'A Spoonful of Sugar' Hits Broadway

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"They say [Travers] didn't like the movie, and yet when you read a sequel that she wrote, it starts with the children running down the stairs, singing 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,' which isn't even a word from her books. So she did embrace it," Schumacher said.

The role of Mary Poppins, with all its nuances, has been thoroughly embraced by Ashley Brown. One of Brown's favorite lines as the nanny has to do with reserving judgments in order to learn unexpected lessons: "When will you learn to look past what you see?"

"It's the whole thing, 'Don't judge a book by its cover,'" she said. "And I think that's a very important message for children and humanity."

In any telling of the collection of stories, "Mary Poppins" was always about lessons learned, not only by ill-behaved children, but by inattentive parents. And then, like childhood, in an ending that never changes, she eventually catches the wind and disappears.

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