DISNEY THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS (DTP), a division of The Walt Disney Studios, was formed in 1994 and operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher.
Disney Theatrical is proud of its long history in the UK, with six productions opening or reopening this year.
The company’s inaugural production, Beauty and the Beast, came to London in 1996, winning 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 members of the original Broadway creative team - led by Matt West - has recently had its world premiere at the Bristol Hippodrome, beginning a UK and Ireland tour.
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. Approaching its 22nd anniversary in the West End, its UK & Ireland tour resumes this winter.
The Lion King opened on Broadway in 1997, where it received six Tony® Awards including Best Musical and Best Direction, making Julie Taymor the first woman in history to win the award. It has been seen by more than 100 million theatregoers and played 20 countries on every continent except Antarctica. By year’s end, there will be 10 productions of the show playing worldwide.
Mary Poppins, co-produced with Cameron Mackintosh and directed by Richard Eyre, 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. The show continues its Olivier award-winning return at its original home at the Prince Edward Theatre.
In 2014 Declan Donnellan’s critically acclaimed production of Shakespeare in Love, co-produced with Sonia Friedman, had its world premiere at London’s Noel Coward Theatre. The play has since been produced around the globe and, for several years, was among the Top 10 produced titles in the US.
Aladdin, Disney Theatrical’s 2014 Broadway hit, opened in the West End in 2016 and played a three-year smash-hit run. 2022 will see seven productions of the show, directed by Casey Nicholaw, running around the world, including the original Broadway production which will soon celebrate its eighth anniversary.
DTP’s 2018 Tony-nominated Best Musical Frozen is their newest hit. Directed by Michael Grandage, it has the honour of reopening London’s newly restored Theatre Royal Drury Lane, one of five productions scheduled to play around the world this 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, directed by John Tiffany, in 2017 and recently collaborated with producer Michael Harrison to mount a new production of Bedknobs and Broomsticks under the direction of Candice Edmunds and Jamie Harrison, which is now touring around the UK.
Outside the UK, their other Broadway productions include Alan Menken and Tim Rice’s 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.
DTP offers a range of creative education programmes, based on its productions, to introduce young theatregoers to all aspects of live theatre. For those already starting out in the profession, DTP works with the Royal Academy of Music to provide bursaries for talented artists from under-represented backgrounds, enabling them to take advantage of the world-class training and opportunities the Academy has to offer.
Worldwide, its ten Broadway titles have been seen by over 200 million theatregoers, and have been nominated for 62 Tony Awards, winning the coveted honour 20 times. By year’s end, with 23 productions self-produced or licensed, a Disney musical will be performed professionally somewhere on the planet virtually every hour of the day.