Disney Extra Credit - Fall 2013 - (Page 11)

career spotlight Thomas Schumacher, Producer and President, Disney Theatrical Productions T homas Schumacher is Producer and President of Disney Theatrical Productions, a role that enables him to oversee the development, creation and execution of Disney live entertainment around the globe. He is responsible for Broadway titles in New York, across the U.S. and around the world, along with Disney on Ice and Disney Live! shows. But before Thomas was producing Broadway hits such as The Lion King, he was a theatre student growing up in the San Francisco area. He attributes arts funding in schools with the ample opportunities he had as a youth to experience professional theatre, opera, ballet and more. It was this exposure to the arts from a young age that ignited his passion for theatre and encouraged him to begin teaching and directing youth theatre programs while in high school and, ultimately, why Thomas went on to study theatre while in college at UCLA. To date, Thomas has produced seven shows on Broadway, and currently, he oversees the more than 27 Disney Theatrical Productions shows running around the world. And he still appreciates the importance of passing knowledge onto emerging talent. Thomas is an adjunct professor at Columbia University, and also mentors a group of high school students through the Theatre Development Fund. “The great luck of working in the theatre is that we are always students and we are always simultaneously teachers,” states Thomas. “You’re always learning and you’re always studying something new.” Thomas believes that one’s success in the entertainment industry really does depend on education. “ The greatest influences on my life were teachers. - Thomas Schumacher ” “My advice to those who want to pursue a career in theatre is to get a great education,” he says. “In theatre our job is to present and share the human experience with others. But if you haven’t studied the history of the human experience, the depth of psychology and the roots of art, you simply can’t do that. You need a deep vocabulary and an understanding of classical lines, form and structure. And you need a very deep knowledge of the human condition. You’re only going to get that from a liberal arts education.” “The greatest influences on my life were teachers,” he says. “I had a college professor who taught the role of the producer and I have a career because of him. One of my teachers taught me everything from how to hang a light to how to pay it forward. So my whole life has been shaped by teachers.” After working in theatre throughout college, performing “every function there is in a theater except playing in an orchestra,” Thomas’ career took him into a different side of the arts when he joined the Walt Disney Animation Studios as a producer. After being named President of Animation, he oversaw more than 20 of Disney’s animated films including “The Lion King,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Pocahontas,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Mulan,” “Tarzan,” and “Lilo & Stitch,” as well as working closely with Pixar on their first five films. But Thomas’ involvement in films like “The Lion King” eventually led him back to his theatre roots when he was tasked with creating new shows for Broadway, such as AIDA, Mary Poppins, Peter and the Starcatchers and Newsies. N extra credit | 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Disney Extra Credit - Fall 2013

Disney Extra Credit - Fall 2013
Walt Disney, Educator
Career Spotlight
A Touching Reunion
Engineering for Today
Career Spotlight
Research and Storytelling
Center Stage
Disney Dreamers Academy
The Path to Newsies
Creativity in the Classroom
Educational Field Trips
Inspiring Through Theatre
Festival Disney Turns 10
New Learning Opportunities
The Visual Musicians
Beyond the Bright Lights
Music Education Excellence
Focus on the Future
Poetic License
Spotlight On: The Disney Honors
Disney Performing Arts Alumni
Mickey’s Education Adventure
Disney Performing Arts Opportunities
Disney Youth Education Series Opportunities
Students Get the “Scoop”
The Fundamentals of Finance
Advertisers and Thank You
Travel Planner Honors
Mickey’s Mind Teasers

Disney Extra Credit - Fall 2013

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