Which big show has been booked in for a seven-week run at Newcastle Theatre Royal? Here’s a clue – it’ll be supercalifragilistic... etcetera.
Mary Poppins is heading our way and producers Disney and Cameron Mackintosh promise it will have “dazzling choreography, incredible effects and unforgettable songs” – to say nothing of the longest made-up word in showbusiness.
The UK tour starts in Leicester this October. It will run at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle from September 8 to October 29, 2016, with tickets going on sale this month.
Theatre Royal chief executive Philip Bernays admitted he hadn’t seen the show but he said: “It’s Mary Poppins. It’s one of the biggest titles in the world.
“The film was, and is, a phenomenon and the stage show has run all over the world.
“I know it will have fabulous performances because it’s Cameron Mackintosh and he is fanatical about getting everything right – detail, detail, detail.”
Mr Bernays said it was the longest run of any show – excluding the panto – at the theatre since Oliver! in 2012.
The show, adapted from the original stories of PL (Pamela Lyndon) Travers and the Walt Disney film of 1964, originally opened in 2004 and played in the West End for three years.
It was the first Disney musical to premiere in the UK and the first Mary Poppins on stage, stepping into the shoes made famous by Julie Andrews in the film, was Laura Michelle Kelly who won an Olivier Award for best actress in a musical.
The identity of the new Mary Poppins is a mystery since casting details have not been finalised.
A decade ago the show won a clutch of awards in the West End and on Broadway.
Subsequently it has toured Australia, New Zealand and the United States. There was a short UK tour but this will be the first time the show has come to the North East.
Worldwide, it is estimated to have been seen by more than 11 million people.
That figure will be swollen by 71,000 if all the Newcastle tickets are snapped up.
Previous Cameron Mackintosh shows at the Theatre Royal include Oliver! and this year’s Barnum.
Sir Cameron, who visited the theatre during the Barnum run, said: “It’s hard to believe that it is already 11 years since Mary Poppins first landed on the London stage.
“I’m delighted to bring this wonderful musical to Newcastle after spreading its magic around the world.
“Since we originally staged the production we have found even more magical ways to stage this timeless tale and I’m sure you will find our new Mary practically perfect in every way.”
The show, telling of the magical nanny who works wonders with the Banks children of 17 Cherry Tree Lane, has a famous score including songs such as Jolly Holiday, Feed the Birds and the one nearly spelled out at the start of this article.
The show was written by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and has choreography by Matthew Bourne.
Tickets go on sale to Friends of the Theatre Royal on May 26 and to the general public on May 30.