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MouseStation 93 - A Little Bit of Everything

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A Little Bit of Everything

This week, we've got a little bit of everything to hold you through the weekend, since we won't be publishing shows over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Mini-feature: Backstage at Mary Poppins

Mike was lucky enough to get a backstage tour at the New Amsterdam Theater in New York City, home of Mary Poppins on Broadway.


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Over the weekend, Mike was in New York City for a conference. On Saturday night, he and a companion snagged the last two tickets for that night's performance of Mary Poppins. At intermission, the show did a fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS with an auction/sale. Mike quickly called his office and arranged for the company to donate enough to the cause so that he could get a backstage tour of the theater.

Mike saw the show and really enjoyed it, though he was surprised that it was much darker than he expected. Mike and Mark chatted a bit about the "Temper, Temper" number, in particular. Mike referred to the comments made about the show by Mark and his son on earlier episodes. But enough about the show. Today, we're talking about the backstage tour.


Mike with Ashley Brown, who plays Mary Poppins. Photo courtesy of Mike Demopoulos.

After the show, Mike met a Broadway Cares staffer and donated his company's $250. He was then brought backstage, which was much smaller back there than he expected. After they started looking around backstage, Mike's group got to meet Ashley Brown, who plays the show's title character. He got to chat with her and ask her a few questions.


Mike with Gavin Lee, who plays Bert. Photo courtesy of Mike Demopoulos.

The group then met Nicole Bocchi, one of the three girls who play Jane Banks (and who had performed in that night's show). The young girl really impressed Mike. They got to chat and ask some more questions. They then got to meet Gavin Lee, who plays Bert. Mike and Gavin chatted a bit about Minnesota, and Mike found out that Gavin's wife is from Minnesota. He also got a couple of interesting stories about how Gavin got cast in the show.


The show's set is quiet after the show. Photo by Mike Demopoulos.

Mike's group also got a close-up look at the stage sets, which are like an actor in the show themselves.


The various Andrew puppets from the show. Photo by Mike Demopoulos.

But the cause that Mike donated to in order to get his tour struck Mike as a very good cause, so he decided to help raise more money. So we're going to hold a contest to encourage you to donate to Broadway Care/Equity Fights AIDS. Everyone that donates to the cause through Mike's donor page will receive an entry into the random drawing for an "Anything Can Happen" bookmark signed by Nicole Bocchi and Henry Hodges, who played Jane and Michael Banks the night that Mike saw the show. The bookmark includes a nickel-sized star that was part of a costume worn in the show during the grand finale. The bookmark says "Mary Poppins, Broadway 2007." This phase of the fundraising campaign runs through December 4, so you've got until then to donate. It doesn't matter how much you give. Any donation will get you entered into the contest.


Your donation to Mike's donor page for Broadway Care/Equity Fights AIDS could win you this autographed bookmark. Photo by Mike Demopoulos.

MousePlanetWatch Disney News

Walt Disney World News

  • Reggie Williams is stepping down as Vice president for Disney Spors Attractions, effective close of business today, in order to concentrate on rehabilitating his knees.
  • At last week's annual conference of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) in Orlando, Disney was named the winner of two THEA awards by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).
  • Two turkeys received presidential pardons from President George W. Bush at the White House yesterday, and then they headed off to Walt Disney World, where they will appear in tomorrow's afternoon parade at the Magic Kingdom before retiring to their new permanent home in the back yard of Mickey's Country House.
  • Construction Updates:
    • The Kim Possible Interactive Adventure at Epcot, which won a THEA award at the IAAPA conference last week, is moving ahead.
    • Permits have been filed for removal and replacement of the stage curtain, pleated valences, and related hardware at the American Adventure.
    • Work at Spaceship Earth continues, with permits being filed to rebuild the wall between the load and unload areas so that the lower three feet can be removed.
    • Permits have finally been filed for the demolition of the Backlot Theater at the Disney-MGM Studios.
  • Quick takes:
    • MousePlanet's mailbag editor and endurance series writer Stephanie Wien is looking for feedback from those planning to run in future races at Disney.
    • Princess Giselle, from Enchanted, will be making appearances before the Hollywood Holly Days Parade at the Disney-MGM Studios.

This and other news can be found in this week's Walt Disney World Park Update.

Disneyland News

Mark did the Disneyland News as well this weekend, as we had trouble contacting Andrew down at MousePlanet global headquarters. (Can you tell that it was recorded waaaay past midnight?)

