Photo Flash: First Look at Gail Bennett and More in MARY POPPINS at the Patchogue Theatre
The Long Island premiere of "Disney's Mary Poppins" is set to fly at the Patchogue Theatre - featuring Broadway caliber actors and aerial effects. The musical, produced by The Gateway, plays July 2-19. Scroll down for a first look at the cast in action!
"Disney's Mary Poppins" is based on books by P.L. Travers and the 1964 Academy Award-winning Disney film, which starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. Originally produced by Walt Disney Theatrical and co-created by producer Cameron Mackintosh, the show features music and lyrics by the Academy Award-winning Sherman brothers, Robert and Richard, and a script by Julian Fellowes of "Downton Abbey" fame. Additional music and lyrics are by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.
The stage production premiered in London's West End in 2004, and opened in 2006 at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre, where it played for six years. The Broadway production was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Since then, the show has toured throughout the United States and Europe.
The show's Long Island premiere will feature flying effects by Flying by Foy, which flew Mary Poppins and Bert on Broadway from 2006-2013. Flying by Foy is also the aerial provider for five shows currently running on Broadway: "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," "Cabaret," "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella," "The Lion King," and "Phantom of the Opera." The company is scheduled to provide effects for the upcoming NBC television broadcast of "Peter Pan Live," set to air on Dec. 4, 2014.
Shaun Kerrison directs The Gateway's production. Kerrison was the resident director for the original Broadway production of "Disney's Mary Poppins" and was the associate director for "Les Miserables." His London credits include "My Fair Lady," "The Lion King," "Peter Pan," and "The Pirates of Penzance."
Gail Bennett stars as Mary Poppins and has performed the show's title role over 100 times in the musical's national tour and regional premiere. His credits include "My Fair Lady" with Tony Award winner Jefferson Mays, "The Drowsy Chaperone" with Sally Struthers, and "A Christmas Carol" with Christopher Lloyd and John Goodman.
Tony Mansker, who danced across Broadway prosceniums for four years as chimney-sweep Bert, reprises the role for The Gateway. His other stage credits include Arena Stage's "Sophisticated Ladies," with Maurice Hines.
Jonathan Rayson plays patriarch George Banks, and Kristen Beth Williams plays his wife Winifred. Rayson has starred in the three-time Tony Award nominated "A Year with Frog and Toad," with Mark Linn-Baker, as well as the first national tour of "Little Shop of Horrors," directed by Jerry Zaks. Williams' Broadway resume include "Promises Promises" and "Nice Work If You Can Get It," as well as Reno Sweeney in The Roundabout's "Anything Goes."
The roles of Michael Banks will be shared by Gateway Acting School students Ethan Eisenberg of Wading River, N.Y., and Nolan Lyons of Brookhaven, N.Y. Likewise, the part of Jane Banks will be shared by student actors Alison Cordaro of Ridge, N.Y., and Thea Flanzer of Center Moriches, N.Y. The Banks children were cast from an open audition held at The Gateway earlier this year.
John O'Creagh plays Admiral Boom and the Bank Chairman; Sandy Rosenberg is the Bird Woman, Miss Andrew, and Queen Victoria. O'Creagh has starred in the 50th Anniversary tour of "Hello Dolly," starring Sally Struthers. Rosenberg's resume includes Broadway's "Mamma Mia," and "The Scarlet Pimpernel." She last appeared at The Gateway as Frau Blucher in the 2013 production of "Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein."
Stephanie Brooks, Kory Geller, Daryl Getman, Timothy Grady, Ashley Marinelli, Kelly Marteney, Bryan Charles Moore, Ashlea Potts, Jake Primmerman, Clay Stefanki, Tanner Wilson, and Lisa Donmall-Reeve complete the company.
"Disney's Mary Poppins" features choreography by Lisa Stevens and music direction by Jonathan Parks. Sets and costumes are provided by Drayton Entertainment. Lighting design is by Kim Hanson. Wigs & makeup are by Trent Pcenicni. Sound is by Don Hanna. The stage manager is David Apichell.
Photo Credit: Jeff Bellante
Gail Bennett (Mary Poppins, top) with ensemble