Mary Poppins Returns: The story behind the soundtrack

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In 1964 the film Mary Poppins was a huge hit for Walt Disney.The songs by the brothers Robert and Richard Sherman are widely regarded as one of the best original scores ever for a screen musical.

Now Mary Poppins Returns takes us back to the Banks family decades later, with lyricist Scott Wittman teaming up with composer Marc Shaiman.

“You know the Sherman Brothers were Disney royalty,” he tells BBC News. “Robert is no longer with us sadly. But when Richard Sherman reached 90 this year, Disney renamed their main soundstage the Sherman Stage – that’s how important they’ve been.

“So it was a thrill that Dick sent us the most beautiful message after he saw the new film. His approval was everything to us.”Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, is a sequel rather than a remake.

The songs are new – though here and there the orchestrators smuggle in references to the Sherman songs.Shaiman and Wittman are best known for writing Hairspray and for the 2013 stage version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.When they discussed the new project with director Rob Marshall, the first question was what the songs should sound like.

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