Gene Columbus had a performing career working in Motion Pictures and Television, as well as Musical Theatre while attending Santa Monica College. Over time, Stage Management opportunities became available and this was perhaps, the best training and use of Gene’s talents.
In 1970, the Disney Organization asked that he join the national and international tour of “Disney on Parade” as the Ballet Master, Assistant Stage Manager, and Cinderella's Prince. In 1977, Gene accepted a position at Walt Disney World as Manager of Entertainment in the Magic Kingdom. Later, he took on the responsibility as General Manager of Disney’s Convention and Resort Entertainment which involved doing large scale special events and convention shows. Through the years, Gene continuously was involved with Entertainment staffing issues.
Gene has over 35 years of Disney experience, having managed, produced, cast, and directed many of the shows and events at Walt Disney World. Until his retirement in early 2008, he guided and assisted others with their careers in the entertainment industry. In 1999, he accepted a position as an Adjunct Professor with the University of Central Florida Theatre department teaching Stage Management.
In the spring of 2008, Gene returned to his first love, theatre, and is now the Executive Director of the Orlando Repertory Theatre.
As a committed community volunteer, he has received many awards and acknowledgements including: The United Arts “Volunteer of the Year” and the Edgewood Children’s Ranch “The Dream Maker Award” for his more than twenty-five years producing events which raised millions of dollars. In 2004, he was honored with the “Jack Holloway Star of Gratitude” from UCP Child Development Centers and in 2005; Event Solutions inducted him into the “Special Events Hall of Fame.”
Gene has been married to Becky, a dance instructor, for 38 years and has two sons who are both involved in the performing arts. His son, Robert, is a musician at Walt Disney World and owns and operates a recording studio. His youngest son, Nigel, is currently on the national tour of SPAMALOT as the understudy to Lancelot and a member of ensemble swing. Gene has had an exciting career and a very blessed life!