'Mary Poppins Returns' soundtrack brings the new and familiar to audiences
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Disney's highly anticipated movie musical sequel "Mary Poppins Returns" has a soundtrack of original songs written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman that should appeal to new and old fans of the original 1964 "Mary Poppins" movie, according to media outlets that visited the "Mary Poppins Returns" film set in England. "Mary Poppins Returns" is set for release in the U.S. on Dec. 19 and in the U.K. on Dec. 21.

Although the "Mary Poppins Returns" soundtrack tracklist hasn't been officially announced yet, Screen Rant is reporting that the songs in the movie will be "The Place Where Lost Things Go," "Can You Imagine That," "The Royal Doulton Music Hall," "Turning Turtle," "A Cover Is Not the Book," Trip a Little Light Fantastic" and "Nowhere to Go But Up." After releasing a "Mary Poppins Returns" teaser trailer in March, Disney recently released the first official trailer for "Mary Poppins Returns."

The original "Mary Poppins," starring Julie Andrews in her film debut as the magical nanny Mary Poppins, became an instant classic and remains one of Disney's most beloved hit musicals. The movie was nominated for 13 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and ended up winning five: Best Actress for Andrews; Best Visual Effects; Best Film Editing; Best Score; and Best Original Song, for "Chim Chim Cher-ee," written by songwriting brothers Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman

The 2013 Disney dramatic movie "Saving Mr. Banks," starring Emma Thompson as Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, told the behind-the-scenes story of how difficult it was to get the "Mary Poppins" movie made, since Travers was reluctant to have the book made into a movie, and she often clashed with the filmmakers over creative control. Travers reportedly hated that the film had animated sequences, which she thought cheapened the story.

In "Mary Poppins Returns," directed by Rob Marshall, stars Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins, who returns to a new generation of the Banks family, after they have experienced a personal loss. The film is set in 1935 London, 25 years after the story in the first "Mary Poppins" film. Michael and Jane Banks, the sibling children whom Mary took care of in the first film, are now adults.

The "Mary Poppins Returns" cast also includes Lin-Manuel Miranda as Mary's street lamplighter friend Jack; Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks; Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks; Oscar winner Meryl Streep as Mary’s eccentric cousin Topsy; Julie Walters as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen; Angela Lansbury as the Balloon Lady, a treasured character from Travers' books; and Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and Joel Dawson as the Banks children. Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth, who also starred with Streep and Walters in the "Mamma Mia!" musical movies, is also in the cast as Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’s William Weatherall Wilkins. Marshall, Blunt and Streep previously worked together in the 2014 Disney musical "Into the Woods."

"Mary Poppins Returns" also features Dick Van Dyke, who played Mary Poppins' close friend Bert in the original "Mary Poppins" film. In "Mary Poppins Returns," Van Dyke is a new character: Mr. Dawes Jr., the retired chairman of the bank now run by Firth’s character. 

David Magee wrote the "Mary Poppins Returns" screenplay from a story by Magee, Marshall and producer John DeLuca, based upon the Mary Poppins stories by Travers. DeLuca, Marshall and Marc Platt ("La La Land," "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert") are the movie's producers, with Callum McDougall serving as executive producer.

Shaiman, who wrote the "Mary Poppins Returns" original film score, is an Emmy winner, Tony winner and Grammy winner who is best known for writing the music for the "Hairspray" stage musical and the 2007 "Hairspray" movie. However, "Mary Poppins" is the most high-profile project of his career, and if the film becomes a critically acclaimed hit with awards voters, he will probably be a leading music contender at the 2019 Academy Awards and other award shows that give prizes to film music. It's too early to tell, but "Mary Poppins Returns" and "A Star Is Born" are shaping up to be two of the biggest likely nominees in the Best Original Song category.

Tony-winning "Hamilton" and "In the Heights" composer Miranda, who previously worked with Disney for the 2016 animated film "Moana," told Mashable on the "Mary Poppins Returns" film set: "I play a guy named Usnavi and the central metaphor from that was he’s the street lights in the neighborhood," and it's his job "to tell these stories, to shine a light on these stories on this corner." 

According to Screen Rant, Miranda and Blunt and the child actors will perform "The Royal Doulton Music Hall" in an animated sequence in the movie that has their characters travel in a broken piece of china and then performing in a music hall. Streep will sing lead on "Turning Turtle," while "A Cover Is Not the Book" and "Nowhere to Go Is Up" are two of the emotional cornerstone songs in the movie.