Music Theatre International Celebrates 70th Anniversary | Playbill

Industry News Music Theatre International Celebrates 70th Anniversary

The theatrical licensor was founded in 1952 by Guys and Dolls songwriter Frank Loesser and orchestrator Don Walker.

Theatrical licensor Music Theatre International celebrated its 70th anniversary May 29, marked as "Music Theatre International Day" by then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the company's 60th anniversary in 2012. MTI will celebrate the anniversary throughout the next year by showcasing theatrical organizations from around the world.

The company was originally founded in 1952 by Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying songwriter Frank Loesser and orchestrator Don Walker. In its beginnings, the licensor handled Loesser's musicals along with such titles as The Boy FriendThe FantasticksThe Music ManThe Pajama Game, and West Side Story. In the years since, their catalog has grown to include more than 600 shows by more than 300 artists, including Lynn Ahrens, Howard Ashman, Sara Bareilles, Jerry Bock, Jason Robert Brown, Anthony Drewe, Stephen Flaherty, Green Day, Sheldon Harnick, James Lapine, Jonathan Larson, Alan Jay Lerner, Andrew Lippa, Frederick Loewe, Robert Lopez, Thomas Meehan, Alan Menken, Lin Manuel-Miranda, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, Stephen Schwartz, Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, George Stiles, Stephen Sondheim, Jeanine Tesori, Frank Wildhorn, David Yazbek, and many more.

“Over the 30 years I have been involved with MTI, it has always been the mission of Freddie Gershon and me that MTI would be equally the home for the talented up-and-coming authors as well as the established and even legendary,” shares MTI Chairman Cameron Mackintosh. “Over the years of our stewardship, including the two decades since Drew Cohen joined MTI, many of our fledgling talents have now become leading lights of the entertainment industry. We hope our status as the largest independently owned secondary rights library in the world, serving many of the best writers in musical theatre through our highly experienced, dedicated, and passionate teams in our offices in New York, London, and Melbourne, ensure that music theatre is truly international in its reach. MTI is already looking forward to the next 70 years being busier than the last and we intend to stay on the front line of innovation and the natural home of all artists that want to retain ownership of their own destiny.”

MTI has a long history of supporting educational theatre, creating the Broadway Junior collection in 1996, which adapts Broadway musicals for performance by elementary and middle school–aged children; and School Editions in 2003, which include materials specifically prepared for high school-aged performers. Both have become part of MTI's commitment of bringing and building theatre education programs to underserved communities through a variety of special programs and initiatives. 

“MTI has distinguished itself by providing bespoke materials to serve all groups and performers, from special needs children to seniors to other underserved communities around the country," says Co-Chairman Freddie Gershon. "Our adapted musicals provide joy and excitement to those immersing themselves in preparing and performing a musical, which in turn nurtures their love for the art form and insinuates musical theater into their entire community’s culture. MTI is committed to broadening the fan and audience base throughout the United States and elsewhere around the world for all musical theater. This is the greatest single accomplishment of MTI and the one which I am most proud to see continue beyond MTI's first 70 years.”

"70 years is quite a milestone and one we could only have achieved thanks to the dedication of our incredibly talented team," adds MTI President and CEO Drew Cohen. "The MTI staff are unmatched in their passion for serving our authors' work and the customers who license them. We are grateful for the trust placed in MTI and look forward to continuing to earn it every day."

For more information and a timeline of MTI's history, visit


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