Either show is fine for Disney fans - but you have to tell me what you’re going after.
We caught Mary Poppins in London last fall and it was fantastic, definitely a worth-while, must-see hit – BUT-- I will say - that if you don’t like it when something you’re familiar with is done differently, then you may not enjoy it.There are new songs (not by the original composers), new scenes (such as a lark in the park), and favorite scenes from the movie were cut. The show itself works quite well, and the cast was brilliant. The sets were, of course, pretty stunning (I won’t spoil it here), and the evening was grand.
As for the Lion King - though it was one of my favorite Disney movies, and though I am the biggest fan of the music creators for the film - I was very much less impressed with. It is pretty much word-for-word the film (not many surprises- except for a brief section about Nala that sounded interesting but no followed up upon). The show is filled with wonderful African atmosphere, but I was so disappointed that the new songs were not by Elton and Tim, but instead by Lebo M. and others - mostly African hymns and rhythms, that I found it hard to enjoy this. Plus, I was not one of the people impressed by the puppetry and pageantry of it all. Don’t get me wrong – if you see this show - you will be impressed, love it, etc… But it didn’t do it for me. I’ve actually seen it twice- once in Previews before it opened and once several years later - and my impression the second time was much better - though not by much. Only because there weren’t enough surprises in it for me.
Don’t discredit Tarzan, though. I had a lot of fun at that one - because I didn’t really know what to expect. I enjoyed the songs from the film and the new ones, and I thought it was a nicely put together show about Family. When I went, I saw everyone having a great time - and that’s what it is all about in the end.
Discounts to the shows will be hard to come by, since they are big hits. Lion King, though nearly 10 years old, is often still sold out – it has moved to a bigger theatre, but it hasn’t lost its popularity. Howeve, I’ve been to the theatre it moved to several times, and I’ve seen shows there from the back row- it doesn’t matter where you sit there -you’ll get a great view of the show.
And of course, the NY version of Poppins hasn’t yet opened. Source I know have suggested it’s been slightly altered from the London version – perhaps they’ve made the story more familiar to American audiences by making it closer follow the film.
Whichever you choose, have fun. If it’s the only time you’ll be in NY, why not go with a brand new show like Poppins? You’ll be able to brag to everyone that you saw it before they did! (It will only have been running a week or two by the time you get here).
Speaking of “Staying home watching the movie” — When Lion King started it’s BWay previews many years ago - I was lucky enough to score tickets the very same night I thought I ought to go. I was a HUGE fan of the movie, and moreover, of the score.
Well, as soon as the guy with the Zazu puppet came out - I wanted to go home. Very badly. Then I found out the new songs were by other people. Then I found the dialogue was pretty much exactly the same… By intermission I kept thinking - “Sheesh, I should have just stayed home and watched the movie.” This was before it became the smash hit it is now.
As for POPPINS, it was one of the highlights of my trip to London last year, and thankfully was different enough, that it really has very little to do with the MOVIE so much as the STORY behind the movie. That made it much more worthwhile to me.