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‘Mary Poppins’ to close on Broadway in the spring

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 11:59 a.m. CDT

NEW YORK (AP) — “Mary Poppins” is closing up its big umbrella on Broadway.

An official close to the show’s producers said Monday that the 6-year-old musical will end performances in March at the New Amsterdam Theatre and eventually be replaced by a musical adapted from the film “Aladdin.”

The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak before the official announcement. The New York Post first reported the news, citing an anonymous source. A Disney representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Mary Poppins,” co-produced by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh, is based both on the children’s books by P.L. Travers and the 1964 movie starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. It tells the story of the world’s most practically perfect nanny in Edwardian London.

With a big cast, lavish sets and stunts that include Mary flying with her umbrella and Bert the chimney sweep tap dancing upside-down, the show was a hit after opening in 2006, two years after debuting in London.

The show is part of Disney Theatrical Productions’ five big Broadway hits from seven attempts since 1994 — a profitable list that includes “The Lion King” and the more recent “Newsies.” That’s way above the 3-in-10 average recoupment of most Broadway shows. “Mary Poppins” routinely grosses over $1 million every week despite the presence of touring versions.

When it closes, it will have been performed 2,619 times and have been seen by more than 4 million people. It recouped its initial Broadway investment within a year, and has gone on to be among the top 10 grossing shows for the past six years and top five for attendance. It will rank as the 22nd longest-running show in Broadway history.

Its soon-to-be vacant home at the New Amsterdam Theatre will be taken by the musical “Aladdin,” which has melodies by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice — the same team who created the animated film version that starred Robin Williams. The musical, with a book by Chad Beguelin, had its premiere in Seattle in summer 2011.

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