Mark Kaufman serves as Executive Vice President, Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures and in this role is charged with identifying titles and characters from the world-renowned Warner Bros. Entertainment library that might lend themselves to the stage and developing them into theatrical productions. Kaufman shares oversight of the division with Raymond Wu, who also holds the title of Executive Vice President, Theatre Ventures.
For the 2013 theatrical season, Theatre Ventures will debut the highly anticipated musical adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with Sam Mendes attached to direct. The show is scheduled to begin previews in May and officially open in June in London. Theatre Ventures also has a number of other shows in various stages of development, including co-productions with award-winning Broadway, film and television producers. The roster of upcoming projects includes dramas, comedies and musicals based on both library titles and original concepts.
Theatre Ventures’ recent productions include a developmental engagement of the drama Misery, with Oscar-winner Bill Goldman adapting his 1990 screenplay for the Broadway stage, and the return of the hit holiday production Elf to Broadway for nine weeks, both in late 2012.
Working with Wu, Kaufman shares oversight of the division’s licensing of third-party stage rights to the various properties held within the Studio’s vast media library, including such recent stage productions as Light in the Piazza, The Wizard of Oz, The Color Purple, 42nd Street and The Bodyguard as well as the upcoming Diner, Bridges of Madison County and Honeymoon in Vegas.
Theatre Ventures’ previous productions include Baby It’s You!, the story of Florence Greenberg, the woman who discovered The Shirelles; Lestat, based on Anne Rice’s celebrated literary character, with original music from the legendary songwriting team of Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin; and Casablanca - The Dance, which had its world premiere in the Great Hall in Beijing in April 2005. During the 2010 holiday season, Theatre Ventures’ Elf premiered and broke box office records five weeks of its nine-week limited engagement.
Kaufman joined Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures from Unique Features and, before that, New Line Cinema. Kaufman supervised and oversaw the Broadway production of the Tony Award winning musical Hairspray as well as the Tony nominated musical The Wedding Singer for New Line, and the initial stage production of Elf. Additionally, during his 16 years at New Line, Kaufman oversaw such films as Secondhand Lions and Hairspray. He served as executive producer on the hit comedies Four Christmases and 17 Again as well as My Sister’s Keeper. He is also a produced writer, having created Toothless starring Kirstie Alley and Lynn Redgrave for ABC's Wonderful World of Disney and Just A Walk In The Park with George Eads and Jane Krakowski for ABC Family.