By James H. Burns: Just one more addendum to this Disney/P.L. Travers conversation…
Almost ten years ago, a STAGE version of the Disney musical opened in London’s West End, co-presented by the famed theatrical impresario, Cameron Macintosh…
A couple of years later, it opened on Broadway, and is still receiving, I believe, regional productions.
At first, there was concern among the Broadway cast, in rehearsals and previews, because they felt some of the sequences — including one in which toys came alive to menace the kids–were just too terrifying for youngsters…
Things were evidently toned down a bit before opening night, but it was still an odd show, that received mixed notices.
But what stunned me was about halfway through the musical, when Mary, returning to the Banks house to take over from an extremely nasty new nanny, suddenly sends the governess downwards with flames jutting up —
Could this possibly be interpreted as anything but Mary having just sent the gal to hell?
Strangely, almost no critics seemed to comment on this sequence, and one friend suggested it was little different from the movie Mary making her competition, the other applicants for the Banks job, fly away in the wind.
But murder is a little more serious than an ill-blown wag, no?
Take this than as a gentle warning to File 770 readers who might in the future think of taking their kids to a new stage production of the most recent Disney Poppins…
And here’s a ditty I noodled, around the time of the original Broadway controversy:
Super Cali frags linguistics,
Little children crying.
Parents thought they bought some tix,
For family fun and flying.
But Macintosh thinks that scaring kids,
Is something kind of charming.
So get ready for some moistened pants,
And fears of children dying!