BREAKING NEWS: The UK’s biggest theatre owner, Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), has bought Foxwoods Theatre in New York.
ATG has acquired the Broadway venue from Live Nation Entertainment, following their 2009 deal to acquire 16 of Live Nation’s UK venues.
The 2,000 seater Foxwoods Theatre on Times Square is currently home to Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.
The purchase, which makes it the 40th theatre in ATG’s rapidly expanding portfolio, heralds a new international expansion for the group, with plans to acquire further venues in North America, Australia and Asia.
The move is a logical step for ATG, which already has a near monopoly on UK venues, to help drive growth for the company through international expansion. It also fits with ATG’s continuing push to produce its own theatre to stage and tour in its venues, including an on-going strategy to license Broadway IP such as Spamalot, Legally Blonde The Musical and 9 to 5 The Musical.
Their recent Broadway productions include The Mountaintop with Samuel L Jackson and Angela Bassett, Exit the King starring Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon and John Doyle’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. Through their association with Sonia Friedman Productions they have co-produced The Book of Mormon, Nice Work If You Can Get It and Jerusalem.
Howard Panter, who with wife Rosemary Squire is co-CEO of ATG, said: “It is no secret that we at ATG have been looking to expand our impressive portfolio of UK theatres, by making acquisitions and alliances in strategic markets around the world. We have been waiting for the right opportunity and The Foxwoods Theatre is a perfect match for our ambitions.”
The acquisition of Foxwoods is an important step-change for ATG and sends a clear signal to the Broadway industry that they are serious players, both in terms of theatre production and ownership.
It may also fuel speculation that one of Broadway’s biggest shows, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, may soon find itself a London home in an ATG venue. Last month the original director of the show, Julie Taymor, finally settled her suit again the producers of the show for unpaid royalties and copyright claim. It is widely believed that this now paves the way for producers to open the show in the West End.