Ambassador Theatre Group has agreed to combine operations with Jujamcyn Theaters, per a report in The New York Times. The deal, subject to regulatory approval, would expand the Broadway footprint of ATG, one of the U.K.'s largest theatre landlords.
The British company is a relatively new face on Broadway, having taken over management of the Lyric Theatre (then the Foxwoods) in 2013, now home to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The group added the formerly dark Hudson Theatre (currently home to a new Jessica Chastain-led revival of A Doll's House) to its roster in 2017. The company's largest presence is in the U.K., where it handles 10 West End theatres and 27 regional houses. The group additionally operates 14 regional houses in the U.S. (including Boston's Emerson Colonial) and five other venues across Europe.
Jujamcyn has long operated as Broadway's smallest theatre owning group, controlling just five theatres: the August Wilson (currently home to Funny Girl), the Walter Kerr (Hadestown), the Al Hirschfeld (Moulin Rouge!), the Eugene O'Neill (The Book of Mormon), and the St. James (soon to be New York, New York). The deal brings the new conglomerate within striking distance of the Nederlander Organization, which handles nine theatres on Broadway, 15 U.S. regional houses, and three West End venues; but The Shubert Organization will remain Broadway's largest landlord with a staggering 17 theatres. The Shuberts also control the Forrest Theatre in Philadelphia and Off-Broadway's multi-stage New Work Stages and Stage 42.
Current Jujamcyn President Jordan Roth will reportedly become creative director of the new company as well as its largest individual shareholder, earning him a spot on the board. The New York Times also cites Providence Equity Partners and Australian T.E.G. as institutional shareholders.
The deal also has the potential to change the landscape of the Broadway season. ATG's Lyric and Hudson Theatres have notably been home to U.K.-originating and/or funded productions; the Lyrics' Harry Potter and the Cursed Child transferred to Broadway via London's West End and British producer Sonia Friedman, while the Hudson's A Doll's House, a new production, is led by British director-producer Jamie Lloyd. Could we see another British invasion?
Not all Broadway theatres are owned by large corporations. Six venues are operated by non-profits, including the Stephen Sondheim, Studio 54, and The American Airlines by Roundabout Theatre Company; the Vivian Beaumont by Lincoln Center Theater; the Hayes by Second Stage Theater; and the Samuel J. Friedman by Manhattan Theatre Club. Disney controls the New Amsterdam, currently home to its Aladdin, and Circle in the Square is independently owned.