Thomas Schumacher, the longtime head of Disney’s theatrical arm, a key power behind “The Lion King,” and one of the highly effective individuals on Broadway, is relinquishing his function overseeing the division’s enterprise operations and stepping right into a purely inventive function.
Schumacher, who’s 65 and at present holds the titles of president and producer of Disney Theatrical Group, instructed his workers on Thursday morning that he’ll tackle a brand new function because the division’s chief inventive officer. His two closest deputies, Andrew Flatt and Anne Quart, will now collectively run the unit as government vice presidents.
Disney has for 3 many years been the largest company participant on Broadway, and it stays an enormously important issue within the trade. “The Lion King,” which has been working on Broadway for 25 years, frequently outsells its opponents — final week it was, because it usually has been, the top-grossing present.
Schumacher’s portfolio has included not solely Disney’s Broadway reveals — “The Lion King” and “Aladdin” in the meanwhile — but in addition its many touring productions in addition to Disney on Ice. His first Broadway credit score was in 1997 (as a producer of Disney’s “King David”) and he has since grow to be an essential determine within the Broadway group, at one level serving as chairman of the Broadway League, which is the commerce group of producers and theater homeowners.
The transfer comes at a time when a lot of Disney’s divisions have been struggling. The theatrical group is small by Disney requirements, and though it has had its share of disappointments, its present reveals are promoting strongly even whereas most different Broadway reveals usually are not.
In response to a memo Schumacher despatched to his workers, Flatt could have the extra title of managing director, and can oversee technique and enterprise operations. Quart’s portfolio will embody producing and improvement; she is going to function government producer of all reveals.
Disney has not introduced a brand new present to Broadway since 2018, when “Frozen” arrived to chilly evaluations. Since that point, Disney acquired twenty first Century Fox belongings, which gave the corporate entry to an unlimited new trove of titles.
One potential subsequent Disney musical seems to be a stage adaptation of “The Best Showman” — the corporate held a workshop for the present earlier this 12 months, however that manufacturing remains to be comparatively early in its improvement course of. Disney has additionally been persevering with to work on its stage adaptation of “Hercules” — after productions directed by Lear deBessonet in Central Park, as a part of the Public Theater’s Public Works program, and on the Paper Mill Playhouse, the corporate is planning a brand new model in Germany directed by Casey Nicholaw subsequent spring.