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Heartland Festival's Mary Poppins starts Friday
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The final production of the 2015 Heartland Festival will be Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s “Mary Poppins,” in the UW–Platteville Center for the Arts July 10–26.

The production is directed by Dr. Ann Dillon Farrelly, artistic director and associate professor of theatre at UW–Platteville, and choreographed by Connie SaLoutos Furlan, who teaches public speaking and theatre courses at UW–Platteville. Jeffrey Strange, assistant professor of theatre and resident designer at UW–Platteville, is the scenic designer, and Sarah Strange, instructor of theatre and resident designer at UW–Platteville, is the costume designer. 

Joining the Heartland team this summer is lighting designer Aimee Hanyzweski, who has previously worked with the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, In Tandem Theatre, Next Act Theatre, Forward Theater and Oak Park Festival Theater.  

The festival is under the leadership of Farrelly and Michael Breitner, managing director and interim director of event services at UW–Platteville.

Paige Hauer, a working actor in Chicago, will play Mary Poppins. Hauer was last seen in the 2011 Heartland Festival as Marian Paroo in “The Music Man,” Marty in “Grease,” and Miss Liddy in “Murder Rides Again,” and completed a run of a new musical called “Sounds So Sweet” with the Black Ensemble Theatre. Other professional credits include Rose in “Dogfight,” Eve in “Children of Eden,” and Janet Van De Graaf in “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

Austin Rea, who received a Bachelor of Arts in theatre from Clarke University in Dubuque, will play the role of Bert. Rea has performed in many shows at The Grand Opera House in Dubuque. Some of his more recent roles there include Thenardier in “Les Miserables,” Fagin in “Oliver,” and Max Bialystock in “The Producers.” Rea’s most recent endeavor took him all over the country traveling with The National Theatre for Children, performing educational theatre for thousands of children. Joining Hauer and Rea, as Jane and Michael Banks, are Heartland Festival veteran youth ensemble performers, Lizzy Haag and Kale Johnson.

UW–Platteville alumni, faculty, staff and students involved in “Mary Poppins” include Brent Schwert as George Banks, Hilary Baker as Winifred Banks, Dr. Susan Savage Day as Miss Andrew and Bird Woman, Lizzie Hansen as Mrs. Corry, Deb Meyer as Mrs. Brill and in the ensemble, Tyler Tollefson as Robertson Aye and ensemble, Bill Haskins as Admiral Boom and policeman, Savion Kirk as Neleus and ensemble, Michael Black as Bank Chairman and ensemble, Daniel Hemming as Von Hussler and ensemble, Andrew Jonas as Northbrook and ensemble, and Lyrica Daentl in the ensemble. 

Other community members involved in “Mary Poppins” include Lydia Sigwarth as Katie Nanna, Isabelle Sander as Annie and ensemble, Elizabeth Romaine as Fannie and ensemble, Elizabeth Biddick in the ensemble, and Leann Rewey in the ensemble. This year’s youth ensemble includes Eliana Davis, Geoffrey Erickson, Ellie Hemming, Gwen Johnson, Rachel Romaine, Miranda Sexton, Kaelyn Weigel and Kenadee Weigel.

“This is a big show, but we have a talented team who has been working very hard to bring the magic of Mary Poppins to life,” said Farrelly. “It is sure to be a wonderful experience for kids of all ages.”

“Mary Poppins” will be held July 10–11, 15–16, 18, 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. and July 12, 19, 25 and 26 at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $25 for adults, $18 for UW–Platteville students and $15 for those younger than 18. 

On July 19, audience members will enjoy a free Dilly Bar, courtesy of Dairy Queen in Platteville. On July 25, audience members will have the opportunity to meet the cast members after the show.

The Heartland Festival will also include Missoula Children’s Theatre’s performance of “Rapunzel” on July 17 and 18. Children participating in this weeklong theatre experience registered in April and will spend the week of July 13–18 working with a two-member team of professional actors to produce the show.

The festival will also include a Cabaret Night on July 24. The night will include festival performers showcasing their talents with a variety of Broadway favorites. Tickets are $10. For tickets, go to 


For more information on this year’s festival, visit