Cheers, everyone! Today is the day you get the scoop on the casting for MARY POPPINS! Here we go! The head of our story’s “first family” is Michael Lindner as the father, “George Banks.” Michael was seen in Paramount’s THE MUSIC MAN as “Marcellus,” has toured nationally in MAMA MIA, and returns to us hot from his successes at Chicago Shakes in ROAD SHOW and playing “Shrek” himself! The mother, “Winifred Banks,” is lovely Cory Goodrich, Jeff award winning “Mother” in RAGTIME at Drury Lane and Theatre at the Center’s “June Carter Cash” in RING OF FIRE. Their children are cast in alternating performances: Charlie Babbo and Jake Helm as “Michael” and Eloise Lushina and Peyton Shaffer as “Jane.” Returning to Paramount or making their debut in the Ensemble are: Don Forston, Matt Jones, Marilyn Bogetich, Glory Kissel, Holly Stauder, Lauren Villegas, William Carlos Angulo, Courtney Cerny, Carl Draper, Cameron Edris, Allyson Graves, Tommy Lucas, Amber Mak, James Nedrud, Maggie Portman, Todd Rhoades, Laura Savage, and Will Skrip. Imagine this crew of top notch actors, singers and dancers, all of them, raising the roof in “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and the chimney sweeps in “Step in Time!” There’s “Jolly Holiday,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee” as well, directed and choreographed by Rachel Rockwell, of the current BRIGADOON enjoying an extended run at The Goodman. All this and more, folks! Let me tell you about the stars of the show: Matt Crowle as “Bert” and Emily Rohm as “Mary Poppins.” Matt is a consummate song and dance man with an elegant, warmhearted flair and comic chops to boot. I caught Matt winning audiences in the role of “Patsy” in SPAMALOT at Drury Lane fresh from his run in the show on Broadway. Multi-Jeff nominated, he’s been a knock out in everything I’ve seen him in since! And ladies and gentlemen, our “Mary Poppins,” the gorgeous Emily Rohm, returns to Paramount after her dazzling turn as “Marian” the librarian in THE MUSIC MAN and “Grace” in ANNIE here. Emily’s voice, a beautifully soaring soprano, will again captivate our audience as she is now at The Goodman and has in Drury Lane’s SWEENEY TODD and LES MISERABLES. The stars are shining bright over the rooftops of London in our MARY POPPINS!

Auditions yesterday for the children’s roles in TOMMY and our LES MISERABLES were eye opening and quite stunning. Casting these particular little ones is a tall order. As portrayed in these stories, the children endure what most of us as adults could not. More to come.

Off to a “Poppins Production Meeting” right now and see where we are with the very large and complex set and special effects. Gotta run!

My love & thanks,