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The Brothers Who Made Mary Poppins Sing

Generations of children have grown up singing the music and lyrics of Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman. They wrote two hugely popular film musicals: Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Now both of those well-loved classics have been adapted for the stage.

The Sherman Brothers grew up in a household filled with music – their father, Al, was a popular songwriter from the 1920s through the '40s. According to Richard M. Sherman, it was their father’s idea for the two brothers to work together.

They finally caught on with the Disney studio after writing the seminal "It's a Small World After All." The brothers then penned songs for The Parent Trap and The Jungle Book.

Their music often soared within movie scenes, accompanying Mary Poppins as she levitated and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as the car flew its passengers across the countryside.

Musicals based on both films are slated to move to the United States after opening in London. The first, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, opens in New York City April 28.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jeff Lunden is a freelance arts reporter and producer whose stories have been heard on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition, as well as on other public radio programs.

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