MTI is to open a European office in London this summer, to be accompanied by new offices in Melbourne, Australia, by the end of this year and eventually in the Far East.
Originally founded over 60 years ago by composer Frank Loesser (Guys and Dolls, The Most Happy Fella, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying), is responsible for licensing many of Broadway's most-popular titles, from Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof and Annie to Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors and Mamma Mia! It also represents the majority of works of Stephen Sondheim (including Into the Woods and Sweeney Todd), as well as all the stage productions of Disney Theatrical and Cameron Mackintosh (including The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Miss Saigon and Les Misérables).
MTI Chairman Freddie Gershon invited producer Cameron Mackintosh to join him as equal partner in the company 25 years go. In an effort to ensure that a large corporation could not sweep in and take control, Mackintosh now stands as majority shareholder in the company.
Gershon, who for decades has worked intimately with the writers whose work MTI represents, will slowly phase out his role at MTI, with Drew Cohen taking on the role of Chief Operating Officer.
"Human beings have a shorter lifespan than copyrights," Gershon explained. "That is why Drew Cohen started here 12 years ago. I wanted to make sure that my legacy and my vision would be followed. Nothing about what MTI represents will change. We are about integrity and putting the rights holders first. We care." "It's a significant advantage knowing that the future of MTI will involve stability, consistency and continuity," said Cohen.
Mackintosh is in a key position to help MTI expand its reach and extend writers' legacies. The move comes as the hunger for the Broadway musical is burgeoning across the globe, especially in Asian markets.
"We have never been shortsighted about licensing," remarked Gershon, who has helped extend the lifetime and reach of theatre writers by creating Broadway Junior – a move that introduced Broadway musicals into the grade school market.
Similar ambition and resource will be applied to MTI's continued growth, with offices opening across the globe under MTI's stewardship.
"We will have international ventures directly on the ground," Gershon explained. "It will have huge impact in Scandinavia, Germany and also in Australasia. Tours now move up the Pacific Rim, from Singapore into mainland China and Japan. It's all now part of the vision."
There will be continuity and more control over the end product that hits the stage. "What's important is that our writers will see more productions of their work and more collaborative entities abroad, which will build and feed this bigger international market that has been growing and growing," he added.
A centralized team in New York and London will ensure continuity for the writers who entrust MTI to protect and license their intellectual copyright. "The rights holders are the beneficiaries. We are fiduciaries. We never forget that," Gershon said.
For further information on MTI, visit mtishows.com.