Mary Poppins will conclude Broadway run at The New Amsterdam Theatre today, March 3, 2013 after 2619 performances and more than six years. With attendance totaling nearly four million guests, the show has been seen by more people in the last six years than any Broadway show except Wicked and The Lion King. BroadwayWorld takes you back through the magical nanny's journey to Broadway below!
Mary Poppins opened on Broadway in 2006, just two years after debuting in London's West End, where it had received nine Olivier Award nominations and won Olivier, Evening Standard and WhatsOnStage Awards. The Broadway production received 25 major theatrical award nominations, winning Tony and Drama Desk Awards.
The Broadway production stars Steffanie Leigh as Mary and Nic Dromard as Bert. Leigh has played the title role on Broadway since October 2011, one of only four actresses cast in the iconic title role during the entire Broadway run.
Meanwhile, two successive North American tours of Mary Poppins have garnered critical praise and achieved box office success over their four years. Combined, they have played 73 engagements in 67 cities throughout the US, Canada and Mexico and by the time the tour concludes in Anchorage, Alaska this June, will have played 34 states plus the District of Columbia.
The Broadway production of Mary Poppins arrived on October 14, 2006 at the New Amsterdam Theatre in preparation for opening night on November 16, 2006. Ashley Brown originated the role of Mary Poppins on Broadway, and direct from the West End production of the show, Oliver Award nominee Gavin Lee played Bert.
The run flew by, and Mary Poppins marked its 200th performance at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Wednesday, May 9th, 2007.
Then, on the heels of the news that the Broadway company of Mary Poppins had recouped its entire investment in 52 weeks, and just after the show's one-year celebration on the Great White Way, Mary Poppins announced it would commence a North American tour at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre on March 25, 2009.
The entire original creative team would reunite to bring this magical story of the world's most famous nanny to audiences across North America. Original Broadway stars Lee and Brown would join Mary Poppins' in its first North American tour.
Olivier nominee Scarlett Strallen and Adam Fiorentino took over Mary Poppins' starring roles on Broadway in October 2008. Strallen had starred as Mary Poppins in the London West End production in the fall of 2005, and had such a success that she later returned to the part in spring of 2007.
Mary Poppins celebrated its two-year anniversary at the New Amsterdam Theatre on November 16, 2008. By then, the Broadway production had grossed over $100 million and had played 837 performances.
In April 2009, ADVENTURES BY DISNEY, a leader in guided family vacations, partnered to celebrate the show's historic 1000th performance. To a shower of confetti following the curtain call, the Moore family of Marlboro, NJ, were brought on stage, visibly moved, as Thomas Schumacher, producer and president of Disney Theatrical Productions, presented them with a 6-night/7-day vacation to London and Paris.
In October, 2009, just before the show's three-year anniversary, Mary Poppins welcomed the West End's original 'Mary', Olivier Award winner Laura Michelle Kelly, and Tony Award nominee Christian Borle to the cast. Kelly returned to Broadway after earning rave reviews and garnering the Olivier Award for her performance as the original Mary Poppins in the 2004 West End premiere of the show (she played the role for more than 400 performances in the UK until October 2005). Borle earned Tony, Drama Desk and Drama League nominations for his performance as Emmett Forrest in the Broadway premiere of Legally Blonde.
In January 2010, Dick Van Dyke delighted theatergoers when he made a surprise cameo in the LA engagement of the Mary Poppins North American Tour. Van Dyke, 84, reprised his smaller film role, that of the crotchety bank president Mr. Dawes, in front of an ecstatic, sold-out house at the Ahmanson Theater.
Van Dyke volunteered to return to the smash hit Disney-Cameron Mackintosh stage musical after attending the opening night back in November. The role of Dawes from the iconic 1964 Disney film was not included in the stage production, but was written into a pivotal Act 2 scene for Van Dyke. Van Dyke joined stars Ashley Brown (Mary) and Gavin Lee (Bert the chimney sweep) for a special curtain call bow, receiving thunderous applause.
