Doug Carter/Hale Centre Theatre
Mary Poppins is played by Kimberly Bunker and Bert is played by David Smith on alternate nights at the Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley.

WEST VALLEY CITY — Director John Sweeney is planning to bring his 3-year-old daughter to see "Mary Poppins" at the Hale Centre Theatre.

He thinks she'll love the iconic songs, the dancing and the story of a magical and strange governess who comes to London to address more than babysitting issues within the dysfunctional Banks family.

"It has a great family message," he said. "To be honest, I did want to direct this show because I have young children who are enamored with the songs and music."

That's also why a few special performances will be given that will allow children as young as 3 to attend.

For the older crowd, there's plenty of entertainment and action, he promised. Mary Poppins will fly over the audience with a little help from the new flying system the theater has purchased.

The role of Mary Poppins will be played by Brittany Sanders and Kimberly Bunker. David Smith and Geoff Reynolds will play the role of Bert.

"I think the biggest thing that will be different (about our 'Mary Poppins') is that we're performing on our stage in the round," Sweeney said. "We can't do a giant house. We utilize what we have to create as many spaces as we can. We actually cut away some stage space to create the rooftops of London."

He said the show is neat and fun with great songs and story, and he described it as a bridge between the stage and musical production and the Disney movie "Saving Mr. Banks."

Mr. Banks is a hard-working father who has lost touch with his wife and family. Poppins is an astute nanny who introduces fun (as in the song "A Spoonful of Sugar") and discipline, and she ultimately helps the Banks parents realize their children need their time and attention.

"It's very tender, very touching," Sweeney said.

If you go ...

What: "Mary Poppins"

Where: Hale Centre Theatre, 3333 S. Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City

When: June 13-Aug. 9 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday matinees at 12:30 and 4 p.m.; special performances for ages 3 and up June 28, July 12, 19 and 26, and Aug. 2 at 9 a.m.

How much: $32 for adults, $16 for children ages 5-11

Phone: 801-984-9000


Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years' experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at