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The Disney Theatrical Group, legally Buena Vista Theatrical Group Ltd.,[4][5] is the live show, stageplay and musical production arm of The Walt Disney Company. The company is led by Thomas Schumacher, and forms a part of Walt Disney Studios, one of the four major business segments of The Walt Disney Company.

Buena Vista Theatrical Group Limited
Disney Theatrical Group
FoundedNovember 23, 1999; 19 years ago (1999-11-23)
FoundersPeter Schneider
Thomas Schumacher
HeadquartersNew Amsterdam Theatre[1], ,
Key people
Thomas Schumacher, president[1]
David Schrader (EVP)[2]
ProductsMusicals, plays
  • Disney on Ice
  • Disney Live!
  • Disney on Broadway
  • Disney on Broadway on Tour
Production output
22 (2016[3])
Revenue$600 million (2015[3])
ParentWalt Disney Studios
(The Walt Disney Company)
DivisionsDisney Live Family Entertainment[1]
Disney Theatrical Licensing
SubsidiariesDisney Theatrical Productions



Starting in 1949, Ice Capades started adding Disney's segment to their performances. Costumes from those shows were used at the opening of Disneyland in 1955 with some performers hired away for Disney. With the characters a hit at the 1964 World's Fair, Walt wanted another outlet for "live" characters.[6] Disneyland put on Disney on Parade, a self-produced live arena show, starting in 1969.[6][7] After several years, Card Walker shut down the show as it was not making enough profit.[6]

Soon after Mattel/Feld Productions' 1979 purchased the Ice Follies And Holiday on Ice, Inc., Feld approach Disney about doing a Disney show on ice.[8][9] Thus Walt Disney's World on Ice premiered in 1981.[10] Disney Studio co-produced "Largely New York" with Kenneth Feld, owner of Feld Entertainment, that premiered on May 1, 1989 at St. James Theatre.[11]

On February 8, 1993, Disney incorporated Walt Disney Theatrical Productions, Limited[4] with Ron Logan as president to produce Beauty and the Beast: A New Musical,[12] which opened at the Palace Theater on April 18, 1994.[13] In 1997, DTP reopened New Amsterdam with King David.[14] Peter 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.[15]

Walt Disney Imagineering created Disney Fair, a $30-million U.S. traveling attraction that took up 5 acres. The fair started its 15 city 15-month tour at Puyallup, Washington in September 1996. With poor attendance, the fair was pulled after a few stops. Disney Entertainment Projects (Asia Pacific) Inc., a new Disney Asian Pacific subsidiary, selected a renamed fair called DisneyFest as its first project. The 1,000-ton show was transported by ship to Singapore. The festival opened on October 30, 1997 there during the year-end holiday season for a three-month period.[16]


Buena Vista Theatrical Group Ltd. was the name of Disney Theatrical Productions as of November 23, 1999[4] with Disney Theatrical Productions becoming its first division. In January 2000, the formation of the group along with Hyperion Theatricals, Disney's second production division, to oversee Hyperion and Disney Theatrical Productions (DTP) was announced. Hyperion's first production was Aida and all other non-Disney animation based productions were placed under Hyperion.[17] In September 2000, all three US DTG shows, both Hyperion and DTP, were placed under the "Disney on Broadway" banner, then under "Disney on Broadway on Tour" when the shows went on national tour.[18]

Schneider's promotion to studio chair left Schumacher as the only president of DTG in January 2000.[19] Schneider left Disney Studio in June 2001 to form his own theater production company partly funded by Disney.[20]

In 2003, Music Theatre International became licensing agent for Disney musicals and plays for the school performances.[21] After May 2007, Buena Vista Theatrical Group changed its trade name to Disney Theatrical Group.[5][22] DTG's Disney Live Family Entertainment signed a 10-year agreement with Feld Entertainment for Disney on Ice, Disney Live and other Disney productions in August 2008.[23]

