David Schrader, the longtime executive at Disney Theatrical Productions, will depart his current position as the company’s exec vice president/managing director next month to strike out on his own as an independent stage producer.
Schrader’s amicable exit from the company, after a 20-year tenure, was announced in an email to staff by Disney Theatrical president Thomas Schumacher. Given the executive’s longevity with the organization, he had seemed a likely candidate to rise eventually to the top spot at DTP, had he remained at the company.
Initially serving as finance manager, Schrader joined DTP in its early days, when its first show, “Beauty and the Beast,” was settling into its Broadway run and “The Lion King” was gearing up for its 1997 opening. Since then, DTP has expanded to become a major player in the theater industry both in New York and abroad, with two top-grossing shows (“The Lion King” and “Aladdin”) now running on Broadway and one more, “Frozen,” on the way.
Schrader will call his new, independent producing firm Murray & Kean LLC, named after the 18th-century actor-managers who had a hand in the foundation of the New York theater industry. He said he plans to begin his activities as an investor before potentially expanding into development, with a possible focus on new plays.
Schrader will remain with Disney until the end of next week, and remain available as a consultant after that. Who will succeed Schrader at DTP, and whether he or she will do so in the exact same role, remains to be seen.