Heather Reed and Justin Moe in Howard County Summer Theatre’s production of Cameron Mackintosh’s “Mary Poppins.”
Heather Reed and Justin Moe in Howard County Summer Theatre’s production of Cameron Mackintosh’s “Mary Poppins.” (Courtesy Photo)

Howard County Summer Theatre celebrates its 43rd season with a production of Cameron Mackintosh's "Mary Poppins" on June 29, 30 and July 1, 2, 5-8, at Mt. Hebron High School.

This is the first flying production the company has done, as both the main character, Mary Poppins, and Bert, a chimney sweep, will take flight during the show, according to Tom Sankey, who has been directing HCST productions for 34 years.


"We have been working with a company certified and trained to install a flying system," Sankey said. "Safety is our number one issue. It has been very, very challenging technically and musically."

While the show is "obviously magical," Sankey said it is really about family.

"I am really trying to focus the show on the family. They are why Mary comes in the first place," Sankey said, of the story that tells of a mysterious nanny who answers an ad written, but never sent, by the children of the Banks family.

Longtime residents thinking back on the 50-year history of Columbia have a lot to contemplate. If they really want to get the memories flowing, they should visit the exhibit "The HeART of Columbia: Creating community with art" at the Rouse Co. Foundation Gallery at Howard Community College.

There are 75 people in the cast and about 40 backstage and in the orchestra, Sankey said.

"We have multi-generations in the cast," Sankey said. "It is truly a family affair with mothers and sons on stage and fathers and sons on stage. It is a nice group of new people as well as some veterans."

This year, beneficiaries from ticket sales will be Prepare for Success and the Ellicott City Partnership.

"It really is a show that every member of the family could enjoy," Sankey said. "It is a nice, family-centered show."

Howard County Summer Theatre presents Cameron Mackintosh's "Mary Poppins" June 29-30 and July 1, 5-8, at 7 p.m.; and July 2 at 2 p.m., at Mt. Hebron High School, 9440 Old Frederick Road, Ellicott City. Tickets are $18, $15 for seniors and ages 12 and under and can be purchased at www.ticketleap.com or at the Ellicott City Music and Arts store. For more information, go to www.howardcountysummertheatre.