Thomas Schumacher, longtime president of Disney Theatrical Group (DTG), has announced that he will move aside from managing the organization. Moving forward, the responsibilities previously covered by Schumacher will be shared by two executive vice presidents: Andrew Flatt and Anne Quart. Schumacher will remain with the company, assuming the new role of chief creative officer.
A timeline for the changes has not been announced. According to a source familiar with the matter, plans for this transition have been in the works since before the COVID-19 shutdown.
“With Andrew and Anne at the helm of DTG, I have the utmost confidence that this transition will only build upon the powerful partnership that’s brought us to where we are today,” Schumacher wrote in a letter to the staff. “It’s an exciting time, and I’m thrilled about the innovative opportunities we have ahead of us with this new leadership structure.”
Schumacher has been leading DTG for nearly 25 years. Initially founded as Walt Disney Theatrical in 1993 with the stage adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast,” DTG was established in 1996, beginning with “The Lion King.” Schumacher was named executive vice president, and Peter Schneider, then president of Disney Animation, was named president of DTG. Schumacher became co-president in 1999 and sole president in 2001 when Schneider left to form his own production company, partly funded by Disney.
Since then, Schumacher has overseen the development, creation and production of Disney’s live stage entertainment around the world, including Broadway, touring, international and licensed productions. Under his leadership, DTG has brought ten titles to Broadway, including “The Lion King,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Newsies” and “Aladdin,” and has shepherded DTG’s musicals to 38 countries. Schumacher developed a program with Music Theatre International to license select Disney Theatrical titles to schools, amateur and professional theaters. Additionally, he supervised Disney on Ice, produced with Feld Entertainment.
Flatt, senior vice president of strategy, marketing and revenue at DTG, will serve as executive vice president and managing director. In his new role, Flatt will be responsible for DTG’s strategy and business operations, including finance and technology, business and legal affairs, HR and DEI, labor relations, marketing, publicity, sales and education, merchandise, domestic touring and international partnerships as well as licensing. He will supervise licensing partnerships with Feld Entertainment and Music Theatre International.
Quart, senior vice president and co-producer at the Walt Disney Company, will now be executive vice president of producing and development at DTG as well as executive producer of the division’s current and future productions. She will oversee the global slate of DTG’s productions as well as new works from idea through execution.
Currently, DTG has “The Lion King” and “Aladdin” running on Broadway. “The Lion King” is also playing in the U.K., Spain, France, Germany, Japan, Brazil and on tour throughout North America as well as the U.K. and Ireland. There are international productions of “Aladdin” in Spain and Japan as well as a North American tour and U.K. tour. “Frozen” can be seen in the U.K., Germany and Japan as well as on the North American tour.
Both Flatt and Quart have worked with the organization for more than two decades.
Flatt and Quart will report to Cathleen Taff, president of distribution, franchise management and audience insight at the Walt Disney Company. They will continue to work with Schumacher.
Schumacher, as chief creative officer, will continue to report to Alan Bergman, co-chair of Disney Entertainment. While details about Schumacher’s new role have not been announced, among his counterparts of other Disney divisions are Jennifer Lee, chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Pete Docter, chief creative officer of Pixar.
“We have touched the hearts of millions of audience members,” Schumacher wrote. “And as we prepare to celebrate 30 years of Disney Theatrical, there’s so much more to explore as the possibilities of live entertainment and immersive experiences [continue] to evolve.”