Meet the Artists
Mary Poppins Cast

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Mary Poppins Creative Team


RICHARD M. SHERMAN AND ROBERT B. SHERMAN (Original Music and Lyrics) The Sherman Brothers’ career as leading composer/ lyricists in family entertainment spans almost 50 years and includes two Academy Awards for Best Score and Best Song for Mary Poppins. Their Disney credits include the films The Jungle BookThe Parent TrapBedknobs and BroomsticksThe Sword and the StoneThe AristocatsThe Happiest Millionaire, the Winnie the Pooh series, and of course Mary Poppins. They composed song scores for Snoppy Come HomeCharlotte’s WebOver Here! and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - with its Oscar nominated title song. The Sherman Brothers created screenplays and song scores for Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry FinnThe Slipper and the Rose (with co-author Bryan Forbes), and The Magic of Lassie which also earned them their 9th Academy Award nomination for Best Song. More recent credits include the book Walt’s Time - a wonderful autobiographical and pictorial journey through their song-writing years; the Disney hit animated feature The Tigger Movie, the stage musical Busker Alley starring Tommy Tune in the United States and Beverly Hills Cop 3. In addition to their Oscars, other honors awarded to the Sherman Brothers include 3 Grammys, 24 Gold and Platinum Albums, as well as a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame.

GEORGE STILES AND ANTHONY DREWE (New Songs and Additional Lyrics) are a multi award-winning musical theatre writing partnership. Writing credits include Honk! (National Theatre, UK Tour and Worldwide), Mary Poppins (West End, Broadway, International and UK Tour), Cameron Mackintosh’s new version of Half A Sixpence (Chichester Festival Theatre and West End), Travels With My Aunt (Minerva Theatre, Chichester), The Wind in the Willows (UK Tour and West End), Betty Blue Eyes (West End and UK Tour), Just So (Tricycle Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre and International)), Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Royal Festival Hall and International), Soho Cinders (Soho Theatre and in concert at the Queen’s Theatre), The Three Little Pigs (West End, UK Tour and International Tour), Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Singapore Repertory Theatre), and The Three Billy Goats Gruff (Singapore Repertory Theatre). Future projects include a stage version of Robert Harling’s film Soapdish and a new musical with writer/director Jerry Mitchell.

JULIAN FELLOWES (Book) Educated at Ampleforth and Magdalene College, Cambridge, Julian Fellowes is a multi-award- winning actor, writer, director and producer. As creator, sole writer and executive producer of the hit television series Downton Abbey, Fellowes has won three Emmy awards and a Golden Globe. Fellowes received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Gosford Park. His work was also honored by the Writers Guild of America, the New York Film Critics’ Circle and the National Society of Film Critics for Best Screenplay. Other writing credits for film include Piccadilly JimVanity FairYoung VictoriaThe TouristRomeo & Juliet, and the three-part drama Doctor Thorne for ITV. Fellowes also wrote and directed the award-winning films Separate Lies and From Time to Time. Fellowes wrote the books for the Tony-nominated stage production of Mary Poppins and for School of Rock: The Musical. Fellowes has authored two novels: the international bestsellers Snobsand Past Imperfect.

L. WALTER STEARNS (Director) As Executive Director of Mercury Theater Chicago, Walter is a champion for Chicago artists and productions and has overseen the physical and cultural revival of a beautiful theatre. He has directed over 30 musicals including his Jeff Award winning productions of The Addams Family and Ragtime as well as the Jeff Award nominated productions of (Jeff nomination - Direction) The Producers, The Addams Family, Avenue Q, The Color Purple, Barnum-The Circus Musical, The Christmas Schooner, Nine the Musical, Ragtime, Gypsy, The Secret Garden, Sweeney Todd, Company, A New Brain, Into the Woods, Merrily We Roll Along and Falsettos. He was pleased to produce The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes, which last season was awarded the Jeff Award for New Work. Walter has received the Jeff Award, BroadwayWorld Award, After Dark Awards, the Larry Sloan Advocate Award (for his support of Season of Concern), the first Guy Adkins award for his contributions to the art of musical theatre and the Franny Award as a distinguished alumnus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

EUGENE DIZON (Music Director/Conductor) is thankful to be working on one of his favorite childhood movies, Mary Poppins! Last season, Eugene musical directed the 6th season of The Christmas Schooner and The Producers. At the Mercury, he has music directed the Jeff award winning production of The Addams FamilyAvenue Q (BroadwayWorld Award), The Color Purple (BroadwayWorld nomination), Barnum, 6 seasons of The Christmas Schooner and A Grand Night For Singing (Jeff nomination). Eugene has been musical directing for over two decades garnering 6 Jeff Awards (Ragtime, Sweeney Todd, Amadeus, Company, Into the Woods, Merrily We Roll Along), as well as Jeff nominations for A Grand Night for Singing, Candide, Nine the Musical, Closer Than Ever, A Little Night Music, Passion, Colette Collage, and Falsettos; 4 After Dark Awards (Ragtime, Sweeney Todd, A New Brain, Merrily We Roll Along). Eugene is honored to have been inducted into the Chicago Filipino Hall of Fame. Eugene has co-produced 4 “Season of Carols” CD’s (with the amazing Cory Goodrich) which features some of the brightest talent in Chicago theater today, for which Season of Concern awarded him the Larry Sloan Advocate Award (2013). Next for Eugene will be music directing Hair at Mercury Theater Chicago. For Jeffrey.

