Craig McFarland | WGLT

Craig McFarland

NPR Illinois Community Voices:  Front Row Network



An Interview with Tamzin Merchant

Feb 25, 2021

Tamzin Merchant is known by many for her roles in Pride and Prejudice, The Tudors and Carnival Row. She's a wonderful actress, and now she is a published author! We were delighted to read Tamzin's first book, The Hatmakers."Full of magic, surprise, and adventure, Tamzin Merchant’s sparkling debut introduces a captivating heroine and her extraordinary world." We can't recommend enough that you go out and pick up this book. We speak to Tamzin about The Hatmakers and her acting career.

We are excited to bring you our conversation with actor, comedian and podcast host Connor Ratliff. His podcast Dead Eyes speaks to his experience with rejection early in his career at the hands of Tom Hanks. Craig and Larry speak to Connor about his career in acting, his time with the Upright Citizen's Brigade and of course, his hit podcast.

Find Dead Eyes on Headgum:

Interview also available on all major podcast platforms by searching "Beyond the Mouse"

We are thrilled to bring you our interview with actor and author Evangeline Lilly. Many know her for her roles in LostThe Hobbit and as Hope van Dyne in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In addition to her acting, Ms. Lilly has a true passion for writing. The crew sits down with her to discuss her ongoing children’s book series The Squickerwonkers. We also discuss her past acting experiences, and so much more.

We are so excited to be joined by John Saccheri! His Disney content on YouTube has kept us from feeling the Disney Parks blues for so many years! We speak to John about how he got into vlogging, what he has been up to the past year and what he’s looking forward to in 2021 in the parks. The crew also discusses what they are looking forward to the most this upcoming year.

Beyond the Mouse: 2020 Year End Review

Dec 31, 2020

Happy New Year!

An Interview with Disney Legend Rolly Crump

Dec 24, 2020

We have quite the treat for you at Beyond the Mouse. We recently had the amazing opportunity to chat with Rolly Crump. He was awarded the Disney Legend award in 2004 for his tremendous work as an animator and as an Imagineer. Rolly worked on attractions from The Haunted Mansion to The Tiki Room. We talk about it all in this episode!

Beyond the Mouse: Disney Christmas at Home

Dec 16, 2020

This is a Christmas season like no other, and we are here to help you celebrate the season. One of the best times of year to be a Disney fan is during Christmas. Craig, Brett and Vanessa give you all the ways that Disney helps them enjoy this time of year.

We are thrilled to welcome Chris DeMakes of Less Than Jake to the show! Chris is the lead vocalist and guitarist for the band. Their new album Silver Linings was just released last week. Craig and Scott have been fans of Less Than Jake for over twenty years, and had a lot of questions for Chris. The interview covers the new album, Chris' favorites from the bands 28 year career, his new podcast and much more. Thanks for listening and be sure to subscribe to The Front Row Network!

FEATURING: Craig McFarland, Scott McFarland

Beyond the Mouse: Disney Investor Day Recap

Dec 13, 2020

There was an incredible amount of news coming out of the Disney Investor Day presentation last Thursday. The whole crew is here to breakdown the biggest announcements from Lucasfilm, Disney Theatrical, Disney Animation, Pixar and Marvel!

FEATURING: Craig McFarland, Brett Rutherford, Vanessa Ferguson __________________________________________

Named one of the top 60 Disney Podcasts by Feedspot!

FIND US ON Patreon!

Beyond the Mouse: Disney Gift Extravaganza!

Dec 10, 2020

We are incredibly excited to speak with Academy Award winning director, and Central Illinois native, Brenda Chapman. We had the chance to speak with Brenda about her career from her time working in animation during the Disney renaissance to her bring Pixar’s Brave to life. Brenda’s live-action directing debut, Come Away, is out now on any video on-demand platform. This wonderful reimaging of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland will have you filled with whimsy throughout the picture.

FEATURING: Craig McFarland, Brett Rutherford, Vanessa Ferguson

Beyond the Mouse: The Super Secret Hive!

