6th Global Production of MARY POPPINS Opens in Melbourne, 7/29

6th Global Production of MARY POPPINS Opens in Melbourne, 7/29

MARY POPPINS is sweeping the globe as one of the biggest stage musical successes to emerge from London or New York in recent years. Worldwide to date, MARY POPPINS has grossed over $400 million and has welcomed over 5.3 million guests. Additionally, during 2010 MARY POPPINS opens in Sweden, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Hungary, with plans already underway for future productions in Israel, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Korea, Canada and Japan. Following a successful three-year run in 2008 at the Prince Edward Theatre in London's West End, a U.K. tour of MARY POPPINS commenced in summer 2008 and concluded its acclaimed run in Cardiff, Wales in April 2009.

MARY POPPINS flys home to Australia when it opens at Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne on July 29, 2010. After a nationwide search of more than 1,000 performers that captured the attention of the Australian public and press for more than five months, Verity Hunt-Ballard was the "practically perfect" choice to assume this iconic title role.

Not only does the show's popularity span the globe, but the Broadway show and the North American tour draw huge audiences. Consistently among Broadway's top-grossing shows, MARY POPPINS has played over 1400 performances since its official opening on November 16, 2006. Now in its fourth smash year at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York, starring the original UK company "Mary Poppins," Laura Michelle Kelly, the Broadway production has been seen by over two million theatergoers and grossed over $ 170 million to date, recouping its initial investment within 52 weeks of its premiere.

The MARY POPPINS NORTH AMERICAN TOUR celebrated its first anniversary on March 25, 2010 and announced that it had achieved the milestone of being the most successful new touring theatrical event in 2009. Original UK touring company star, Caroline Sheen, reprises her role as "Mary Poppins" while original London and Broadway star, Gavin Lee, stars as "Bert."  

Disney Theatrical Productions was formed in 1994 and operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher. In November 1997, Disney opened The Lion King which received six 1998 Tony® Awards including Best Musical, and the 1998 GRAMMY® Award for Best Musical Show Album. In addition to the Broadway and North American touring companies, The Lion King can currently be seen onstage in London, Hamburg, Tokyo, and Paris. May 2009 marked the first-ever opening of a Disney Theatrical show in Las Vegas: The Lion King at Mandalay Bay. The company's inaugural production, Beauty and the Beast, played its final Broadway performance in July 2007 and is currently performing in Argentina, Italy, Japan and Russia. Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida opened on Broadway in March 2000, received four 2000 Tony® Awards and the 2000 GRAMMY® Award for Best Musical Show Album, and ran for four-and-a-half years. In 2009, Aida re-opened in Tokyo. Mary Poppins, a co-production by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh, opened in December 2004 in London, completed its successful run in January 2008 and recently finished a smash-hit UK tour. The Tony Award®-winning Broadway production opened in November 2006 at the New Amsterdam Theatre, where it continues to play, the first US tour began in spring 2009 and Holland just became home to an open-ended run, which began in April 2010. An upcoming production in Australia is set for July 2010. Tarzan®, which opened on Broadway in the 2006-2007 season, is now an international hit with an award-winning production in Germany and a record-setting one in Holland that closed in May 2009. In January 2008, The Little Mermaid opened on Broadway with a score composed by eight-time Academy Award® winner Alan Menken and the legendary Howard Ashman, with new lyrics by Glenn Slater, and was the #1 selling new musical of that year. Having completed its run in August 2009 playing to sold-out summer audiences, a national tour announcement is anticipated in the near future. In addition to producing musicals, DTP licenses stage performance rights to more than a dozen Disney musicals to schools, community groups and professional theatres around the world through Music Theatre International.

Cameron Mackintosh (Producer and Co-Creator) has been producing for over 40 years, during which time he has put on hundreds of productions including Cats, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera - the three longest-running musicals in Broadway history - and Miss Saigon. He also produced Little Shop of Horrors, Side by Side by Sondheim, Follies, Martin Guerre and The Witches of Eastwick as well as acclaimed revivals of My Fair Lady, Oklahoma! and Oliver! which is about to re-open in a huge new production at London's Theatre Royal Drury Lane starring Rowan Atkinson as Fagin. Mary Poppins is a subject that he has wanted to do with Disney for more than 30 years. In 2006 Les Misérables overtook Cats to become the longest-running musical in the world. The masterpiece, MY FAIR LADY will be his first film project. Cameron owns seven theatres in London's West End all but one of which have been spectacularly restored. In 1990 he inaugurated the Cameron Mackintosh Chair of Contemporary Theatre at St. Catherine's College, Oxford University where he is also an Honorary Fellow and Member of the Court of Benefactors - the current professor is Kevin Spacey. He is President of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, an Honorary Doctor of Literature at UCL and holds an Honorary Fellowship at Trinity College of Music. In 1992 he was presented with the Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre, and in 2002 he was given the Oscar Hammerstein Award. His company received the 1995 Queen's Award for Export Achievement, in 2006 he received the Award for his Outstanding Contribution to British Tourism and he was knighted in the 1996 New Year's Honours for his services to British theatre.

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