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DMIS Celebrates Ten Year Anniversary with New Initiatives



Disney Musicals in Schools (DMIS), an outreach initiative developed by Disney Theatrical Productions to create sustainable theatre programs in under-resourced elementary schools, is entering its tenth landmark year.

Launched in New York City in 2010, the program was developed in response to the Disney Theatrical Production’s concerns that under-resourced public elementary schools were not afforded equitable access to the arts. After its successful launch in New York City schools, Disney Theatrical Productions began partnering with performing arts organizations across the country, expanding the program nationwide.

To date, the program has impacted more than 300 schools, nearly 1,000 teachers and over 40,000 students worldwide. With the 2018 launch in Los Angeles hosted by Center Theatre Group, DMIS is now in 21 cities, including its first international program in London.

Through the program, schools receive free performance rights and materials to a 30-minute version of a Disney musical adapted for elementary school performers. Over the course of a semester, professional Teaching Artists guide school teachers through the process of mounting a musical with student performers with the goal of providing the training necessary for teachers to continue a tradition of theatre education for years to come.

“Disney Musicals in Schools benefits on two levels,” explained Thomas Schumacher, President & Producer, Disney Theatrical Productions. “For teachers, our program provides hands-on skills to build self-sustaining theatre programs in their schools. For students, participating in musical theatre builds confidence, team-building and problem-solving skills to last a lifetime, regardless of one’s eventual career path. All of us at Disney Theatrical continue to be inspired by the teachers and students across America who have built deeper community connections through the DMIS program and its unique approach to arts engagement.”

In celebration of this milestone anniversary, Disney will collaborate with Center Theatre Group to provide schools in their first year of the program memorabilia for participants to document their experience, the opportunity for students and teachers to attend a professional age-appropriate show in their community, and contributions for their theatre programs in amounts up to $1,000 each.

Disney also donated $500,000 to Donors Choose to match and fund all eligible DMIS projects to help schools secure items for sets, costumes, props and supplies in support of their new theatre programs. Donors Choose is a school-specific crowdfunding organization that allows teachers to fundraise for materials related to a specific project.

Disney KIDS musicals, created in partnership with Music Theater International (MTI), are 30-minute musicals designed for elementary school performers and have been adapted from the classic Disney films “101 Dalmatians,” “Aladdin,” “The Aristocats,” “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book,” “The Lion King” and “Winnie the Pooh.”

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Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, which, under Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, programs seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2100-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

Disney Theatrical Productions (DTP) operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher and is among the world’s most successful commercial theatre enterprises, bringing live entertainment events to a global audience of more than 20 million people a year in more than 50 countries. Under the Disney Theatrical Productions banner, the group produces and licenses Broadway productions around the world, including “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” Elton John & Tim Rice’s “Aida,” “TARZAN®,” “Mary Poppins,” a co-production with Cameron Mackintosh, “The Little Mermaid,” “Peter and the Starcatcher,” “Newsies,” “Aladdin” and “Frozen.” Other successful stage musical ventures have included the Olivier-nominated London hit “Shakespeare in Love,” stage productions of Disney’s “High School Musical,” “Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame” in Berlin and “King David” in concert. DTP has collaborated with the country’s leading regional theatres to develop new stage titles including “The Jungle Book,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Freaky Friday.”

Disney Theatrical Productions also delivers live shows globally through its license to Feld Entertainment, producer of “Disney on Ice” and “Marvel Universe Live!,” bringing beloved Disney stories and characters annually to over 12 million guests in nearly 50 countries worldwide. In addition, DTP licenses musical titles for local, school and community theatre productions through Music Theatre International, including “The Lion King Experience,” a unique holistic arts education program wherein accredited elementary and middle schools produce condensed, age-appropriate JR. and KIDS adaptations of “The Lion King.”

Music Theatre International (MTI) is one of the world’s leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting theatres from around the world the rights to perform the greatest selection of musicals from Broadway and beyond. Founded in 1952 by composer Frank Loesser and orchestrator Don Walker, MTI is a driving force in advancing musical theatre as a vibrant and engaging art form.

MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these musicals to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 70,000 professional, community and school theatres in the US and in over 60 countries worldwide.

MTI is particularly dedicated to educational theatre, and has created special collections to meet the needs of various types of performers and audiences. MTI’s Broadway Junior™ shows are 30- and 60-minute musicals for performance by elementary and middle school-aged performers, while MTI’s School Editions are musicals annotated for performance by high school students.

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December 4, 2018