The Disney Theatrical Group has been recognized by the long running Actors Fund’s, to honor of the 20th Anniversary of Disney productions appearing on Broadway.
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Thomas Schumacher, president of the Disney Theatrical Group, the theatrical production arm of The Walt Disney Company is due to be presented with the Spring Gala Medal of Honor by the Actor’s Fund, a non-profit human services organization now celebrating its 132nd year in existence.
Schumacher will receive the award at the Actors Fund’s Spring Gala, which gets under way at the New Amsterdam Theatre, on 42nd Street, with a Disney tribute performance featuring production numbers from their award-winning shows, after which the guests will take a short walk along Broadway to a post-performance cast party at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel.
Disney Theatrical Productions was formed in 1994 by Thomas Schumacher and has been under his direction ever since.
The first Broadway show to be mounted by Disney Theatrical Productions, was Beauty and the Beast, which ran for thirteen years on Broadway, after which it was presented in no less than 28 countries worldwide.
In late 1997 Disney second Broadway musical, the Lion King opened, and went on to which receive six Tony Awards in 1998, including Best Musical. Lion King has gone on to become the highest-grossing show in Broadway history, and even though it is in its 17th year, is still going strong. Aladdin, Disney’s most recent stage musical, is already showing signs that it will be around for a long time on Broadway.
In his statement announcing Disney Theatrical Productions will be this year’s Spring Gala Medal of Honor winners, Actors Fund president and CEO Joseph P. Benincasa recalled that over these 20 years, Disney’s magical productions, not only when on Broadway, but also on tour, Ave has given vital support to the Actor’s Fund programs and services.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to honor Disney and their leadership and commitment to this organization.” Mr. Benincasa summed up.
In response Thomas Schumacher stated how Disney Theatrical Productions were deeply touched by afforded such an honor, adding that over the years the company have employed thousands of actors, crew members, musicians and management professionals on Broadway and across the country who have been able to access the benefits provided by The Actors Fund, which provides both a lifeline and safety net to entertainment professionals, whenever they need it.
“It is a thrill for us to be part of this event and to support this invaluable organization, ” Schumacher went on to add.
As well as his considerable work load at Disney Theatrical Productions, Thomas also finds time to serve on the Board of Trustees for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Tony® Administration Committee as well as the Advisory Committee of the American Theatre Wing.
After studying theater at UCLA. Thomas Schumacher began his professional career with the Mark Taper Forum, during which time he served as a line producer on the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival, as well as assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Ballet.
Schumacher left the Mark Taper Forum to take up the role of associate director of the Los Angeles Festival of Arts in 1987, leaving them after just a year to join the Disney Company, where his first project was producing the animated film, Rescuers Down Under.
During the time he was involved in film production with Disney Studios, Schumacher oversaw the production of more than twenty animated feature films, most notably The Lion King, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan and Tarzan as well being involved in founding the Disney Theatrical Group in 1994.
In 2002 Thomas Schumacher left the world of animated film behind, in order to solely focus his considerable talents and energies on the growing Disney Theatrical Productions.