Mary Poppins welcomed to the company Karl Kenzler as George Banks and Megan Osterhaus as Winifred Banks on March 1, 2010. Kenzler and Osterhaus reprised the roles they originated in the critically-acclaimed North American touring production. All-new Banks children also joined the Broadway cast soon after: alternating the role of Jane Banks were Catherine Missal, Rachel Resheff and Rozi Baker; alternating the role of Michael Banks were Christopher Flaim, David Gabriel Lerner and Ethan Haberfield.
Then, for the first time in its smash 3 ½ year Broadway run, New York audiences were given the opportunity to see Mary Poppins' original stage stars performing the roles they created together when Gavin Lee re-joined the Broadway company as Bert opposite his original Mary and Oliver Award-winning West End co-star Laura Michelle Kelly, beginning August 24, 2010.
The next year, Ashley Brown, Broadway's original Mary Poppins, returned to the company on March 8, 2011 to cover for Laura Michelle Kelly, who took a brief hiatus for a film project (to return July 19, 2011). Brown reunited with her original Broadway 'Bert,' co-star Gavin Lee, having last performed with him when they launched and headlined the Mary Poppins North American tour.
Walt Disney Records released the "Mary Poppins: The Live Cast Recording" on April 5, 2011, recorded over five performances at Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne. Since it was captured on the best-selling 2005 London cast recording, among the many changes were the inclusion of a new song - "Playing the Game," written by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (the song made its debut in the Broadway production and is now in all productions worldwide).
Broadway's perfectly magical musical then welcomed all-new Banks children to the Broadway cast in May 2011: Brigid Harrington and Kara Oates alternated the role of Jane Banks with Rozi Baker and Lewis Grosso alternating the role of Michael Banks with David Gabriel Lerner and Anthony Scarpone-Lambert.
Mary Poppins celebrated its 2000th performance at the New Amsterdam Theatre on September 4, 2011. A co-production by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh, Mary Poppins was the third Disney Theatrical Productions show (following Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King) and the fifth Cameron Mackintosh show (joining Cats, LES MISERABLES, The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon) to play 2000 or more Broadway performances.
In the final cast change for the role of Mary Poppins before the show's Broadway closing today, Steffanie Leigh made her Broadway debut on October 11, 2011, direct from Mary Poppins' North American tour.
After playing the role of Bert for over two years on the North American tour of Mary Poppins, with a stint on Broadway in Summer 2010, Nicolas Dromard then returned to the New Amsterdam Theatre on January 9, 2013, opposite Steffanie Leigh. Nicolas Dromard was last seen as Bert at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles in 2012.
Mary Poppins will rank as the 22nd longest-running show in Broadway history by the time its run is complete, ranking between Best Musical winners Hairspray and Avenue Q on the list of long runs.
Internationally, the title has proven equally strong with the 7th replica production worldwide - and the first Spanish language production - recently beginning performances in Mexico City in November with future first class productions yet to be announced. Licensed productions have already played Hungary, Estonia, Finland, Netherlands, Denmark and the Czech Republic to date, with upcoming productions scheduled in China, France, Japan, Iceland, Spain and The Philippines.
The next stage in the beloved title's evolution begins this year as Music Theatre International starts licensing to North American professional theatres. Already in high demand from theatres around the world, Mary Poppins will first be mounted at Drayton Place Entertainment - Dunfield Theatre in Ontario Canada this month, March 2013, with these theatres to follow: Tuacahn Amphitheatre (Ivins, UT), The MUNY (St Louis, MO), Music Theatre of Wichita (Wichita, KS), Maine State Music Theatre (New Brunswick, ME), Rainbow Stage (Winnipeg, Manitoba - CA), Coeur D'Alene Summer Theatre (Coeur D'Alene, ID), Marriotts Theatre (Lincolnshire, IL). Other upcoming productions will be announced.
As our final farewell, we'll leave you with video highlights from this spectacular Broadway show. Bon voyage, Mary!