On October 31, 2010, the group closed its Glendale, California office and cut staff in a DTG reorganization.[1] In April 2013, Disney Studios initiated a 5% layoffs across all unit including DTG as the Disney conglomerate moves towards a reorganization later in the year.[24] On April 28, 2014, the Group was an honoree at the Actors Fund Annual Gala.[25] Disney India launched its Live Entertainment operations in 2015 with the production of Beauty and the Beast musical to be shown from October to December in Mumbai and Delhi.[26]


  • Disney Theatrical Productions is the primary production arm of Disney Theatrical Group. This subsidiary has been responsible for the production of many different musicals on Broadway. Acclaimed shows include: Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Tarzan, The Little Mermaid, Newsies, Aladdin, and Frozen. The Group also produces touring productions of their shows.
  • Disney Theatrical Licensing is DTG's show licensing arm which licenses its shows for performance by local school and community theatres via its agent, Musical Theatre International (MTI). Shows like Beauty and the Beast, Aida, and High School Musical are licensed. Disney also licenses special versions of shows for performance by younger children. Some of these shows include titles like Aladdin Jr., The Lion King Jr. Mulan Jr, or Mary Poppins Junior. In October 2016, “Freaky Friday” premiered as a licensed theatrical production in Washington, DC.[3]
  • Disney Live Family Entertainment, which incorporates Disney on Ice ice shows and Disney Live, produced by Feld Entertainment.[2] The ice shows include shows like Finding Nemo on Ice, Princess Classics and High School Musical: The Ice Tour. These shows are stage shows aimed at young children. They’re often interactive and invite the children to get involved in the performance. Some of these titles include: Playhouse Disney Live! and Mickey’s Magic Show!
    • Walt Disney Special Events Group is responsible for live character promotional shows and events.[27]
  • New Amsterdam Development Corp.
  • New Amsterdam Theatrical Productions, Inc.
  • Walt Disney Theatrical Worldwide, Inc.
  • Buena Vista Theatrical Ventures, Inc.
  • Buena Vista Theatrical Merchandise, LLC

Hyperion TheatricalsEdit

Hyperion Theatricals was Buena Vista Theatrical Group secondary production division assign all non-Disney animation based productions.[17] Hyperion shared its name with a Disney publishing label, which was named after the Silver Lake street that was Disney's first local address. The new production unit would focus on more traditional Broadway fare.[28]

Hyperion Theatricals was formed in January 2000 along with Buena Vista Theatrical Group Ltd., Disney's theatrical oversite company. Producers and heads of Disney Theatricals Peter Schneider and Thomas Schumacher were assigned to run Hyperion. Hyperion's first production was Aida with the in development Hoopz and all other non-Disney animation based productions were placed under Hyperion.[17] Hoopz, a Harlem Globetrotters based musical by Savion Glover, Reg E. Gaines, and Kenny Leon, was in work shop phase in second quarter 2000.[29]

In September 2000, Aida was placed with Disney Theatrical Productions shows under the "Disney on Broadway" banner, then under "Disney on Broadway on Tour" when the show went on national tour starting April 6, 2001. Hoopz was then hedged as to whether or not it would be released as a Hyperion or Disney Theatrical production.[18]


