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Disney Musicals in Schools celebrates ten year anniversary

Feb 15, 2019, 12:49 PM by Kelly Bartnick




Disney Musicals in Schools (DMIS), an outreach initiative developed by Disney Theatrical Productions to create sustainable theater 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.  Omaha Performing Arts is now in its third year of DMIS, which 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 theater 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 Omaha Performing Arts 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 theater 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 theater programs.  Donors Choose is a school-specific crowd funding 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.

For more information visit Omaha Performing Arts or Disney Musicals In Schools.

OMAHA PERFORMING ARTS is dedicated to providing the best Broadway, jazz, blues, dance, comedy, family and popular entertainment to the citizens of Omaha at the Orpheum Theater, Holland Performing Arts Center and beyond. As Nebraska's largest arts organization, we also provide education opportunities and free community events to expand arts appreciation. Ticket Omaha is our official ticket provider.

We are grateful for support from the Nebraska Arts Council, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Omaha and Douglas County. We also rely on corporate sponsors, donors and foundations. More Information.

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.