West End theatre owner and international theatre chain Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) has picked up five of Broadway’s most prestigious theatres, through a merger with big Broadway theatre producer and owner Jujamcyn Theaters.
ATG will add five Broadway theatres to their global portfolio – the St James Theatre, Al Hirschfeld Theatre, August Wilson Theatre, Eugene O’Neill Theatre and the Walter Kerr Theatre.
ATG already owns the Lyric Theatre on Broadway – currently home to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and the Hudson Theatre, which is currently playing Jamie Lloyd’s new production of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House starring Jessica Chastain (a production that London sadly lost out on!)
The portfolio of five theatres includes the August Wilson Theatre, where Lea Michele is currently starring as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl; the Eugene O’Neill Theater, home of The Book of Mormon on Broadway since 2011; the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, where Moulin Rouge! The Musical is playing; the Walter Kerr Theatre, currently the venue for musical Hadestown; and the St. James Theatre, where new Kander & Ebb and Lin-Manuel Miranda musical New York, New York is set to play, produced by London’s Sonia Friedman.
ATG currently own and operate 58 venues in the UK and US, including major West End venues the Harold Pinter Theatre – where Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons is currently playing; the Piccadilly Theatre, home of the London production of Moulin Rouge! The Musical; the Lyceum Theatre, the venue for Disney’s The Lion King; plus the Duke of York’s Theatre (Shirley Valentine is coming later this week), the Playhouse Theatre – aka The Kit Kat Club, where Rebecca Frecknall’s Cabaret is playing; the Apollo Victoria Theatre – home of Wicked; and the Phoenix Theatre, currently home to Noises Off, and then Frecknall’s hit Paul Mescal-helmed A Streetcar Named Desire.
Existing ATG CEO Mark Cornell will become CEO of the merged group – which is yet to be named; and Jujamcyn’s President Jordan Roth will get a seat on the board as the largest individual shareholder of the combined group, and also serve as creative director.
It is unclear how the new structure will work with existing ATG creative heads, including ATG’s Executive Producer Adam Speers, ATG’s management of The Jamie Lloyd Company, and other production companies that are part of the group – none more so than the ever mighty Sonia Friedman Productions. Sonia Friedman is producing Funny Girl on Broadway – at Jujamcyn’s August Wilson Theatre; forthcoming musical New York, New York – also in a Jujamcyn venue; and the critical-smash hit revival of Merrily We Roll Along starring Daniel Radcliffe, directed by her sister Maria, which is headed for Broadway in the Fall – theatre currently unknown.
Private Equity firm Providence Equity Partners will be the largest institutional shareholder of the new entity – as they are currently the largest shareholder of ATG’s parent company International Entertainment Holdings Limited.
In January, ATG took the Number 2 spot in The Stage’s annual Stage 100 UK theatre power list, with CEO Mark Cornell, head of programming Michael Lynas and in-house producer Adam Speers celebrated for navigating the perils of Covid and managing to remain innovative and creative.
Jordan Roth said in a press statement that: “This is a thrilling next chapter for Jujamcyn and ATG in our continued commitment to creating raves among our audiences, artists, producers, and teams. Our companies share a passion for innovation and hospitality as well a deep belief in the power of theater. By bringing our teams and talents together, we can bring out the best in each other to deliver that vision.”
Mark Cornell said: “We are delighted to be combining our operations with Jujamcyn. Our combined expertise and capabilities will enable producers and other creatives to bring their visions to life and create the unimaginable for our audiences. We are excited by the further development opportunities for our valued employees. I look forward to working with Jordan, Hal and the team at Jujamcyn to continue creating shows that touch, move, and unite people.”
The merger is expected to be completed in 2023, subject to regulatory approval.