisped six lines of “The Wells Fargo Wagon,” but he wasn’t identified as Winthrop and didn’t get program credit. Tommy Djilas, Zaneeta Shinn and Amaryllis all walked the plank, too. And while Charlie Cowell was in attendance, he wasn’t carrying an anvil-filled suitcase.

        But no Winthrop meant that Harold didn’t get to take the devastated kid out of his funk at the end of Act One – or the disappointment near show’s end when he admits his chicanery to the child and wistfully rationalizes with the show’s most memorable line: “I always think there’s a band, kid.”

        Both Cassidy and Casale later told me that if they had their way with Equity and a bigger budget, they’d include Winthrop. For now, they must to make do in each city with a local lad for those half-dozen lines. Here’s hoping that changes.

        But in the meantime, let’s say thanks for the memories to Shirley Jones, Patrick Cassidy and Mason City, Iowa.

        You may e-mail Peter at pfilichia@aol.com. Check out his weekly column each Tuesday at www.masterworksbroadway.com and each Friday at www.kritzerland.com. His new book, Strippers, Showgirls, and Sharks – a Very Opinionated History of the Broadway Musicals That Did Not Win the Tony Award is now available at www.amazon.com.

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          Author Michael Sokolove’s DRAMA HIGH Now Available in Paperback

          October 9, 2014

          The following piece was written by Drama High author Michael Sokolove in celebration of the book’s paperback editions. A book is not a living thing in quite the same way a theater piece is. But after a story is written and bound between hard covers, it is not inert. The book has an afterlife, which [...]

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            MTI Acquires Licensing Rights for THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY

            October 8, 2014

            MTI has secured worldwide licensing rights to Broadway’s Tony® Award-winning musical, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY. The musical features a score by 2014 Tony® Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations award winner Jason Robert Brown (PARADE, THE LAST FIVE YEARS, 13) and libretto by Tony® and Pulitzer Prize-winning Marsha Norman (‘NIGHT MOTHER, THE SECRET GARDEN) [...]

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              Filichia Features: Shirley Jones and Patrick Cassidy Discuss THE MUSIC MAN

              October 3, 2014

              It all started from a casual, off-the-cuff story. “About a half-dozen years ago,” says Patrick Cassidy, “I was Harold Hill and Mom was Mrs. Paroo in a full production of THE MUSIC MAN at the Bushnell in Hartford.” “Mom,” not so incidentally, is Shirley Jones, who has a history with THE MUSIC MAN. She was, [...]

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                Filichia Features: If you’re doing FIDDLER …

                September 26, 2014

                Fifty years ago this week, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF opened at the Imperial Theatre and wound up becoming the longest-running production in Broadway history. Granted, now that we’re in an era of much longer runs thanks to New York tourism and fewer Broadway productions, FIDDLER now merely occupies 16th place on the long-run list; THE [...]

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                  Get Ready to Wave Your Freak Flag High! License SHREK THE MUSICAL JR. Today!

                  September 25, 2014

                  It’s a “big bright beautiful world” for everyone’s favorite ogre in SHREK THE MUSICAL JR., based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film and hit Broadway musical. Adapted to approximately 60 minutes for young performers and featuring a host of over-the-top roles for an expandable cast, there’s a part for everyone in this dazzling adventure story. [...]

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                    Filichia Features: WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN Goes On

                    September 19, 2014

                    He’d called and said he’d be a little late for the 10 a.m. rehearsal, so even when the clock struck 10:15 and Bernie Yvon hadn’t yet arrived, no one gave it much of a thought. By 10:30, a few started to worry. By 10:45, most everyone was concerned. Then someone heard on the radio that [...]

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