  • Tickets for the Candlelight Ceremony and Procession went on sale Monday. They're not expected to last long, so hurry up and place your order!
  • There are loads of holiday photos of the park in this week's Park Update, with daytime and nighttime photos, including great Sleeping Beauty Castle shots.
  • There's a bit of information about the special character Meet and Greet for Disney Visa cardholders at Disney's California Adventure.
  • Dancing With the Stars made an appearance at Disneyland last Thursday.
  • There are some questions regarding availability of the Disney's Wildfire Heroes Salute program for those firefighters who helped fight the fires, but don't live in Southern California.
  • A special Snow White anniversary event was held at Disney's California Adventure. MousePlanet reader (and MouseStation listener) Liana Kilgore was there, and we'll have her report on MousePlanet soon.
  • This and That
    • Miley Cyrus was at Disneyland filming a segment for the Walt Disney World Christmas Parade TV special last week.
    • The World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney will host a Rubik's Cube demonstration, using the new Disney Character Rubik's Cube, on December 1.
    • Artist Robert Olszewski will be in hand to sign his new Peter Pan's Flight sculpture Saturday, December 8.
    • Disneyland is introducing its newest Annual Passholder-exclusive watch January 18 ? December 29, 2008 at New Century Timepieces.

This and other news can be found in this week's Disneyland Park Update.

The Walt Disney Company News

  • The Broadway strike continues, keeping The Little Mermaid and The Lion King dark. Since the New Amsterdam Theater is owned by Disney, they do not have any problems with the union there. Disney labor attorney Robert Johnson tried to bring the sides together over the weekend, but the two sides failed to come to an agreement and the strike continues.
  • However, since the shows are not being performed, it's adversely affecting the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS campaign, which makes it more important to donate through Mike's page and enter the contest.
  • The Writer's Guild of America strike also continues, though the two sides will sit down again to talk next week.
  • Disney has decided to locate the world headquarters of the Disney Mobile Games Studio in Prague, due to the "wealth of indigenous programming expertise."
  • Hannah Montana: The Movie is set to begin production in January after the Hannah/Miley tour ends.
  • Tim Burton will return to Disney to do two 3-D live-action feature films, Alice in Wonderland and Frankenweenie, the short film that launched his career.
  • Disney had another pretty good week at the box office this week, with Dan in Real Life in sixth place, Miramax's No Country for Old Men in seventh and climbing, The Game Plan at number 11, Miramax's Gone Baby Gone at number 17, and Ratatouille, Underdog and Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas in Disney Digital 3-D also still doing well on the charts.

Listener Feedback

Mary Tesch wrote in to wish Mike a happy birthday and to let us know how she plays along with the Ask the Kid segment by asking her kids the same question.

Her kids had really interesting links.

Mike Walter wrote in with the last piece of the Studios Top 3 list that he started last week:

  • Live Entertainment
    • 3. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
    • 2. Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
    • 1. Fantasmic

Gwen D. from New Hampshire also wanted to wish Mike a happy birthday.

Owen suggested that the reason that "M" sounded familiar to Mike was because M was the head of MI-3 in the James Bond movie series. (No, actually it's because we often sign our emails with our initial, hence "M."

Dave in San Francisco wanted to wish Mike a Simbariffic birthday.

Madeline from Germany wrote to say that she liked our Six Degrees of The Lion King test feature on Monday.

Liana from Simi Valley wrote to send us photos of the shirt that she planned to wear to the Snow White event. The shirt was designed by her friend Carmen's daughter Audrey.


The back (top) and front (bottom) of Liana's T-shirt that she wore to the Snow White event at DCA. Photo by Liana Kilgore.

Vance Cope called the toll-free feedback line to wish Mike a happy birthday and to offer up his Top 3 list for the Studios:

Live Entertainment
  • Dining
    • 3. Toy Story Pizza Planet
    • 2. 50s Prime Time Cafe
    • 1. Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano
  • Live Entertainment
    • Honorable Mention: Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
    • 3. Voyage of The Little Mermaid
    • 2. Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage!
    • 1. Fantasmic
  • Attractions
    • Honorable Mention: The Great Movie Ride
    • 3. MuppetVision 3-D
    • 2. Rock 'n Roller Coaster
    • 1. Fantasmic

Kris, a.k.a. dizy4disney1, wrote in to agree that we should take the holiday off.

That was it for this show.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Don't forget that, in addition to the MouseFest events that we're hosting, you'll also be able to find us at PodFest on MouseFest Friday.

Wrapping up

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Thanks to our audio engineer and sound editor Steven Ng.

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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).