NEW YORK — The legit business can befuddle professionals — quick, explain the difference between a cover and a swing — so to youngsters just catching the theater bug, it can seem overwhelming. But now those budding legiters can turn to “How Does the Show Go On?,” a pedigreed, kid-friendly book about life behind the footlights.
Published by Disney Editions and written by Thomas Schumacher, head of Disney Theatrical Prods., with Jeff Kurtti, the tome unsurprisingly uses Mouse tuners like “The Lion King” and “Mary Poppins” to demonstrate everything from backstage rituals to what producers do.
However, the book is more than a hardcover ad. Along with 128 pages of information, it includes elaborate features — like a pull-out chart of a “Lion King” actor in various stages of makeup — meant to allure young-adult readers.
But fancy packaging aside, are kids really clamoring to understand the meaning of “dry tech” or learn the minutiae of a publicist’s job ?
Along with bemused professionals, Schumacher believes his audience will be kids itching to belong to a theater community. “If the book succeeds on the level I’m hoping for, then it will enable people to better understand and appreciate what they’re seeing,” he says.
He also hopes demystifying the profession will encourage youngsters to start their own projects. “I want to remind people that the theater is something you can do just because it’s fun,” he explains. Hence the section on mounting your own plays.
And for those still wondering, you can read about the difference between cover and swing on the book’s page 84.