Nov 12, 2020

This week we are celebrating all things Brett as we help our friend and cohost ring in his upcoming birthday! One of his all time favorite films is the 1988 film “Big Business.” This fun comedy starring Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin is available right now on Disney+. So, put on some headphones and a party hat while we all discuss “Big Business.”

There is no better time to be a Disney fan than Halloween! We are joined by one of our favorite Disney podcaster Matthew Krul of the Imagineer Podcast. We speak with Matthew about his podcast. How the podcast came to be, his love for the parks and some of his personal favorite episodes. After that the whole group discusses the ways that Disney puts us into the Halloween spirit!

Beyond the Mouse: Hocus Pocus Game Review

Oct 8, 2020

Thank you to our friends at Ravensburger for providing us with copies of the new Hocus Pocus card game! We played it, and we will review it for you. Follow along as we discuss the design of the game, how to play and our overall impressions of this very impressive game. Fans of Hocus Pocus go out and buy this now!

This week we bring you the second half of our interview with former Imagineer and Disney author Jeff Kurtti. He has written over 40 titles for the Disney company, and his latest book "The Disney Monorail: Imagineering a Highway in the Sky" was just released earlier this month. Jeff shares so many stories and insights about the Walt Disney Company.

Beyond the Mouse: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Sep 4, 2020

Brandon dives into the world of the Mouse, on this Beyond the Mouse/Classics crossover. The crew discusses the 1954 Disney live-action film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. This movie has been beautifully restored on Disney Plus. We speak to the production design, the history, the influence on the Disney parks and more (maybe even a great James Mason impression) much lies in store for you loyal listener!

FEATURING: Craig McFarland, Brett Rutherford, Vanessa Ferguson and Brandon Davis


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This week we are joined by two friends who have made the trek to Florida since the reopening of Walt Disney World. Kristen Wolfe speaks to her experience at the Boardwalk and all about the parks. Craig William II lets us know about his stay at the Polynesian and his take on what Walt Disney World is like for travellers right now. Join along with us!

Featuring: Craig McFarland, Brett Rutherford, Vanessa Ferguson


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This week we are happy to bring to the podcast, Dan Cockerell. Dan spent a twenty-six-year career with the Disney company in multiple roles. Beginning in the Disney College Program and ultimately becoming VP of Epcot Center, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. This week Dan has released a new book called "How's the Culture in Your Kingdom" which you can find on Amazon or wherever books are sold. We speak to Dan about the current situation inside the Disney Parks, his thoughts on leadership and his new book!

This week the documentary Howard drops on Disney+. We are celebrating the life and accomplishments of Howard Ashman in the best way possible, by doing a Disney Song Draft! Make sure to follow us on social media for your chance to vote for your favorite team!

Featuring: Craig McFarland, Brett Rutherford, Vanessa Ferguson



We are so excited that Hamilton has arrived on Disney+! To celebrate the occasion we interview a man who has played Alexander Hamilton for the past year. Julius Thomas III speaks about his Broadway career, his words of wisdom to upcoming performers and of course we dive deep into his role in Hamilton. 

Featuring: Craig McFarland, Brett Rutherford, Vanessa Ferguson



Beyond the Mouse: Kevin Lima Interview

May 2, 2020

Twenty five years ago Goofy and Max set out on the open road and ended up at a Powerline concert. We had the opportunity to sit down with the man who made it all happen. The Beyond the Mouse crew sat down with director Kevin Lima. We talking about his entire career from his start at the Walt Disney Studios to what he’s doing today. In addition to A Goofy Movie, Kevin has also directed Tarzan, 102 Dalmatians and Enchanted. We talk about them all in this exclusive interview!

We travel back to 1937 and talk Walt's Folley, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Brett and Craig are joined by Brandon (Front Row Classics) and local author/illustrator Dominic Cellini.

IMDB Page:

FEATURING: Craig McFarland, Brett Rutherford, Brandon Davis and Dominic Cellini