Based on the opera by Giuseppe Verdi, it tells the story of a Nubian slave who falls in love with an Egyptian captain. It was written by Elton John and Tim Rice. It began previews on February 25, 2000 and officially opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on March 23, 2000. Aida closed on September 5, 2004 and ran for a total of 30 previews and 1852 performances. The Broadway production won four Tony Awards including Best Actress (Heather Headley), Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Music. Since its run on Broadway, it has had a U.S. national tour and productions around the world.[30]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Finke, Nikki (October 7, 2010). "Disney Theatrical Bottom-To-Top Shakeup?". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Rooney, David (June 25, 2008). "Disney's theater unit ups Schrader". Variety. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Cox, Gordon (November 22, 2016). "All the World's a Stage". Variety. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Buena Vista Theatrical Group Ltd". Business Entity search. New York Secretary of State. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "EX-21 SUBSIDIARIES OF THE COMPANY". SEC. November 24, 2010. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Korkis, Jim (September 13, 2005). "Wednesdays with Wade: 25 years of "Disney on Ice"". JimHillMedia. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  7. ^ "Live Disney Characters in Traveling Arena Show". The News and the Eastern Townships Advocate (Vol. 123 No. 45). St. Johns, PQ: E.R. Smith Co. Ltd. September 17, 1970. pp. 3, 2. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  8. ^ Dale, Steve (January 20, 1995). "Snow White And Greenbacks". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  9. ^ "Feld Family Buys Ringling Bros". The New York Times. Associated Press. March 19, 1982. Retrieved 2008-07-20. ... and the new Walt Disney's World on Ice. ...
  10. ^ Schneider Farris, Jo Ann. "Shipstads and Johnson Ice Follies". About Figureskating. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  11. ^ Nelson, Nels (May 2, 1989). "Curtain Up On 'Largely New York'". Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  12. ^ Wilson, Paige (February 4, 2015). "UCF Rosen professor a window into Walt Disney World". Central Florida Future. Gannett. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  13. ^ Kennedy, Shawn G.; Lesser, Ellen C. (May 12, 1995). "Disney and Developer Are Chosen To Build 42d Street Hotel Complex". The New York Times. p. B2. Retrieved July 30, 2015. Disney has signed a 49-year lease to the 92-year-old New Amsterdam Theater, though it can get out of the deal by July 15 if certain conditions are not met.
  14. ^ Singer, Barry (October 4, 1998). "Theater; Just Two Animated Characters, Indeed". The New York Times. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  15. ^ Simonson, Robert (January 12, 1999). "Thomas Schumacher Promoted to Co-President of Disney Theatricals". Playbill. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  16. ^ Matzer, Marla (August 28, 1997). "It Didn't Play in Puyallup, so Disney Tries Singapore". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  17. ^ a b c "Disney Creates New Theatre Division, Hyperion Theatricals". Pay Bill. January 31, 2000. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  18. ^ a b Hofler, Robert (March 14, 2001). "Mouse's 'Aida' takes to the road". Variety. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  19. ^ Lyman, Rick (January 13, 2000). "Disney Studio Chairman Decides to Step Down". The New York Times. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  20. ^ Lyman, Rick (June 21, 2001). "Chairman of Disney's Studios Resigns to Return to Broadway". The New York Times. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  21. ^ Foster, Catherine (October 2, 2005). "Tailoring a hit Broadway musical for the school market means shortening, rescoring, and deciding what will play in Peoria". Boston Globe. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  22. ^ Fixmer, Fixmer (April 25, 2007). "Disney to Drop Buena Vista Brand Name, People Say (Update1)". Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  23. ^ Grove, Lloyd (August 28, 2008). "The World According to Kenneth Feld". Upstart Business Journal. American City Business Journals. p. 18. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  24. ^ Graser, Marc (April 10, 2013). "Layoffs Under Way at Disney". Variety. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  25. ^ Shwayder, Maya (April 29, 2014). "Disney on Broadway Stages Reunion Show for the Actors Fund Gala". Variety. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  26. ^ Malvania, Urvi (August 12, 2015). "Disney launches its theatrical brand with Beauty and the Beast". Business Standard. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  28. ^ SHIRLEY, DON (February 6, 2000). "Theater Notes: Disney Name Game". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  29. ^ Windeler, Robert (February 21, 2001). "Newswire: Disney Forms Theatre Division". Backstage. BPI.
  30. ^ Ehren, Christine; Simonson, Robert (January 5, 2002). "Aida Bids Addio to Los Angeles, Travels on to Boston, Philly, Chicago in 2002". Play Bill. Archived from the original on September 7, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2015.

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