Cast & Creatives
Disney Theatrical Productions
DISNEY THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS, a division of The Walt Disney Studios, was formed in 1994 and operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher. Worldwide, its ten Broadway titles have been seen by over 200 million theatregoers, and have been nominated for 62 Tony Awards, winning Broadway’s highest honour 20 times. At the time of the pandemic shutdown in March 2020, with 20 productions self-produced or licensed, a Disney musical was being performed professionally somewhere on the planet virtually every hour of the day.
Disney Theatrical has a long history in the UK. The company’s inaugural production, Beauty and the Beast, came to London in 1996 where it won the Olivier Award for Best Musical. First seen on Broadway in 1994, where it played a remarkable 13-year run, it has now been produced in 37 countries worldwide. A brand-new production of Beauty and the Beast, reimagined by the original Broadway creative team, will have its world premiere at Curve Theatre, Leicester in Spring 2021.
The next Disney musical to be seen in the West End was The Lion King, which opened at the Lyceum Theatre in 1999, winning two Olivier Awards and the Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year. It celebrated its twentieth anniversary in October 2019 and will resume performances at the Lyceum Theatre in Spring 2021. The production’s 2012 UK and Ireland tour broke box office records across the nation; a second tour of the UK and Ireland was selling out at the time of the shutdown and will re-open in Manchester in May 2021.
Since The Lion King opened on Broadway in 1997, where it received six Tony awards including Best Musical, it has been seen by more than 100 million theatregoers and nine productions were playing worldwide at the time of the Covid shutdown. Having played 20 countries on every continent except Antarctica, The Lion King stage musical’s gross income exceeds that of any film, musical, or any other entertainment title in box office history.
Mary Poppins, co-produced with Cameron Mackintosh, made its world-premiere in London in 2004, winning two Olivier Awards and an Evening Standard Award. The Broadway production followed in 2007 and went on to enjoy a six-year Tony-winning run. A tour of the UK and Ireland opened in Bristol in 2008 and the show returned to its original home at the Prince Edward Theatre in November 2019, winning two Olivier Awards. It will resume performances there in 2021.
In 2014 the critically acclaimed production of Shakespeare in Love, co-produced with Sonia Friedman, had its world premiere at London’s Noel Coward Theatre. Enjoying enormous success in its debut, Shakespeare in Love has since been produced around the globe.
Aladdin, Disney Theatrical’s 2014 Broadway hit, opened in the West End in 2016 and played a three-year smash-hit run. Pre-Covid, four productions of Aladdin were selling out around the world; it has already resumed performances in Japan and will resume on Broadway and open in Holland in 2021.
DTP’s 2018 Tony-nominated Best Musical Frozen is their newest hit. It will open at London’s newly restored Theatre Royal Drury Lane in Spring 2021, one of five productions scheduled to play next year.
In addition to the company’s West End and touring credits, Disney Theatrical works with some of the UK’s leading theatre artists creating new work for the stage. They collaborated with The National Theatre to create Pinocchio in 2017 and next year, with producer Michael Harrison, will mount a new production of Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
Outside the UK, their other Broadway productions include King David in concert; Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA, winner of four 2000 Tony Awards; Tarzan, which opened on Broadway in 2006 and went on to become an international hit with an award-winning German production enjoying a ten-year run; The Little Mermaid, the #1-selling new Broadway musical of its year; Peter and the Starcatcher, winner of five 2012 Tony Awards; and the hit Tony Award-winning Newsies.
Other productions include Disney’s High School Musical, Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame in Berlin and, in collaboration with preeminent American regional theatres, new productions of The Jungle Book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Freaky Friday and Hercules.
As a part of the recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox, DTP also heads the Buena Vista Theatrical banner which licenses Fox titles for stage adaptations including Anastasia; Moulin Rouge! The Musical; Mrs. Doubtfire and The Devil Wears Prada.