Bill Kenwright, one of the U.K.'s most prominent and prolific producers, died October 23 following a long illness. The news was shared by Jenny Seagrove and Lucy Kenwright of Bill Kenwright Ltd., via a press representative.
Born September 4, 1945 in Liverpool, Mr. Kenwright started his life in the arts as an actor, most notably on the British soap opera Coronation Street. He would find his greatest success as a producer, bringing more than 500 West End, Broadway, touring, and international productions to the stage over his six-decade career.
Among his many credits are a longstanding association with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which he brought to London's West End in 1980 and continued to revisit with new touring and London revivals throughout his career. As with his production of Joseph, he both directed and produced the long-running West End revival of Blood Brothers, which crossed the pond to Broadway in 1993 and earned him a Tony nomination. Mr. Kenwright would earn 10 Tony Award nods over his career, winning in 1992 for producing Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa and in 1997 for a revival of A Doll's House.
Joseph would be just the first of many associations with Lloyd Webber musicals. Mr. Kenwright also produced U.K. tours of Jesus Christ Superstar, Tell Me On a Sunday, and Whistle Down the Wind, and stepped in as director when the West End's Love Never Dies was revised post-opening. Kenwright also produced the 2011 West End The Wizard of Oz, which was co-produced with Lloyd Webber and featured new songs by Lloyd Webber and Rice.
More recent projects include a U.K. tours of Fame, Saturday Night Fever, and Jekyll & Hyde; continued mountings of Blood Brothers; a West End revival of Cabaret; and a world tour of Evita.
Mr. Kenwright was also a majority shareholder and chairman of Everton Football Club, leading the group through a period of unprecedented change for the sport.
He is survived by actor and longtime partner Jenny Seagrove, daughter Lucy Kenwright, and two grandchildren. A celebration of Kenwright's life and career will be held, with details to be announced.