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Key Player: Thomas Schumacher

President, Buena Vista Theatrical Group

Trivia: Schumacher was instrumental in presenting the American premiere of Cirque du Soleil at the Los Angeles Festival of Arts in the 1980s.

The Basics: Schumacher remains Disney’s primary theatrical guru, despite his departure from the studio’s feature animation division last year. A 15-year resident of the Mouse House, he joined the company after 10 years in the theatrical world. Schumacher was a driving force, in partnership with his former boss, Peter Schneider, behind the studio’s conversion of “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast” into smash-hit Broadway musicals. He served as president of Disney Feature Animation from 1998-2002, but left that post last year. He develops and produces all Disney stage productions.

Rep: Despite his success in Disney’s theatrical rise, Schumacher ran Disney Feature Animation during a rough period that included deep layoffs, salary reductions, and inconsistent box-office numbers. He was expected to depart and become a Broadway producer after giving up his animation duties last year. Instead, he successfully retrenched himself at Disney in his familiar theatrical niche.

POV: “Today, we prepare for the opening in Australia of our ninth production of ‘The Lion King’ on stage, and we celebrate our sixth anniversary on Broadway. I’m astounded by the almost magical reach of the show, and the extraordinary work of the artists who created it.”

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