Mary, Mary are you out there?
Does anyone know an Aussie Mary Poppins?
The producers of the extravagant new theatre musical Mary Poppins, set to premiere in Melbourne in July, have announced an all-star principal cast including Marina Prior, Debra Byrne, Matt Lee and Philip Quast, but there was one notable omission.
They can't find an actress to play Mary Poppins.
After extensive auditions in Australia of potential Marys, producers Cameron Mackintosh, Thomas Schumacher and director Richard Eyre have issued a public plea for Marys to step - or fly via umbrella - forward.
They suggested potential Marys post a video of themselves on YouTube.
"We just haven't found one yet," Mackintosh said.
"We need someone who is a bit other-worldly as well as being a wonderful soprano, having a very British quality and they need to dance very well.
"We have seen some very talented people, but they are just not exactly right for Mary Poppins."
Mackintosh, Schumacher and Eyre made their plea in Los Angeles at the red carpet premiere of the LA Mary Poppins production.
The other key roles for the Melbourne production, to be staged at Her Majesty's Theatre, are a who's who of Australian stage stars.
Prior will play Winifred Banks, Byrne is The Bird Woman, Quast is George Banks, Sally Anne Upton is Mrs Brill, Judi Connell is Miss Andrew and Christopher Rickerby is Robertson Ay.
The producers said Lee, a judge on TV's So You Think You Can Dance Australia and theatre productions including Miss Saigon, The Boy From Oz and RENT, blew them away with his audition for the key role of Bert.
They plan on introducing special segments in the show to make the most of his talent.
"Matt Lee turned the material upside down and you felt no-one else could play the part than him," Mackintosh said of Lee's audition.
Auditions for the role of Mary will be held in Brisbane, Perth and New Zealand in coming months.
The producers and director are adamant the actress who wins the role will be Australian.
They said potential Australian candidates could be currently working in overseas theatre productions. They also said their Mary may not be a high-profile actress, but an unknown.
"The actor who plays Mary Poppins needs to have an extra-terrestrial quality," Eyre said.
"I'm pretty confident someone will turn up."
Mary Poppins was created by Australian journalist and novelist PL Travers in 1934 and Disney turned the books into a film musical starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in 1964.
A Disney theatre production of Mary Poppins premiered on London's West End in 2004 and opened on New York's Broadway in 2006.
Disney is backing the Melbourne show.
"If there is a Mary watching, turn up," Schumacher said.
"Please ring us. Fly in."
For more information go to www.marypoppinsthemusical.com.au
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