Gail Bennett Stars as MARY POPPINS, Beginning Tonight at Ogunquit Playhouse
Mary Poppins is set to fly over the rooftops of London and into the Ogunquit Playhouse tonight, July 30 to August 30! This family musical features the delightful songs from the cherished Disney film including "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and "Step in Time." Winner of 44 major theatre awards from around the globe, Mary Poppins has captivated audiences for generations with its enchanting story, unforgettable songs and dazzling dance numbers.
Gail Bennett will return to the Ogunquit Playhouse stage to reprise her role from the National Tour as Mary Poppins and Broadway actor Tony Mansker will return to the role of Bert after a four year run in the original Broadway production. Flying by Foy, theatrical flying experts, is helping the Ogunquit Playhouse create much of the magic and special effects for this production.
Gail Bennett performed the title role in Mary Poppins over 100 times on the First National Tour and regional premiere. She was last seen at the Ogunquit Playhouse in 2010 as Maria in the Rogers and Hammerstein beloved classic The Sound of Music opposite Rex Smith. Previously she appeared as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady opposite Tony Award winner Jefferson Mays. She performed in the Las Vegas and Hollywood Bowl companies of Mel Brooks' The Producers, directed by Susan Stroman and at many of the best regional theatres in the country from Maine to California. Her roles include Marian Paroo in The Music Man opposite Davis Gaines, Janet Van der Graaff in The Drowsy Chaperone with Sally Struthers, Irene Malloy in Hello, Dolly, Betty Schaeffer in Sunset Boulevard, Betty Haynes in White Christmas, and Belle in A Christmas Carol with Christopher Lloyd and John Goodman.
"Playing Mary Poppins for the Ogunquit Playhouse is like coming home in more ways than one!" said Ms. Bennett. "Having performed the role over 100 times, I am truly at home in Ms. Poppins' shoes. So, I'm thrilled to be bringing her to Ogunquit, my favorite place to perform."
Tony Mansker, an original cast member of the Broadway production of Mary Poppins makes his Ogunquit Playhouse debut as Bert. Mr. Mansker has performed in regional theatres across the U. S. and performed in The Wizard of Oz as the Tin Man, Fiddler on the Roof as Motel, 42nd Street as Andy Lee and in The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. He was seen recently in the both the international and U.S. tour of West Side Story.
Tony Award nominee Christiane Noll joins the cast as Mrs. Banks. She has appeared in many Broadway productions and National Tours including Chaplin for which she received a Drama Desk award. For her performance in Ragtime she received both a Tony and a Drama Desk nomination, as well as a Helen Hayes award. For her performance in Urinetown she received an Ovation Award. Other performances include Mambo Kings, Jekyll & Hyde, Grease, Miss Saigon, City of Angels and South Pacific. She has also appeared in both film and television, most recently in The Sound of Music Live! as Sister Margaretta. She has also appeared as a guest soloist with over 100 symphony orchestras and performed opposite Placido Domingo at the Washington National Opera.
Jonathan Rayson will play George Banks. He has appeared on Broadway in Little Shop of Horrors as Seymour and A Year with Frog and Toad. National Tours include Little Shop of Horrors and Legally Blonde. Off- Broadway he has performed in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change!, Adrift in Macao and That Time of the Year. Mr. Rayson has also appeared in regional theatre productions across the U.S. including Next to Normal at Pioneer Theatre, Arkansas Repertory and Kauffman Center, at Goodspeed Musicals in Carousel, and Paper Mill's production of Hello, Dolly!
Sandy Rosenberg returns to the Ogunquit Playhouse to play Bird Lady. She appeared last season as Frau Blucher in the smash hit Young Frankenstein the Musical. Ms. Rosenberg has appeared on Broadway in The Scarlet Pimpernel and Mamma Mia.
The Ogunquit Playhouse is thrilled to have Shaun Kerrison, return from England to direct Mary Poppins. Mr. Kerrison was last in Ogunquit in 2012 to direct the Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic South Pacific for which he received both a BroadwayWorld and IRNE Award Nomination for Best Director. He also directed the U.S. regional premiere of Sunset Boulevard at the Ogunquit Playhouse starring Stephanie Powers (BroadwayWorld and IRNE Award Nominations for Best Director) as well as the all new productions of Les Miserables and My Fair Lady (IRNE Award Nomination Best Director) for the Ogunquit stage. He will return to the U.S. at the end of summer to direct The Witches of Eastwick for the Ogunquit Playhouse after reuniting with conductor John Wilson to direct Kiss Me Kate for the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. On Broadway, Mr. Kerrison was the Resident Director of Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theatre. He was the Associate Director for the Broadway revival of Les Miserables at the Broadhurst Theatre and he redirected the National Theatres Production of My Fair Lady for its 50th Anniversary U.S. National Tour. Mr. Kerrison has recently directed the European premiere of Bonnie and Clyde at Arts Ed. with Olivier award winning choreographer, Bill Deamer and the Scandinavian Premiere of Shrek the Musical in Sweden.
Lisa Stevens will choreograph Mary Poppins The Broadway Musical for Ogunquit. She has choreographed shows for regional theatres throughout North America including Spamalot and Xanadu at the Arts Club Theater in Vancouver, Canada; Mary Poppins, Anne of Green Gables, Cats, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, 25th Annual...Spelling Bee for Theater Calgary and First Wives Club for the Old Globe in San Diego. Her Off-Broadway productions include Bingo! The Musical. Ms. Stevens has choreographed many U.S. and U. K. National Tours including Dolly Parton's 9 to 5; Bombay Dreams and the world premiere of Disney's High School Musical at London's West End, as well as in Australia, Japan and Spain.
Special effects in the musical version of Mary Poppins will be provided by Flying by Foy. Ogunquit Playhouse has hired the most prolific and widely-respected theatrical flying service in the world to allow Mary Poppins to fly over the Ogunquit stage and to help Bert to do some fancy footwork as well! The company was established in 1957 by Peter Foy, whose innovative techniques and patented mechanical inventions revolutionized theatrical flight. Throughout his lifetime, Peter Foy applied his artistic vision and mechanical ingenuity to the challenge of safely flying performers in a variety of different and often difficult circumstances. It was his creation that helped define Mary Martin's barnstorming performance as Peter Pan for the 1954 Broadway musical. Since then Foy has introduced a series of wholly new flying systems, each created to remedy a problem or redefine a flying aesthetic. Ogunquit Playhouse is thrilled to have a renowned industry leader on board to provide the magic for its production of Mary Poppins the Musical.
Tickets are on sale now. Single ticket prices start at $39 per show. To learn more about becoming an Ogunquit Playhouse member or season subscriber, or to purchase tickets and gift certificates, visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org or call the Box Office at 207-646-5511.
Next on stage is the American Northeast premiere of Cameron Mackintosh's hit musical stage adaptation of The Witches of Eastwick, September 3 to 27. This sexy new musical comedy is based on the Warner Brothers hit motion picture starring Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon and Cher about small-town New England women who wish for the man of their dreams - and they get far more than they bargain for when the devil incarnate arrives to liven things up! "They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, they're altogether ooky!" The Addams Family closes the Ogunquit season October 1 through 26.