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OVST’s “Mary Poppins” Takes Flight July 16-Aug. 2

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Ohio Valley Summer Theater (OVST) is continuing its 64-year tradition of providing family entertainment with Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins, opening tonight and continuing through Aug. 2 at Ohio University’s Elizabeth Evans Baker Theater.

The musical, based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney film, was updated in 2006 with additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe for the Broadway stage. The production delighted Broadway audiences for more than 2,500 performances and received nominations for nine Olivier and seven TONY Awards, including Best Musical  before closing in early 2013, making the work available for production by regional theater groups like OVST.

Mary Poppins (center) is portrayed by Bonnie Hall. (Marlo Tinkham/OVST)
Mary Poppins (center) is portrayed by Bonnie Hall. (Marlo Tinkham/OVST)

In this production, a somewhat darker Mary Poppins emerges. Bert (Gregory Hofmeister), a jack-of-all-trades, introduces us to early 1900s London and to the troubled Banks family. Young Jane (Zéva Gribou) and Michael (Logan Hall) have sent many a nanny packing before Mary Poppins (Bonnie Hall) arrives on their doorstep. Using a combination of magic and common sense, Mary must teach the family how to value one other again.

Mary Poppins takes the children on many magical and memorable adventures, but Jane and Michael are not alone in feeling Poppins’ lessons: Even grown-ups can learn a lesson or two from the nanny who advises that “Anything can happen if you let it.”

Ohio Valley Summer Theater’s inaugural production of Disney and Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins is directed by Aurora Held, a master’s degree candidate in the Ohio University Division of Theater’s Professional Directing Program.

Logan Hall ("Michael Banks") and Zéva Gribou ("Jane Banks") star in OVST's production of "Mary Poppins." (Marlo Tinkham/OVST)
Logan Hall (“Michael Banks”) and Zéva Gribou (“Jane Banks”) star in OVST’s production of “Mary Poppins.” (Marlo Tinkham/OVST)

According to OVST Managing Director Marlo Tinkham, the non-profit organization has been anxiously waiting for this title to become available.

“The recent success of the Broadway version and the appeal it has to both young and old are a perfect fit for OVST’s unique family of community and student talent,” she said.

As an added bonus, the public is invited to have tea (spoonful of sugar optional) with Mary Poppins on Friday, July 18 from 2-4 p.m. in Baker Center’s 1804 Lounge.

The Elizabeth Evans Baker Theater is located inside Kantner Hall on Ohio University’s Athens campus. For more information, including show dates and times, visit OVST on Facebook or email

Members of the cast and crew also stopped by Studio B to discuss some of their favorite parts of the production process, and Mary Poppins herself, Bonnie Hall, talked about her inspiration for the character.