If film buffs know the name Marc Breaux, it’s likely because
he and his partner Dee Dee Wood choreographed the ageless Mary Poppins; they were married at the time. Their other high-profile screen credits include The Sound of Music, The Happiest
Millionaire, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and The Slipper and the Rose. I was sorry to read of his passing today
and reminded of a tidbit I learned when I hosted a Poppins reunion some years ago at the Academy of Motion Picture
Arts and Sciences. During the “Step in Time” number, a choreographic
tour-de-force, I found myself thinking of the boisterous dancing in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Following the screening, I asked Dee Dee Wood if that seemed crazy to her. She
said “Of course not: we were Michael Kidd’s assistants. We stole everything we
could from him.” In fact, she explained, when he was unable to work on the film
version of Broadway’s Li’l Abner, he
sent them off to Hollywood to replicate his work.
I’m fascinated by continuity in show business, and here is a perfect example. Why would anyone link Mary Poppins to a great musical made a decade earlier? Yet without Michael Kidd’s groundbreaking work in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Dee Dee Wood and Marc Breaux might not have been inspired to put those chimney sweeps through their paces around the rooftops of London.
If you’d like to read a first-rate interview with Breaux in which he discusses his career as a performer, choreographer, and television director, click HERE.
Rest in peace, Marc Breaux.