Key Brand Entertainment Acquires Live Nation Tour Markets, Plans to Nurture New Work

News   Key Brand Entertainment Acquires Live Nation Tour Markets, Plans to Nurture New Work
Key Brand Entertainment, Inc., a private investment company "dedicated exclusively to the development, production and distribution of live theatre," announced Jan. 24 that it has acquired Live Nation, Inc.'s North American Theatrical Company — including the presenting operations Broadway Across America, Broadway Across Canada, and eight theatres in North America.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but underlined in the announcement is the company's plan to develop new works for the theatre.

Key Brand Entertainment is owned and controlled by British theatre producer John Gore (who will be CEO) and led by entertainment industry veteran Thomas B. McGrath (who will be chairman).

"We are dedicated to providing the absolute best in live theatre, and will actively look to acquire intellectual properties that can be developed into full, glorious productions," Gore stated.

McGrath stated, "Audiences across the country have shown an increasing appetite for the best theatrical experiences Broadway has to offer, and we are committed to delivering those to them as we reestablish a very active producing division. We are extremely eager to sit down with the top creative talents on Broadway and develop original works that will captivate audiences for years to come. In our increasingly virtual world there is simply no substitute for a live performance."

Broadway Across America is the major "promoter and producer of live theatrical events in the United States." Its Canadian division is Broadway Across Canada. The theatres acquired in the deal include Toronto's Canon and Panasonic Theatres. Toronto theatre producer Aubrey Dan will manage all of Key Brand Entertainment's Canadian assets. These include what was formerly Live Nation Canada's Theatrical Division, Broadway Across Canada and Toronto's Canon and Panasonic Theatres.

Dan will serve on the board of Key Brand Entertainment and as a chairman of Broadway Across Canada.

Dan stated, "Canada is hungry for great Broadway and West End productions that we will continue to provide while making it a priority to showcase the many talented actors, directors, craftspeople, designers and musicians we have in such abundance in Canada."

Key Brand Entertainment "intends to build on the company's significant expertise and geographic reach to broaden its production platform while simultaneously bringing some of Broadway's biggest hits to an expanded number of cities across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom," according to the announcement.

Broadway Across America currently offers Broadway national tours through a network of more than 40 theatres in the United States and Canada.

Last year, the company sold more than 6.4 million tickets.

"We are extremely pleased to be acquiring one of the theatrical industry's most powerful franchises and look forward to providing the financial and management stability needed to grow this company into the future," Gore stated. "…I intend to contribute ardently to the health of this industry on Broadway and in each city where our shows perform. We are in the business of creating memories and electrifying experiences that will both invigorate existing theatregoers and help encourage new ones."

Peter Schneider, former head of Walt Disney Theatrical, will join the board.

Key Brand Entertainment will be headquartered in New York City. Former Clear Channel Entertainment president of theatrical production Beth Williams will be chief operating officer and head of production for Key Brand. Steven Winton and David M. Anderson will continue to serve as CEO and COO, respectively, of Broadway Across America. There are no current plans to change the Broadway Across America staffing.

Broadway Across America is the leading presenter of touring live theatre throughout North America. Broadway Across America presents Broadway touring productions in 42 cities in North America and owns, operates and/or manages eight venues including Boston's Colonial Theatre and Charles Playhouse; Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre; Toronto's Canon Theatre and Panasonic Theatre; and Minneapolis' State Theatre, Orpheum Theatre and Pantages Theatre. The company has over 265,000 annual subscribers, 25 local presentational partners, 35 unique sponsors and 285 full-time employees.

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