The French expansion comes shortly after the Dutch-based company’s decision to split from Dodgers, their New York producing partners.
Van den Ende, best-known as the co-founder of Endemol, the TV company that created “Big Brother” and a slew of other popular TV shows, has become a powerful player in international musical theatre. He learned the trade from Cameron Mackintosh, who entrusted him with the Mackintosh stable of shows in Holland.
Since then, Stage Holding has created its own shows — including Titanic and the ill-fated Dracula-The Musical on Broadway — as well as looking after shows for others (they shepherded the Dutch and German productions of Disney’s Aida).
They have also bought theatres across Europe. But Paris and musicals are seen by the industry as a mismatch. The shows which have set French box offices on fire, like Notre Dame De Paris and Romeo and Juliet, have bombed elsewhere (both of those were notorious London flops). On the other hand, Les Misérables, a decidedly successful French export, failed in Paris and only found success when Mackintosh and the Royal Shakespeare Company developed it for London.
Bart van Schriek, Stage Holding’s board member for finance and business development, told Variety that research shows that big musicals like Mamma Mia! and The Lion King will now work in the city. The Mogador is a 1,800-seater on the Right Bank and ends what van Schriek said had been a long search for a Stage Holding acquisition in Paris. It will bring Stage Holding’s holdings to 19 theatres: eight in Germany, two in The Netherlands, three in Spain and a five-theatre complex Off-Broadway. Future plans include buying another theatre in Italy and one in Russia, and building a new theatre for musicals in Amsterdam.