Former DreamWorks Chief Damaschke to Speak at Commencement
April 5, 2016
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan University alumnus Bill Damaschke, the producer
of two Broadway-bound musicals, will present the address at the University’s Commencement on Sunday, May 1, at 1 p.m.
The ceremony will take place at the Kemp Commencement Plaza in front of State Farm
Hall. In case of inclement weather, Commencement will be held at the Shirk Center
Performance Arena. The event will be live streamed and available online after the event.
Damaschke is a producer of Gotta Dance, directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell with a planned Broadway
opening this fall, and The Prom, directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw. Prior to working
independently on theatrical production, Damaschke spent 20 years at DreamWorks Animation,
15 of those as chief creative officer. He was also head of creative production and
development, where he was responsible for leading the creative and artistic direction
of the studio. During his tenure, he was integrally involved in overseeing 28 of the
company’s animated releases, including the Academy Award-winning Shrek in 2001. The film and its sequels have become one of the biggest film franchises
of all time. Other films under Damaschke’s creative and artistic direction include
Kung Fu Panda, The Croods and How to Train Your Dragon. The films have taken in roughly $12 billion in worldwide box office and have been
nominated for 14 Academy Awards, winning two.
Damaschke joined the studio in 1995 as a production assistant on The Prince of Egypt before serving as co-executive producer for The Road to El Dorado in 2000. Separate from his responsibilities for Feature Animation, Damaschke was
named president of DreamWorks Theatricals in 2007, a then-new studio division overseeing
all live theatrical production for the company. The division’s work has included the
Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Circle Award-winning Shrek The Musical.
A native of Chicago, Damaschke earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in music and theatre
from Illinois Wesleyan in 1985 and began his career in animation working on the feature
film Pocahontas for Disney Animation. He received Illinois Wesleyan’s Distinguished Alumni Award in
2011. Damaschke recently joined the Roundabout Theatre’s Board of Directors Leadership
Council in New York, and provides support and fundraising efforts for several charities
focusing on healthcare and the arts, including the Motion Picture & Television Fund
Foundation and the Hammer Museum at UCLA.