Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group to Sell Four West End Theatres to New Consortium

News   Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group to Sell Four West End Theatres to New Consortium
 
Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group is reducing its theatre-owning portfolio further, with the disposal of four of the theatres in its stable to a new consortium led by former TV executive Michael Grade and theatrical agent Michael Linnit.

Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The four theatres are the Palace, the New London, Her Majesty's and the Cambridge. The Palace was the first theatre Lloyd Webber owned independently, and where Jesus Christ Superstar played for most of the 70s before he owned it, and his shows Song and Dance, The Woman in White and a revival of Whistle Down the Wind have also played. The New London was where Lloyd Webber's Cats had its record- breaking 21 year run that established it as the longest-running musical of all time up to then. The Her Majesty's Theatre is where the original production of Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera opened and where it is still running, recently celebrating its 10,000th performance. The Cambridge was home to the original production of Lloyd Webber's Beautiful Game.

The selling price is reportedly in the region of £50 million. The Really Useful Group will retain its ownership of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and the London Palladium, as well as its 50 percent stake in the Adelphi, co-owned by Nederlander. Lloyd Webber previously disposed of four more theatres, the Lyric, Apollo, Garrick and Duchess, to Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer, who formed Nimax Theatres to operate them.

In a press statement, Lloyd Webber  commented, "Following my illness last year I was advised to reduce the debt in the family company. It is particularly difficult for me as the New London was Cats' home for 21 years. For nearly 25 years Her Majesty’s has been and still is the home of The Phantom of the Opera. The Palace has huge personal associations and was described by John Betjeman as ‘the only theatre architecture … which climbs into the regions of a work of art.' I am particularly proud that over the 25 years that I have owned the Palace I have been able to restore the magnificent auditorium and the exterior thereby removing the huge neon advertising hoarding that defaced both the theatre and Cambridge Circus. I have agreed that the purchase price be reduced by £5 million to enable GradeLinnit to invest this sum in the theatres, principally in the Palace. My commitment to composing, producing and theatre ownership remains as strong as ever."

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