Producers Cameron Mackintosh and Thomas Schumacher are pleased to announce that Gavin Lee, who originated the role of Bert in the hit Broadway and London productions of Mary Poppins, will be joining Ashley Brown, who originated the title role on Broadway, for the show's eagerly anticipated North American National Tour.
Both Brown and Lee are currently starring in Mary Poppins on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre (Broadway at West 42nd Street) and will remain on The Great White Way until a date to be determined. Their replacements in the Broadway company will be announced at a later date. The Mary Poppins North American Tour begins performances in Chicago at The Cadillac Palace Theatre on March 11, 2009. After Chicago, the tour is scheduled to play The State Theatre in Cleveland, The Fox Theatre in St. Louis, and The Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, with additional cities, venues and dates to be announced.
For her portrayal of Mary Poppins, Ashley Brown received Drama League, Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle nominations for Best Actress. Brown was first discovered by Disney Theatrical Productions in 2004, shortly after her graduation from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Just a few months out of college, she landed the leading role of Kristen in a workshop of the touring production of Disney's On the Record. She then was offered the role when the world premiere production launched later that year. Shortly after ending her run with On The Record, Brown was offered the chance to star in Beauty and the Beast and made her Broadway debut as Belle in September 2005.
Gavin Lee made his Broadway debut with Mary Poppins after originating the role of Bert in the world premiere production in London's West End. Lee received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Bert, both in NY and London, and was the recipient of the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor. Lee also received Tonyâ, Outer Critic Circle and Olivier Award nominations for Best Actor. His London theatre credits include Peggy Sue Got Married, Contact, Oklahoma!, Sondheim's Saturday Night, Crazy For You, and Me and My Girl. In addition, he has appeared in the recent film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera and Beyond The Sea.
Additional casting and information for the Mary Poppins North American Tour will be announced at a future date.
Mary Poppins, a co-production by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh, opened at the New Amsterdam Theatre on November 16, 2006, and quickly proved to be a hit with audience members and critics alike.
Based on P.L. Travers's cherished stories and the classic 1964 Walt Disney film, Mary Poppins features the Academy Awardâ-winning music and lyrics of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The stage production has been created, in collaboration with Cameron Mackintosh, by Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who has written the book, and the Olivier Award-winning team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, who have composed new songs and additional music and lyrics.