The music in Mary Poppins Returns is absolutely fantastic. We have Composers Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman to thank for both the score and the lyrics. the first time I saw the movie, I walked out with a few of them stuck in my head. In a very good way. The second time I watched it, I realized how it totally put me on a happy high of hope and positivism. Powerful stuff indeed! Now, the Golden Globes concur my friends. Marc Shairman has been nominated for best original score! So, why Did Mary Poppins Returns Paralize Composers Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman with fear? Get all the details in The Amazing Mary Poppins Reutrns Music Composers Exclusive Interview
Disney invited me to an all expense trip to enjoy the Mary Poppins Returns Movie World Premiere. All opinions shared are 100% my own.
The Amazing Mary Poppins Returns Music Composers – Exclusive Disney Interview
Right away you can tell that Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman had tons of fun working together. I was mesmerized just listening to them answer our questions. They had plenty to say and were so generous sharing about what it was like working Disney’s Mary Poppins sequel. They felt like old friends. It is hard not to admire their work and ride on the tails of the love they have for their art. Above all, their music will have you singing, after all, they are the heart of the musical!
Meeting and Working with Richard Sherman
Richard Sherman is the composer for the original Mary Poppins. Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman had the opportunity to sit and pick his brain. As you can imagine they felt privileged and nervous at the same time. Nevertheless, I am sure they were beaming proudly when Mr. Sherman proclaimed the baton had been passed. He loves the new movie and he felt it was in good hands. About his experience and Mr. Sherman’s thoughts, Scott Whitman summarizes it saying “It was glorious!”. Marc Shaiman adds:” It was the greatest compliment we could have ever gotten. It was so surreal that I don’t remember really of his answers.”
Song Creation Process
The composers worked furiously in a New Your Hotel room for four months. They found inspiration going back to the books, and found so many more adventures that they felt were asking to be sung.
Marc Shaiman:”I’d sing them after we write them. We write the lyrics together, where we just phrase-associate with each other, for days until we have it all written down. And then I scotch tape all those phrases to the piano. And just …”
Scott Wittman:” … Just pray that something goes right.”
Marc Shaiman:” This movie was a whole other experience, though. Rob specifically hired us also because he knew I also score films. It’s a whole different kind of beast. Or muscle, to exercise. So we go back and we write another song. And after we wrote that one, Scott said, “Now remember, play it like score, also.” So besides singing it, a la Mary Poppins, I sat down and played it. And that’s what you hear as the main theme of the movie almost throughout. That more melancholy – if you slow it down and put slightly different chords to it, it creates a whole other atmosphere.”
Plus another complement to their music
Scott Wittman:” Lin Manuell Miranda) said it was great. He said, “You know what’s great about it, is our movie rhymes with the first movie.” And that’s a huge compliment…. But we knew we had it right so it sounded like it was in the same neighborhood of the first movie. Als,o the first movie was like our teacher. Was our parents. You can’t try to copy. Or even write something that’s so close, that it will only make us pale in comparison. And yet we couldn’t help but find ourselves in the Mary Poppins vernacular.”
The Lovely London Sky
Director Rob Marshall told us Mary Poppins Returns is a love letter to London. It is the first song that you hear as the movie being sung beautifully by Lin-Manuel Miranda. But the composers fliped-flopped a bit about it until Emily Blunt kind of put her hands in for the song:
Marc Shaiman:” The first song we wrote, is the one that’s in the movie. But it’s very gentle. At one point Rob (Marshall) thought there should be no music until Mary Poppins arrives. No songs. But we felt that Lin’s character, although he’s not magical, he can’t create the magic, he believes it. He’s a believer. The thing was that the time period of the movie is during the Depression, so the song wasn’t overly upbeat and people were worried about it being Lin-Manuel’s first song in the film so they wrote a second song with a bit more energy, and then a third song. They were still trying to get it right when they started rehearsals.”
And now he explains how Emily Blunt settled it all out: “Emily Blunt was coming down the hallway. And she said, “What is that, what’s going on?” We said, Come in, we’ll sing you this latest song. And she like, “Hmmmmm.” And she ran down the hall to where Rob (Marshall) was and said, “You put that first song back, that’s the first song I heard. It was the song that charmed me into wanting to be part of the movie. It’s about London, it’s – just put that first song in.” She’s the one who just said, “That’s the one”.”.
Some songs gave more trouble than others. The composers first tried to work on songs that were in line with the English dance bands style in the ’30s. In the end, the song that was most difficult to create for them was “Can You Imagine That”. They explain that it was because they ended up with there are so many versions of it throughout Mary Poppins Returns.
The Song That Was Left Out
Directors, actors, and composers alike find scenes or music they love being left out form the final piece. There was also one in Mary Poppins Returns
Scott Wittman tells us that: “It was interesting, with Richard Sherman, because in the first movie, they had musicalized a sequence that got cut. And we tried to musicalize the same sequence. And it got cut.”
To that, Marc Shaiman adds: “It was about, when Mary Poppins’ birthday falls on a full moon, the animals in the zoo become the spectators and the humans are in the cages. So we wrote a song called, The Anthropomorphic Zoo, And the Sherman brothers wrote a song called The Chimpanzoo.”
Get All The Mary Poppins Songs!
I promise you will never tire of listening to the masterpieces that Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman have created for us! You can get them the Mary Poppins Returns music here.
MARY POPPINS RETURNS IN THEATERS EVERYWHERE
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