Concord Music announced their acquisition of play and musicals licensor Samuel French December 17, along with the formation of a new theatrical licensing house. The deal sees Concord Theatricals now comprising the libraries of Rodgers & Hammerstein Theatricals, Samuel French, and Tams-Witmark, as well as the formation of The Musical Company, a joint venture between Concord and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group. This expansive catalog makes Concord Theatricals the largest current licensing house.
Samuel French is the first licensor of plays to join the Concord family. Licensing plays and musicals for nearly two centuries, Samuel French's catalog includes works by such playwrights as August Wilson, Arthur Miller, Lorraine Hansberry, and Neil Simon. The Samuel French musicals catalog includes Grease, Chicago, Fun Home, The Wiz, Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812, and Heathers.
The formation of Concord Theatricals is the culmination of seven years of investment into the theatrical market, beginning with the acquisition of the Marvin Hamlisch catalog in 2011. Concord Music joined with Really Useful Group to create The Musical Company in 2016, which primarily handles the musicals of Lloyd Webber. Rodgers & Hammerstein Theatricals, licensor of the entire R&H library along with such musicals as In the Heights and Be More Chill, was acquired as part of parent company Imagem Music in 2017, with Tams-Witmark bringing such works as Hello, Dolly!, The Wizard of Oz, and Bye Bye Birdie when it was acquired earlier this year.
The merger poises Concord Music to become a one-stop-shop for musical theatre creators and producers, with departments handling not only theatrical licensing but also music publishing, cast recordings, and the development of new material for the stage.
Concord Theatricals is led by Sean Patrick Flahaven, founding CEO of The Musical Company, with Samuel French President Nathan Collins joining as General Manager. The executive team is made up of theatre professionals from all four licensing companies, including Ted Chapin (President and Chief Creative Officer of Rodgers & Hammerstein Theatricals) and Sarge Aborn (CEO, Tams-Witmark). Senior staff includes Victoria Traube, Imogen Lloyd Webber, Abbie Van Nostrand, Amy Rose Marsh, and Vivien Goodwin.
“The Samuel French team is incredibly excited to join the Concord Theatricals family,” states Collins. “For 188 years, Samuel French has been the iconic name in theatrical licensing and publishing and this merger will enable us to continue to provide our clients with the most innovative products, dynamic marketing and transparent reporting. Under Sean’s leadership, we will build upon the great catalogs of the two organizations and create the preferred home for the works of playwrights, composers, and lyricists.”
“It’s a genuine privilege to represent these iconic shows and catalogs," added Flahaven. "We are uniquely positioned to promote our writers’ work and competitively expand our roster going forward. Our focus is on serving our clients’ art, protecting their rights and helping our customers bring great theatre at every level of production to audiences all over the world.”