2013 Commencement Speakers
Jerry Nadal - 2013 College & Graduate Commencement Speaker
Jerry Nadal is a show business professional specializing in live performance; having worn many hats working over 25 years in the entertainment industry, Jerry currently holds the title of Senior Vice President, Resident Shows Division for Cirque du Soleil. He is responsible for 2,000 individuals from over 40 countries around the world who strive for perfection working for one of the world’s most creative entertainment companies. Jerry sits on the Executive Board of Cirque du Soleil reporting to the COO and is responsible for every aspect of the seven current live production shows in Las Vegas (Mystère, “O”,Zumanity, KÀ, The Beatles LOVE, CRISS ANGEL Believe and Zarkana); and the soon to open Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino as well as La Nouba at Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida. His overall operational responsibilities include human resources, finance, IT, technical show support, merchandising and a large sales and marketing team that oversees annual revenues of $500 million dollars. A large part of Mr. Nadal’s responsibilities also include the management of Cirque du Soleil’s operating partners which include MGM Resorts International, Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, Disney, Apple Records and the Michael Jackson Estate.
Having joined Cirque du Soleil in 1998, Mr. Nadal has held several positions including General Manager for the Resident Shows Division; Company Manager for the show KÀ during its creation period; Tour Manager for the Asia-Pacific touring production of Alegría while simultaneously holding the position of Managing Director for the Asia-Pacific regional division of Cirque in Singapore; as well as Company Manager for Alegría, during its run at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino on the Gulf Coast in Biloxi, Mississippi. He has also been responsible for the company’s advance into Asia opening shows in Tokyo, Japan at Downtown Disney and in Macau, China at The Venetian Resort and Casino.
Before joining Cirque, Mr. Nadal gained considerable experience in show business and held a variety of positions with several companies managing operations for various Broadway shows. He started out in the business as a stage manager which took him across the United States and Caribbean with productions of A Chorus Line, Cabaret, Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma!, Fiorello! and Masquerade at the Movies, he also toured as company manger with productions of Grease! and Little Shop of Horrors. Mr. Nadal’s first venture into the Las Vegas market was in the role of production manager for Starlight Express at the Las Vegas Hilton and he continued work as a production manager on national tours of Smokey Joe’s Cafe, 42nd Street and The Will Rogers Follies.
Mr. Nadal holds Associate in Arts and Bachelor of Science Degrees from St. John’s University in New York and an MBA in Global Management from the University of Phoenix. He also sits on the board of directors for Nevada Public Radio, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre, Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas, In12Days and One Drop USA foundation of Cirque du Soleil where Mr. Nadal was most recently the Executive Producer for a one night only benefit performance in Las Vegas that included over 230 performers to highlight the worldwide water crisis. Mr. Nadal and his partner Gene Lubas are the proud fathers of 6 year old twin boys, Harrison and Wilson and make their home in Las Vegas.
Thomas Schumacher - 2013 High School Commencement Speaker
Thomas Schumacher is the man who brought to the stage such beloved Disney characters as Simba, Ariel, Mary Poppins and a whole bunch of Newsies will speak at commencement ceremonies for the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) High School Class of 2013. Chancellor John Mauceri has announced that Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical Group, will speak during the ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, at the Stevens Center, 405 W. Fourth St.
Schumacher worked on the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival, served as assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Ballet, and has participated extensively in conferences and on panels relating to the arts and arts policy. A graduate of UCLA, he is a member of the Board of Trustees for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Tony Administration Committee, and serves on the Advisory Committee of the American Theatre Wing. He is a mentor for TDF Open Doors program and serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia University.
Schumacher has produced such hit Broadway musicals as Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, Mary Poppins (a co-production with Cameron Mackintosh), and Newsies, winner of two 2012 Tony Awards and now in its second smash year. Worldwide, Disney Theatrical Group’s eight Broadway titles have been seen by more than 124 million theatergoers and have cumulatively run a staggering 195 years.
Previously, as head of Disney’s Feature Animation Division, he supervised 21 animated features including NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS; POCAHONTAS; TOY STORY; THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME; HERCULES; MULAN; A BUG'S LIFE; TARZAN; TOY STORY 2; DINOSAUR; MONSTERS, INC.; LILO & STITCH; and FINDING NEMO.
In making the announcement, Mauceri wondered if any of the high school graduates will cross the stage never having seen a Schumacher film or stage production. “His legacy is a treasure trove of beloved characters and popular songs,” Mauceri said. “Our students have grown up with his work, and will be inspired by his words.”
Schumacher joined Disney in 1988 to produce the animated feature THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER, then served as executive producer on the 1994 animated blockbuster, THE LION KING, which is one of the highest grossing films of all time. He later brought THE LION KING to Broadway, where it won six Tony Awards in 1998, including Best Musical, and became Broadway’s highest grossing show of all time.
Schumacher also supervises Disney Live Family Entertainment, whose projects include Disney On Ice and Disney Live!, with 12 productions touring the globe at any one time.
Intensely passionate about theatre from an early age, Schumacher recognized the impact that theatre has on the lives of young people and developed a licensing program with Music Theatre International to make select Disney theatrical titles available for performance in schools and amateur theatres throughout the world.
“Thomas Schumacher has enjoyed a distinguished career that crosses several performing arts disciplines, and has been a steadfast advocate for artists,” Mauceri said. “He exemplifies all that we try to instill in our young artists here at the School of the Arts.”
As associate director of the acclaimed 1987 Los Angeles Festival of Arts, Schumacher was instrumental in presenting the American premiere of Canada's immensely popular Cirque du Soleil and the English-language premiere of Peter Brook's The Mahabharata.
He spent five years on staff at the Los Angeles Music Center's Mark Taper Forum, where he worked on more than 25 productions for the Taper Mainstage, Taper Too and the Taper's literary cabaret. Additionally, he produced three original productions for the Improvisational Theater Project, the theater's touring program for young audiences.
Schumacher is the author of the children's book “How Does the Show Go On? An Introduction to the Theatre,” published by Disney Editions and released in November 2007. This uniquely designed book is a first-of-its-kind introduction to the world of the theatre, from box office to backstage and beyond.
In 2009, Chancellor Mauceri created, arranged and conducted the Disney Legacy Concert, with more than 80 minutes of music based on the original materials in the Disney archives, resulting in world concert premieres and marking his debut in Walt Disney Concert Hall.