BRENDA DIDIER (Choreographer) is overjoyed to be back at the Mercury Theater Chicago where her choreography credits include The Christmas SchoonerThe Addams FamilyThe Color Purple and Barnum. Ms. Didier is a multiple Jeff Award recipient in both direction and choreography, and the recipient of After Dark Awards, BroadwayWorld awards and the National Youth Theatre award. She is the proud owner and Artistic Director of the Lincolnshire Academy of Dance, celebrating its 19th season. Other credits include work at the Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, Second City, Theatre at the Center, BoHo, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, Stage Left, Porchlight Music Theatre, Six Flags Great America, Busch Gardens Virginia, Cirque Shanghai at Navy Pier, T-Mobile’s national commercial “Home for the Holidays”, The Kenny Rogers Christmas Tour and the University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin and Carthage College. Thank you for supporting live theatre! Thank you to Walter, Eugene, Kristi, Andrew and this incredible design team, band and cast for the collaboration! Love to Mike and Mom always!

ADAM VENESS (Scenic Designer) is happy to working with Mercury Theater Chicago. He is the resident scenic designer at Theo Ubique where he received Jeff nominations for his designs of Light in the Piazza and Passion. He is also the resident scenic designer at Light Opera Works where he has served for more than 40 productions. His work can currently be seen in the upcoming productions of Upright Grand at Citadel Theater, The Most Happy Fella at Theo Ubique, 10 out of 12 at Theater Wit, where he received a Jeff nomination for Scenic Design for The New Sincerity, and Little Miss Sunshine at The Chicago Theater Workshop. www.venessdesign.com

NICK BELLEY, U.S.A. (Lighting Designer) Mercury Theater Chicago: The Producers, The Addams Family, Avenue Q and The Color Purple. Regional credits include: Rent and Sweeney Todd (Paramount Theatre); Sirens of Song
(Milwaukee Rep); Jabari Dreams of Freedom (Chicago Children’s Theater); Cinderella: After the Ball and The Velveteen Rabbit (Marriott Theatre); Seussical (Children’s Theater of Madison); Qgents (Tour); Goosebumps: The Musical, Lovabye Dragon, The Snow, Holes, Stargirl and Spookley The Square Pumpkin (First Stage); The Mojo and the Sayso (Theatre LILA); Sondheim on Sondheim, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill and Pal Joey (Porchlight Music Theatre); Hank Williams: Lost Highway (American Blues Theater). Nick is the designer for Illumination Sensation for the State Fair of Texas as well as having designed over a dozen shows for the Cedar Fair amusement parks across the country. www.nickbelley.com

RACHEL BOYLAN (Costume Designer) is happy to be back designing at Mercury Theater Chicago where she previously designed costumes for I Left My Heart and Avenue Q. Some of her other design credits include: Leavings (Polarity Ensemble Theater); All Girl Dracula (The Mammals); Who Too (The Right Brian Project); Der Kaiser von Atlantis (New Millennium Orchestra); Antigone and Henry Moore is Melting (Cold Basement Dramatics); Hello & Goodbye (Bluebird Arts). In addition to working as a costume designer, Rachel has worked for the past five years as wardrobe supervisor at Mercury and as a costume stitcher around town. Love always to her family and especially her husband Brian! www.rachelboylan.com

MIKE ROSS (Sound Designer) is an owner of Sound Production & Lighting LLC, a full- service production, rental, and sales company. Mike / SPL has handled audio, video, and lighting production for clients across the country, ranging from corporate events for MillerCoors, Nike, The Chicago Bears, United, Volkswagen, The Chicago Consular Corps to national music acts, educational productions, and installations. Previous theatrical sound designs for Mercury Theater Chicago include The Producers, The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes, The Christmas Schooner (2011 thru 2016), The Addams Family, Avenue Q, The Color Purple, Barnum, and A Grand Night for Singing. Mike also served as the audio department head for the Chicago production of Million Dollar Quartet since 2012 until the show’s closing in 2016. For more information, please visit www.spl-design.com.

