Thomas Schumacher
ThomasSchumacherTonyAwards.png
Schumacher speaking at the 2019 Tony Awards
President of Disney Theatrical Group
Assumed office
June 2001 (2001-06)
Preceded byRon Logan
President of Walt Disney Feature Animation
In office
January 1999 (1999-01) – 2002 (2002)
Preceded byPeter Schneider
Succeeded byDavid Stainton
Personal details
Born
Thomas Hubbard Caswell Schumacher III

(1957-12-05) December 5, 1957 (age 64)
Glendale, California, U.S.
SpouseMatthew White (married 2012–present)
OccupationTheatrical producer

Thomas Schumacher (born December 5, 1957) is a theatrical producer, currently president of Disney Theatrical Group,[1] the theatrical production arm of The Walt Disney Company.

Life and career

Schumacher studied theatre at UCLA. In 1987 he was associate director of the Los Angeles Festival of Arts, presenting the American premiere of Cirque du Soleil and the English-language premiere of Peter Brook's The Mahabharata.[2] Previously, he spent five years on staff at the Mark Taper Forum, served as a line producer on the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival, and served as assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Ballet.[3] He then joined the Disney company in 1988,[3] producing the animated film, The Rescuers Down Under,[4] which was released in 1990.

With The Lion King under consideration for the next Broadway adaptation, Eisner ceded Disney Theatrical Productions to theatre-rooted Disney Animation president Peter Schneider and Schumacher, at their request, making them president and executive vice president of DTP, respectively.[5] In 1994, Schumacher said that handing over the reins of the film to producer Don Hahn was painful. However, he was proud of the musical partnership between lyricist Tom Rice and singer Elton John whose songs "soar" through the film, although he was initially unsure of hiring John because he thought he was too big of a name. Schneider, through whom Schumacher got his job, described him as successful and arguing he has "great taste". Schumacher also said that he loathed saying there were gay characters because people will want him to "go backward and point them out". He further noted that Jeffrey Katzenberg asked if any of the gay references in the 1992 film Aladdin offended him, and he said the references were in "good fun", remarking that they should not deny that "swishy fashion designers" exist.[6]

Schneider was promoted to Disney Studios president in January 1999, while Thomas Schumacher was promoted to president of Walt Disney Feature Animation and Walt Disney Theatrical Productions, while both are made co-presidents of Disney Theatrical[7] which was renamed to Buena Vista Theatrical Group Limited with two divisions—Disney Theatricals and Hyperion Theatricals—head by the duo.[8] With Schneider leaving in June 2001 to form his own theater production company partly funded by Disney, Schumacher became only president of Buena Vista Theatrical Group and head of its divisions.[9][10]

After producing dozens of films, Schumacher left Walt Disney Feature Animation in 2002, replaced by David Stainton.[11][12]

He transitioned to solely focus on the growing theatrical business as its head. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, [13] the Tony Administration Committee and the Advisory Committee of the American Theatre Wing.[2] He is a mentor for the TDF Open Doors program and serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia University.[3] In March 2016, the gala of the Theatre Development Fund saluted Schumacher and Disney Theatrical Productions.[14] He also is the Chairman of the Board of The Broadway League.[15]

On February 21, 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that Schumacher was the subject of an internal investigation at Disney into inappropriate behavior, with eyewitness accounts detailing aggressive sexual language and intimidation dating back to the 1990s. This reportedly included remarks toward male employees, including comments about the "sexual prowess of black men". It was also said that he denied the accusations and committed to being "more mindful and adhering to company policies going forward."[16][17]

Schumacher has worked with The Walt Disney Company since 1988 and currently serves as President of Disney Theatrical Group.[1]

Publications

Schumacher is the author of the book How Does the Show Go On? An Introduction to the Theater (Disney Editions, 2007; 2019).[18]

Personal life

In June 1994, Schumacher told The Advocate that he was an "out gay man" when he began working at Disney, and argued there were "a lot of gay people at every level" of Disney, and called it a "very supportive environment", with The Advocate calling him one of the "most influential gay men" in Hollywood. He also brought his partner, Matthew White, a ballet dancer in Los Angeles, to the annual company party and other company retreats. He noted that while some were "uncomfortable" with Schumacher bringing his partner, that higher executives like Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Eisner did not trouble him over it.[19]

In November 2012, Schumacher married White, his longtime partner and interior designer.[20]

References

  1. ^ a b Zinoman, Jason (May 23, 2004). "The Tony Awards". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 16, 2020. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Thomas Schumacher". American Theatre Wing. Archived from the original on February 28, 2021. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c "Thomas Schumacher '80". UCLA. May 22, 2015. Archived from the original on April 23, 2022. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  4. ^ "The man who ran Disney Animation in the 90's explains how Toy Story happened". Radio National. October 12, 2017. Archived from the original on December 23, 2020. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  5. ^ Singer, Barry (October 4, 1998). "Theater; Just Two Animated Characters, Indeed". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 13, 2019. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  6. ^ Provenzano, Tom (June 28, 1994). "The Lion in Summer". The Advocate: 66–71.
  7. ^ Simonson, Robert (January 12, 1999). "Thomas Schumacher Promoted to Co-President of Disney Theatricals". Playbill. Archived from the original on September 15, 2020. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  8. ^ "Disney Creates New Theatre Division, Hyperion Theatricals". Playbill. January 31, 2000. Archived from the original on October 14, 2020. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  9. ^ Lyman, Rick (June 21, 2001). "Chairman of Disney's Studios Resigns to Return to Broadway". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 24, 2022. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  10. ^ Varrier, Richard (June 21, 2001). "Disney Chief Quits for Run on Broadway". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 23, 2022. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  11. ^ Armstrong, Josh (July 30, 2012). "Director Barry Cook remembers the Peoples of Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida". Animated Views. Archived from the original on January 27, 2022. Retrieved April 23, 2022. In October 2002, Thomas Schumacher announced he would be leaving Walt Disney Feature Animation.
  12. ^ Godfrey, Leigh (January 3, 2003). "David Stainton Named President, Disney Feature Animation". Animation World Network. Archived from the original on March 21, 2022. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  13. ^ "Test of Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Disney on Broadway". Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Archived from the original on April 23, 2022. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  14. ^ "TDF Salutes Thomas Schumacher and Disney Theatrical Tonight". Playbill. March 14, 2016. Archived from the original on February 27, 2021. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  15. ^ "Thomas Schumacher". The City University of New York. Archived from the original on April 23, 2022. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  16. ^ Fritz, Ben (February 21, 2018). "At Straitlaced Disney, a Star Producer's R-Rated Behavior Draws Complaints". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  17. ^ Galuppo, Mia (February 21, 2018). "Disney Theatrical Chief Thomas Schumacher Accused of Harassment". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 23, 2022. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  18. ^ "How Does the Show Go On? The Frozen Edition: An Introduction to the Theater". Disney Publishing. Archived from the original on January 27, 2022. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  19. ^ Provenzano, Tom (June 28, 1994). "The Lion in Summer". The Advocate: 64–65, 71.
  20. ^ Elice, Rick. "This Past November 24th". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on October 19, 2020. Retrieved September 4, 2020.