Interior of The New Amsterdam Theatre
Photo: Disney Theatrical Productions
On April 28, 2014, The Actors Fund will honor Disney Theatrical Productions as they celebrate 20 years on Broadway. The producing organization, formed in 1994 and operating under the direction of president and producer Thomas Schumacher, will receive the Medal of Honor, the highest award given by the 132-year old non-profit human services organization.
The event begins with a 7 pm celebration tribute at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City that will feature performances from many of Disney’s hit stage productions. Casting and performances have yet to be announced. Following the Gala performances will be a post-performance cast party at the New York Marriott Marquis. For tickets to the April 28 Gala evening, call 212.627.1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A limited number of tickets for only the celebration tribute at the New Amsterdam Theatre will be available for purchase at a future date. For more information and updates, visit www.actorsfund.org.
The New Amsterdam Theatre
Photo: Disney Theatrical Productions
“Over these 20 years, Disney’s magical productions—on Broadway and on tour—have given vital support to our programs and services,” said Actors Fund President and CEO Joseph P. Benincasa. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to honor Disney and their leadership and commitment to this organization.”
Photo: The Walt Disney Company
Just in their original Broadway productions, Disney’s nine titles have enjoyed a cumulative run of more than 40 years and received 52 Tony nominations, winning Broadway’s highest honor 19 times. It has brought to the musical theatre beloved classic songs from its animated features, as well as dozens of new favorites by some of the greatest composers and lyricists in the world, including Alan Menken, Phil Collins, Tim Rice and Elton John. Its contribution to the Broadway community also extends to its remarkable fundraising efforts for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the largest funder of The Actors Fund.
For those not familiar with The Actors Fund, it is a national human services organization that helps everyone—performers and those behind the scenes—who works in performing arts and entertainment, helping more than 14,500 people directly each year, and hundreds of thousands online. Serving professionals in film, theatre, television, music, opera, radio and dance, The Fund’s programs include social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and employment and training services. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Actors Fund has been—for 132 years—a safety net for those in need, crisis or transition.
Disney Theatrical Productions, a division of The Walt Disney Studios, was formed in 1994 and operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher. Worldwide, its eight Broadway titles have been seen by over 128 million theatergoers; a Disney musical is being performed professionally somewhere on the planet virtually every hour of the day.
The Lion King
Photo: Disney Theatricals / Joan Marcus
The company’s inaugural production, Beauty and the Beast, opened in 1994. It played a remarkable 13-year run on Broadway and has been produced in 28 countries worldwide. In November 1997, Disney opened The Lion King, which received six 1998 Tony Awards including Best Musical and is now the highest grossing show in Broadway history. In its 17th smash year, it has welcomed over 70 million visitors worldwide to date. The Lion King can also currently be seen on tour across North America, the U.K., and Japan, and in London’s West End, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, Sao Paulo, and Sydney, Australia, a total of ten concurrent productions worldwide.
Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida opened on Broadway next, winning four 2000 Tony Awards, and spawning productions around the world. Mary Poppins, a co-production with Cameron Mackintosh, opened in London in 2004 and established itself as one of the biggest stage musical successes to emerge in recent years, launching seven productions on three continents.
Tarzan®, which opened on Broadway in 2006, is now an international hit with an award-winning production in its 6th year in Germany. In January 2008, The Little Mermaid opened on Broadway and was the #1-selling new musical of that year. Its success continues with new productions in Russia and Japan.
Photo: T. Charles Erickson / Paper Mill Playhouse
Disney Theatrical Productions opened two critically acclaimed productions on Broadway in 2012, receiving seven Tony Awards between them: Newsies, entering its third year at the Nederlander Theatre, and Peter and the Starcatcher, which enjoyed a two year New York run.