DJ REED (Properties Designer) is excited to return to the Mercury and be part of this magical production! Mary Poppins is one of his favorites and he hopes young audiences will be inspired by this production as he was by the movie. It is all about imagination and learning money cannot buy you happiness - the best advice for every young artist. He spends his days constructing costume crafts with the amazing team at Chicago Shakespeare and dedicates this and every show to Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Everidge, two amazing women who never let him give up on his dreams.

ANDREW WATERS (Assistant Choreographer) is elated to be back at the Mercury Theater Chicago working with this wonderful artistic team. He most recently collaborated on the creation of Music Theatre International’s new School Edition of West Side Story as well as choreographing the production. He also had the pure delight of assisting Brenda Didier on the Mercury’s Jeff Award winning production of The Addams Family. Other Mercury productions include The Color Purple, Barnum, and previous years of The Christmas Schooner. Andrew has been a freelance choreographer of over 60 productions and has been a proud member of Actors’ Equity for 26 years. He would like to thank you and your family for supporting live theater and this Disney favorite.

KATIE-SARAH PHILLIPS (Child Supervisor) is thrilled to be returning to her Mercury Theater Chicago home where she has spent 5 seasons child wrangling onThe Christmas Schooner. Other regional credits include: Gypsy at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre (Child Wrangler), Crazy For You (Draper/Stitcher) andHazel (Child Wrangler) at Drury Lane Oakbrook; The Convert at Goodman Theatre (Wardrobe); Dreamgirls at Marriott Theatre (Stitcher). Katie-Sarah also freelances for Ford Models as a tailor and child wrangler for commercial photo shoots.

KRISTI J. MARTENS. A.E.A. (Production Stage Manager) is happy to be at the Mercury Theater Chicago after being the Production Stage Manager for I Left My Heart: A Salute to Music of Tony Bennett. Kristi was also the PSM at the Mercury for The ProducersThe Man Who Murdered Sherlock HolmesThe Addams Family (Joseph Jefferson Award Winner - Best Musical Mid-Sized Theater), Avenue Q and The Color Purple. Some other theaters that she has worked at: Drury Lane Theater (Oakbrook Terrace), Northlight Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman Theatre, The Royal George Theater, Drury Lane Evergreen Park, Drury Lane Water Tower, Fox Valley Repertory, Oak Park Festival Theater, Fulton Opera House (Lancaster, PA), Maine State Music Theater (Brunswick, ME), Theater At the Center (Munster, IN), WYO Theater (Sheridan, WY), Carousel Dinner Playhouse (Akron, OH), Dallas Theater Center (Dallas, TX). A proud Equity member for over 27 years, Kristi started stage managing with children’s theater. Enjoy!

JERI FREDERICKSON, A.E.A. (Assistant Stage Manager) is a freelance stage manager in Chicago who has worked at Lookingglass, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Chicago Children’s Theatre, First Folio, and others. She is an ensemble member of Irish Theatre of Chicago. Thanks, Kristi, for another adventure.

CHRISTINE ADAIRE (Dialect Coach) is a Professor at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. She began her career as an actor, later apprenticed with the renowned voice specialist Kristin Linklater and has been a master teacher of Linklater’s technique since 1987. Adaire has coached Tony Award-winning actress Deanna Dunagan, Tom Hardy, Keeanu Reeves, Mathew Modine and Marlo Thomas, among others. She has worked on more than 150 productions at prestigious venues (including the Guthrie, Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman, Oregon Shakespeare and Steppenwolf theater companies), as well as the first and second national tours of Mary Poppins. Her current area of research is Transgender Voice Modification.

NEIL TOBIN (Magic Consultant) After bringing mystery to The Addams Family, Neil Tobin is returning to Mercury Theater Chicago as the Magic Consultant. He is the creator of the solo show, Supernatural Chicago, which ran for 10 years of weekly performances at Castle nightclub. Neil has advised exhibits for the Chicago History Museum and the Elmhurst Historical Society, been profiled in Time Out Chicago and the Chicago Tribune, and has performed on broadcasts for The Travel Channel, The Biography Channel, WBEZ-FM, and WGN-TV (opposite Oscar nominee Gary Sinise). He can be seen on the DVD release of the thriller, White Noise, heard on CD narrating Peter and the Werewolf with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and found performing at corporate and private events nationwide. Neil serves on the Board of Directors for the Psychic Entertainers Association, and is the recipient of a Presidential Citation from the Society of American Magicians. Details at NecromancerEvents.com.

RUSS WALKO (Puppet Design and Creation) is returning to Mercury Theater Chicago after building the beautiful Jeff nominated puppets of Avenue Q in 2014. He has built and performed puppets on the television shows Community and The Simpsons. His puppets were featured in the Broadway production of The Pee-Wee Herman Show Live, and is no stranger to Chicago theater, having created puppets for multiple StarKids Productions.