Susan H. Schulman
Intent on a career as an actress, Schulman studied drama at Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island, New York in the 1960s. She attended Yale University on a playwrighting fellowship, graduating with a Master's Degree. While performing at the Buffalo Studio Arena Theatre, she was presented with her first opportunity to mount a production when the director of an adaptation of Wind in the Willows abruptly left the project.
Schulman headed to New York City, where she became involved with several productions at the off-off-Broadway Equity Library Theatre. In 1989, she joined the York Theatre Company to helm a production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, which Sondheim happened to see. Impressed by her work, he recommended her for the upcoming Broadway revival. Her efforts earned her a Tony Award nomination as Best Director of a Musical and led to her being signed to direct a 1991 musical adaptation of The Secret Garden, which garnered her a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Director of a Musical. In 1994, she returned to the York Theatre Company to direct a revised version of Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along, which won her an Obie Award. Shortly after she joined Playwrights Horizons for two productions. She again was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Musical for Violet in 1997.
In 1998, Schulman had just mounted a well-received Broadway revival of The Sound of Music when she was contacted by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who asked her to adapt a scaled-down production of Sunset Boulevard for a US tour starring Petula Clark. (A first attempt had been aborted due to exorbitant costs involved in transporting and time spent erecting the massive set.) The critically acclaimed and commercially successful run lasted seventeen months.
In 2005, Schulman returned to Broadway to direct a musical adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott classic Little Women, starring Tony-winner Sutton Foster as Jo and pop singer Maureen McGovern as Marmee. Although the production drew many mothers and daughters, mostly lackluster reviews prevented it from becoming a hit, and it closed after a five-month run. Following the Broadway closing, the production toured the US for a year and was a commercial success.
Ms. Schulman is currently a professor at Penn State University where she heads the graduate directing program. She directed a production of "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" in the Fall of 2009 at Penn State's main campus.
Schulman's work for the Stratford Festival of Canada includes Fiddler on the Roof, Man of La Mancha, The King and I, The Music Man, Hello, Dolly!, and a stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. In summer 2008, under the auspices of the Festival, she conducted a two-week workshop of Clara's Piano, a blend of classical music and dance with music and lyrics by Neil Bartram and book by Brian Hill, based on Schulman's original concept