The UK and Ireland tour of the multi award-winning musical Mary Poppins is set to play its first performance tonight at the Leicester Curve, the first of many venues included in the 2015/16 tour schedule. Fifteen performances will be staged there between Monday 12th October 2015 and Saturday 24th October 2015, before the show moves on to the next leg of the tour at the Bristol Hippodrome.
The new touring production features an impressive assortment of star names in the cast, led by Zizi Strallen as Mary Poppins and Matt Lee as Bert.
Zizi Strallen is the second Strallen to play the beloved magical nanny on stage, following older sister Scarlett who previously played the role in the original West End production at the Prince Edward Theatre. She was most recently seen playing Lara in Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man at Sadler’s Wells, and recently performed in the West End musicals Cats (London Palladium and Merrily We Roll Along (Harold Pinter Theatre). Her other West End credits include Rock of Ages, Dirty Dancing and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella at Sadler’s Wells. She has also appeared in The Music Man at Chichester Festival Theatre, and as Penny Pingleton in Hairspray at Leicester Curve.
Matt Lee played the role of Bert in Mary Poppins when the show opened in Australia, his portrayal winning him the prestigious Helpmann Award for Best Actor in a Musical. His other theatre credits in Australia include Miss Saigon, The Witches of Eastwick, Rent, Grease and The Boy from Oz. Matt was also a permanent member of the judging panel for Australia’s So You Think You Can Dance.
Starring alongside them are Milo Twomey as George Banks, Rebecca Lock as Winifred Banks, Penelope Woodman as Miss Andrew, Wendy Ferguson as Mrs Brill, Grainne Renihan as Bird Woman and Blair Anderson as Robertson Ay, joined by Yves Adang, Abby Bebbington, Greg Bernstein, Jabari Braham, Matthew Caputo, Sophie Caton, Jennifer Davison, Lisa Dent, Joe Dockree, Maria Garrett, Hannah Grace, Graham Hoadly, Jacqueline Hughes, Thomas-Lee Kidd, Antony Lawrence, Adam Margilewski, Anu Ogunmefun, Ben Oliver, Stephanie Powell, Edwin Ray, Adam Rhys-Charles, Sam Salter, John Stacey, Christine Tucker, Alexandra Waite-Roberts, Wreh-Asha Walton and Scott Waugh.
The magical story of the world’s favourite Nanny arriving on Cherry Tree Lane has been triumphantly and spectacularly brought to the stage with dazzling choreography, incredible effects and unforgettable songs, including such classics as ‘Jolly Holiday’, ‘Feed The Birds’, ‘Step In Time’ and ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’.
The stage version of Mary Poppins is brilliantly adapted from the wonderful stories by PL Travers and the Walt Disney film. The musical has a book by Julian Fellowes and was co-created by Cameron Mackintosh, and is a co-production between Mackintosh and Disney. The producer for Disney Theatrical Productions is Thomas Schumacher. It features the original music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, along with new songs and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Directed by Richard Eyre, there is also co-direction and choreography is by Matthew Bourne, with co-choreography by Stephen Mear. set and costume design is by Bob Crowley with lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Paul Groothuis and orchestrations by William David Brohn. The International Tour of Mary Poppins is directed by Anthony Lyn and James Powell with original choreography adapted by Geoffrey Garratt. Musical supervision is by Stephen Brooker.
Mary Poppins made its world debut at the Bristol Hippodrome in 2004 shortly before premiering in the West End. It opened at the Prince Edward Theatre on 15th December 2004, with Laura Michelle Kelly starring in the title role alongside Gavin Lee as Bert, and ran for over three years, winning two Oliver Awards. The Broadway production opened in November 2006 and won a Tony Award and two Drama Desk Awards, running for more than six years. Subsequent productions have played all around the world.
Mary Poppins last toured the UK in 2008/09 with Caroline Sheen in the title role, later replaced by Lisa O’Hare. The new UK and Ireland tour was announced by Cameron Mackintosh in February 2015.
The full tour schedule can be found below:
Leicester Curve (12th-24th October 2015)
Bristol Hippodrome (29th October-28th November 2015)
Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin (3rd December 2015-9th January 2016)
Palace Theatre, Manchester (20th January-5th March 2016)
Birmingham Hippodrome (9th March-23rd April 2016)
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh (27th April-21st May 2016)
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton (25th May-19th June 2016)
Theatre Royal, Norwich (29th June-30th July 2016)
Theatre Royal, Plymouth (3rd August-3rd September 2016)
Theatre Royal, Newcastle (8th September-29th October 2016)
Break a leg to everyone in the cast of Mary Poppins for their first show at the Leicester Curve tonight!
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25