Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

POPPINS FRESH 

A new Mary Poppins comes to Cleveland

Ashley Brown faced a challenge when she created the title role of Mary Poppins for its U.S. premiere on Broadway in 2006. She'd seen the classic 1964 Disney movie version "about a million times" as a little girl, fixing the image of Julie Andrews' take on the beloved nanny in her head.

"I definitely work to not mimic her at all," says Brown. To keep Andrews at bay while preparing for auditions, she read the P.L. Travers books the movie was based on. That helped her re-invent the character for a stage production that keeps "A Spoonful Of Sugar" and all the movie's original hit songs by the Sherman brothers Richard and Robert, and introduces some new ones by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. She stayed on for the touring production, which launched in Chicago in March. Cleveland is the first stop after that.

"The books are fantastic," says Brown. "They have a lot more characters, so we have some different characters in the musical. I think the books show insight in the family's real issues. You get to know the family more and realize that they have real problems."

She says the new material doesn't change the story but rather fills out the details.

"I think everybody wishes their nanny was like Mary Poppins, whipping everyone into shape in a very nice, unapologetic way," says Brown. "I think people relate more now with more complicated family issues. Mr. Banks loses his job at the bank. He realizes toward the end that it's not what matters. I think actually people come and are really surprised by how much they relate to the family. They know how it is to be the child, or the dad with so much responsibility."

mgill@clevescene.com

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

More by Michael Gill

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

Staff Pick Events

  • 78th Street Studios Third Friday Art Walk @ 78th Street Studios