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Tuacahn puts on 'Mary Poppins' happily despite sweltering heat

By Carole Mikita, KSL TV | Posted - Jul 17th, 2013 @ 9:15pm



IVINS, Washington County — There are many stories to tell about the Tuacahn this summer: the summer heat, certainly, also how two women are sharing the coveted role of the beloved Mary Poppins, and how a Utah boy is enjoying his time on stage.

This summer, everyone's favorite nanny is flying over the red rocks of Southern Utah. Two veteran actresses, Gail Bennett and Mindy Smoot Robbins, are sharing the iconic role of Mary Poppins to allow each of them time with their children.

"To help me find a place to stay to bring my daughter, and to be able to give me the time to be a mother, it's just ... honestly, no other theater extends their hands to help me be an actress and a mother like Tuacahn does," says Bennett.

"Not only do they choose family-themed shows and beautiful messages to teach on the stage and show on the stage, but they also allow me to do what I most love to do, which is be a mom," Robbins said.

"What's great about it is the actors. They're so engaged in the show, they pull you in and you forget about everything else," said Scott Anderson, Artistic Director at Tuacahn.

Children on stage attract children in the audience. This season brings 7-year-old Grand Westcott (Michael Banks) and Lauren Allen (Jane Banks) from Cedar City.

"I didn't know it was going to be this big of a deal, but I like it," Westcott said.

"The show, it's such a joy to watch, and I hope that people are uplifted when they walk away," said Allen.

Managers said it's this kind of toe-tapping entertainment that helps audiences forget the 100-degree-plus temperatures and focus on the fun.

"There's a two-week period where that's really a problem and the rest of it's pretty temperate and nice," Anderson said. "And snow cones help a lot."

Tuacahn is offering three other productions this summer and into the fall: "Thoroughly Modern Millie," " Starlight Express" and " Disney's Mulan" at the indoor theatre. For ticket prices and dates, visit Tuacahn's website.

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Carole Mikita, KSL TV

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