Disney has created a second theatrical division, titled Hyperion Theatricals, to be supervised by producers Peter Schneider and Thomas Schumacher. Hyperion joins the already existing Disney Theatricals. Together the two will form Buena Vista Theatrical Group Ltd. "The creation of the Hyperion Theatricals banner, along with Disney Theatricals, allows us to guide our audience to the projects we think may be right for them," said Schneider and Schumacher in a joint statement. "We believe our audiences will be receptive to the distinction we're making between the two divisions."
The parcelling off of productions under different headings mirrors Disney's modus operandi in its movie division, where some pictures are made under the Disney banner, while others are released as Touchstone Pictures.
Aida, Disney's latest stage musical, due on Broadway this spring, will be marketed as a Hyperion production, as will the upcoming Hoopz, a basketball-themed musical being developed by Savion Glover, Reg E. Gaines and Kenny Leon. Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the latter now playing in Berlin, will remain Disney Theatrical productions. The three titles are distinct in that they are all drawn from existed Disney animated films.
Schneider and Schumacher will also continue to supervise Disney Theatricals.
Hoopz recently held auditions for cast members. According to a source close to the production, Hoopz will hold a workshop in New York City sometime in spring 2000.
--By Robert Simonson