“Mary Poppins” Begins Previews Wednesday, July 14 at Her Magesty’s Theatre in Melbourne

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh's eagerly anticipated Australian production of Mary Poppins begins performances Wednesday evening, July 14 at Her Majesty's Theatre in preparation for a Thursday, July 29 opening night.

The Australian production stars Verity Hunt-Ballard in the title role and Matt Lee as Bert. The cast also features Phil Quast as George Banks, Marina Prior as Winifred Banks, Sally Anne Upton as Mrs. Brill, Debra Byrne as Bird Woman, Christopher Rickerby as Robertson Ay, Judi Connelli as Miss Andrew and David Henry as Admiral Boom.

Mary Poppins is sweeping the globe as one of the biggest stage musical successes to emerge from London or New York in recent years, grossing over $400 million at the box office and welcoming over five million guests. In addition to the Broadway production and the North American tour, Mary Poppins currently plays in Holland, where it opened on April 11. Melbourne marks the sixth major production of the title since the show premiered in London's West in End in 2004 and later toured across the UK. Additionally in 2010, Mary Poppins will open licensed productions in Sweden, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Hungary, with plans underway for future productions in Israel, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Korea, Canada and Japan.

The Melbourne engagement is a homecoming for the beloved character. Mary Poppins was born in the pen of author P.L. Travers, who herself was born in Maryborough, Queensland, and was an actor and journalist in Sydney before moving to London. The first Mary Poppins book was published in 1934 and the enduring story of the 'practically perfect nanny' has enchanted readers ever since.

A co-production by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh, this stage production is based on P.L. Travers' cherished stories and the classic 1964 Walt Disney film. The show includes the Academy Award®-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; Olivier Award-winning director Richard Eyre; and the Olivier Award-winning team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, who have composed new songs and additional music and lyrics.

Mary Poppins features such beloved songs as "Chim Chim Cher-ee," "Step In Time," "Spoonful of Sugar," "Feed The Birds," "Let's Go Fly A Kite," and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" along with new songs such as "Practically Perfect" and "Anything Can Happen."