The University of Southern Mississippi will present Mary Poppins Feb. 26 – March 1, 2015. Tickets go on sale in November, with first priority given to Symphony season ticket holders and members of Partners for the Arts.
The performances will mark the grand re-opening of the university’s Mannoni Performing Arts Center, which was damaged during the Feb. 2013 tornado that struck the Hattiesburg campus.
When production wrapped up on the university’s much-acclaimed musical Sweeney Todd, director Mike Lopinto immediately began searching for a follow-up. Though a musical review, Showbiz Showstoppers, had already been slated for the following year, the next full-scale musical had to be something grand.
“I began searching for a musical that showcased the exceptional singers of our School of Music and was a bit more cheery,” Lopinto said. “After all the stress of the tornado recovery - that is ongoing - we all needed a smile.”
Lopinto poured over the catalog of classic musicals. As it became apparent that this new production would serve as the grand reopening of the renovated Mannoni Performing Arts Center, he began thinking bigger.
“This beloved Broadway smash has everything necessary for a grand reopening - great music, wonderful sets and costumes and, of course, magic,” Lopinto said. “It’s just the smile-inducing, family fare that would be a fitting return to the university’s Mannoni Performing Arts Center.”
Auditions for Mary Poppins will be held Aug. 21 – 24. Community members are invited to audition on Aug. 22 and 23, with Aug. 21 being reserved for Southern Miss students only. Complete audition information and requirements may be found online at www.usm.edu/music/poppins.