Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emily Blunt in 'Poppins' sequel as musicals thrive

Blunt and Miranda are set to star in 'Mary Poppins Returns,' which will be released in December 2018. Blunt starred in the 2014 musical 'Into the Woods,' while Miranda wrote and stars in the Broadway smash hit 'Hamilton.'

L: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP R: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
Emily Blunt (l.) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (r.) are set to star in a 'Mary Poppins' sequel for Disney.

Moviegoers will be taking another jolly holiday with Mary. 

Disney has announced that Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda will star in a sequel to their 1964 film "Mary Poppins." The new movie, titled "Mary Poppins Returns," will be directed by Rob Marshall of "Into the Woods" and "Chicago" and will be released in December 2018.

The original "Mary Poppins" film (the making of which was dramatized in the 2013 film "Saving Mr. Banks") was based on the books by P.L. Travers and starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. Ms. Andrews won an Oscar for the role and the music won in two categories, best original song and best score.

Ms. Blunt will portray Mary Poppins, while Mr. Miranda will take on a new role, as a street lamplighter named Jack. 

According to Disney, "The story will take place in Depression-era London (when the books were originally written) and follows a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, who, along with Michael's three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss." 

Individually, Blunt and Miranda each represent how the musical has experienced a resurgence in popular culture. 

Blunt's film "Into the Woods" was the newest big-screen musical adaptation, a genre which had been dormant for some time until films like 2001's "Moulin Rouge!" and Marshall's own 2002 film "Chicago" made a new musical movie an almost yearly event. Recent musical box office successes include 2012's "Les Misérables" and 2008's "Mamma Mia!," though there have of course been misfires as well.

Meanwhile, Miranda is currently ruling Broadway, where these stories of course originate (or transfer – "Mary Poppins" was made into a Broadway musical in 2006.) Miranda's "Hamilton," which he wrote and stars in, incorporates various musical styles, including hip-hop, and recently won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. It is expected to do very well at this month's Tony Awards – Miranda himself is nominated for best actor in a musical, while numerous other nominees include fellow "Hamilton" actors Leslie Odom, Jr., Daveed Diggs, and Phillipa Soo. The show itself is nominated for best musical.

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