Ashley Brown Returns to Broadway in MARY POPPINS Tonight
Ashley Brown, Broadway's original MARY POPPINS, returns to the company tonight at 7pm at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Brown will assume the title role through Sunday, July 17 (Laura Michelle Kelly, currently playing the role, will take a brief hiatus for a film project, returning to the show on Tuesday, July 19). Brown reunites with her original Broadway ‘Bert,' co-star Gavin Lee, having last performed with him when they launched and headlined the MARY POPPINS North American tour.
For the role of Mary Poppins, Ashley Brown received Outer Critics, Drama League and Drama Desk award nominations when the show premiered on Broadway in November 2006. She reprised her role in the North American tour and earned the 2010 Back Stage Garland Award for Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Musical. Last year, Brown made her cabaret debut at the renowned Feinstein's at the Regency and starred in the musical Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin at La Jolla Playhouse. Her debut solo album of American songbook standards titled "Speak Low" was released on Ghostlight Records. In March, she will make her theater cabaret debut at the Kennedy Center in a series curated by Broadway legend Barbara Cook. Brown made her Broadway debut as Belle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. She starred in the national tour of Disney's On the Record and has performed with the Boston Pops (with Keith Lockhart), the New York Philharmonic (with Marvin Hamlisch), The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra at Disney Hall (with John Mauceri), The Pittsburgh Symphony opposite Shirley Jones (with Marvin Hamlisch), the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall (twice), the Cincinnati Pops (with Erich Kunzel), the Indianapolis Symphony (twice with Jack Everly) and the BBC Orchestra opposite Josh Groban.
The Broadway cast of MARY POPPINS also features Laird Mackintosh as George Banks, Megan Osterhaus as Winifred Banks, Valerie Boyle as Mrs. Brill, Ann Arvia as Bird Woman, Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Robertson Ay, Ruth Gottschall as Miss Andrew and Jonathan Freeman as Admiral Boom. Alternating in the role of Jane Banks are Rozi Baker, Catherine Missal and Sadie Seelert; alternating in the role of Michael Banks are Ethan Haberfield, David Gabriel Lerner and Anthony Scarpone-Lambert. (Karl Kenzler returns to the role of George Banks on Tuesday, April 5.)
A co-production by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh, this stage production is based on P.L. Travers' cherished stories and the classic 1964 Walt Disney film and includes the film's Academy Award®-winning music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The stage production was created, in collaboration with Cameron Mackintosh, by Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who wrote the book; Olivier Award-winning director Richard Eyre; and the Olivier Award-winning team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, who composed new songs and additional music and lyrics.
With four productions currently running on three continents, MARY POPPINS is one of the biggeststage musical successes to emerge from London or New York in recent years. Worldwide to date, the show has grossed over $470 million and welcomed 6.5 million guests. The musical is the winner of 26 major theatre awards around the globe, including Tony®, Olivier and Evening Standard awards.
MARY POPPINS received its worldwide premiere at the Prince Edward Theatre in the West End in December 2004. Following its successful three-year London run, the production launched an acclaimed U.K. tour.
The Broadway production of MARY POPPINS officially opened at the New Amsterdam Theatre on November 16, 2006, recouping its initial Broadway investment within 52 weeks of its premiere in 2006. MARY POPPINS is the only show from the 2006-2007 theatrical season still in performance.
The MARY POPPINS North American tour has garnered continuous critical praise and achieved box office success since its launch in Chicago in March 2009.
MARY POPPINS can also be seen in Scheveningen, Netherlands (outside of Amsterdam at the Circus Theatre), Melbourne, Australia (at Her Majesty's Theatre through April 1st) and Sydney, Australia (at the Capitol Theatre, opening May 5th). Productions of MARY POPPINS have also been mounted in Finland, Denmark and the Czech Republic.
For tickets, show information and performance schedule, call Ticketmaster's Disney on Broadway hotline at 866-870-2717 or visit www.MaryPoppins.com
Photos: Ashley Brown Headshot; Ashley Brown & Gavin Lee in Original National Tour of Mary Poppins, Credit Joan Marcus