"Mary Poppins" Producer Answers "How Does the Show Go On"

March 13, 2008 10:25:55 AM PDT
Broadway producer Thomas Schumacher gives young people a backstage pass to the theater with his new book "How Does the Show Go On? An Introduction to the Theater." Readers will meet the talented cast of characters who work onstage and behind the scenes to deliver unforgettable performances. They also explore the inner workings of the theater building itself. How Does the Show Go On? is filled with theater artifacts, including costume sketches, tickets and programs that you can pull out and hold in your hand. It is a unique guide to what goes on behind the curtain and describes the roles of the playwright, choreographer, stage manager and fight director, as well as the set designer, composer, usher, director and leading lady. Schumacher has created a stimulating, interactive and indispensable introduction to the theater for children, but it is bound to captivate adults as well.

Schumacher's book explores the elements that go into the production of live theater and focuses on his Broadway hits The Lion King, Tarzan and Mary Poppins (with producer Cameron Mackintosh) which is set to come to Chicago next year. "I wanted to create the kind of book about the theater that I would have enjoyed when I was a kid," he says. "It is also important to show young theater lovers that there are countless career opportunities that do not involve being on stage," adds Schumacher, who also produced John and Tim Rice's Aida and the stage version of the Disney hit movie The Little Mermaid.

How Does the Show Go On? includes:
· A Costume Designer's Sketchbook · An authentic Playbill Program
· Chapters on the Front of House: From the Street to the Stage Apron and the Back of House: From the Stage Apron to the Stage Door
· A Day in the Life of a Child Performer
· Theater-Speak Glossary

For more information, visit www.howdoestheshowgoon.com


"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" is the only word big enough to describe the audience response to the award-winning musical Mary Poppins which recently celebrated its one year anniversary on Broadway. It's been firmly established as the most popular show that opened during the 2006-2007season. The bold Nanny, her chimney sweep friend and all the other beloved characters from the children's stories will soon be moving across the country. The North American tour of Mary Poppins will kick off here in Chicago a year from now. Broadway In Chicago and producers Cameron Mackintosh and Thomas Schumacher are reuniting the entire original creative team to bring this magical story of the world's most famous nanny to audiences across the United States and Canada. Previews begin on March 11, 2009 and the show opens at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre on March 25, 2009.

"We are overwhelmed by the outstanding success of Mary Poppins," says Schumacher, Producer of Mary Poppins and President of Disney Theatrical Productions. "The audience response to this timeless tale has been tremendous and we are honored to have the opportunity to premiere the next steps of this phenomenal show in Chicago."

Tickets are now available to groups of 20 or more by calling (312) 977-1710. Mary Poppins will also be offered to the Broadway In Chicago season subscribers before going on-sale to the general public. All information regarding casting, subscription, individual ticket pricing and performance schedules will be announced as it becomes available.

"Having dreamt of doing Mary Poppins on stage for over 30 years, I am extremely pleased that the stage version has been equally enjoyed by devotees of the film and books and now Mary is about to share her magic with audiences all over the world," adds producer Mackintosh

Based on P.L. Travers' cherished stories and the classic 1964 Walt Disney film, Mary Poppins features the Academy Award-winning music and lyrics of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The stage production has been created, in collaboration with Cameron Mackintosh, by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who has written the book, and the Olivier Award-winning team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, who have composed new songs and additional music and lyrics.

Olivier Award-winning director Richard Eyre leads the award-winning creative team assembled for Mary Poppins with co-direction and choreography by Tony and Olivier Award winner Matthew Bourne. Mary Poppins features set and costume design by Tony Award winner Bob Crowley, co-choreography by Olivier Award winner Stephen Mear, lighting design by Howard Harrison, orchestrations by William David Brohn, and music supervision by David Caddick. .

For more information please visit www.broadwayinchicago.com and www.DisneyOnBroadway.com

About Thomas Schumacher

Since 1988, Thomas Schumacher has worked with The Walt Disney Company setting new standards of excellence in film and live theatre. He started his Disney tenure at the Animation Division in Burbank, California, where he moved up the ranks from producer of The Rescuers Down Under to president of both the Feature and Television Animation units. Schumacher is regarded as one of the key architects of the animation renaissance, in which Disney set new standards in storytelling, artistry and technical innovation. He served as executive producer on Disney's 1994 animated blockbuster The Lion King and supervised 21 animated features, including The Nightmare Before Christmas, Pocahontas, Toy Story, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, Tarzan, Dinosaur, Monsters, Inc. and Lilo & Stitch. Mr. Schumacher now devotes his full energies to Disney Theatrical Productions in New York City, where he oversees the development and production of Disney's live theatre events around the world.

To celebrate The Walt Disney Company's restoration and reopening of Times Square's historic New Amsterdam Theatre in May 1997, Schumacher along with his former producing partner Peter Schneider presented the world premiere concert of Alan Menken & Tim Rice's King David. Later that year they produced the ground-breaking and Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical The Lion King, which can currently be seen onstage in New York, London, Hamburg, Tokyo, Seoul, Johannesburg and throughout the U.S. with two touring companies. A ninth production of The Lion King will open in Paris in October of 2007.

Schumacher and Schneider also produced the premiere of Disney's first original foreign language production, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which debuted in Berlin in June of 1999. The producing duo then opened Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida on Broadway at the Palace Theatre in March 2000. Aida garnered four Tony Awards® and has been seen across the U.S. as well as in Holland, Germany and Japan.

In 2004, Mr. Schumacher produced the world premiere stage adaptation of Mary Poppins in partnership with legendary producer Cameron Mackintosh at London's Prince Edward Theatre. Mary Poppins began performances on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre in October 2006. Schumacher's production of On the Record, a musical celebrating Disney's catalogue of beloved songs, completed its successful U.S. tour in July 2005.

In May 2006, Mr. Schumacher produced the world premiere of Tarzan, featuring music and lyrics by Phil Collins with direction and design by Bob Crowley. The first international production of Tarzan opened in Holland in 2007. The summer of 2007 also brought the stage premiere of Disney's High School Musical, which will reach 60 cities on tour through 2008. Schumacher is currently producing Alan Menken's landmark musical The Little Mermaid, which opened on Broadway in January. He supervised the stage production of Beauty and the Beast, currently the sixth longest-running show in Broadway history, which took its final bow on July 29, 2007 after 13 magical years.

Schumacher also oversees Disney Live Family Entertainment, which provides children's and family entertainment throughout the world in partnership with Feld Entertainment. Projects include Disney on Ice and Disney Live!, with nine productions touring the globe at any one time. In 2004, Schumacher established a relationship between Disney Theatrical Productions and Music Theatre International, which licenses stage performance rights to over a dozen Disney musicals to schools, community groups and professional theatres around the world.

Before joining The Walt Disney Company, Mr. Schumacher enjoyed a distinguished career in the arts. He was a line producer for the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival, served as assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Ballet, and spent five years on staff at the Los Angeles Music Center's Mark Taper Forum, where he worked on productions for the Taper Main Stage, Taper Too and the Taper's literary cabaret. As associate director of the acclaimed 1987 Los Angeles Festival of Arts, Schumacher was instrumental in presenting the American premiere of Canada's immensely popular Cirque du Soleil and the English-language premiere of Peter Brook's The Mahabharata.

A graduate of UCLA, Mr. Schumacher has participated in conferences and on panels relating to the arts and arts policy, has served on the Board of the California Community Foundation, and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Tony® Administration Committee, and the Advisory Committee of the American Theatre Wing.