Britain names theatrical power brokers, movers, and shakers.
The Stage, the U.K. theatre trade paper (of which I am associate editor), publishes an annual list called The Stage 100, in which it offers a yearly snapshot in the changing fortunes (in every sense) of Britain’s theatrical elite.
This year’s list was topped for the first time by producer Sonia Friedman, co-producer of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in the West End, which is lining up a Broadway transfer in 2018. She is also currently producing the West End premiere of Dreamgirls. She’s currently represented in the West End by the transfer of Mark Rylance in Nice Fish and is co-producer of the West End edition of The Book of Mormon. In a statement, she commented about how she feels “extremely lucky to do a job I love so much and to have had such a stimulating and creatively diverse year.” The Stage’s print editor, Alistair Smith, commented that “in 2016, she went stratospheric.... She is a phenomenon and now undisputed Queen of Theatreland.”
Last year’s top position holders—who held the number one slot continuously since 2009—were Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire, co-founders and chief executives of Ambassador Theatre Group, Britain’s largest theatre owning group (who also own the Lyric and the new Hudson on Broadway). But having been replaced last May by Mark Cornell and Adam Kenwright, they have slipped in the rankings down to 30th in the list—with Cornell and Kenwright newly entering the list at fourth. At second and third, respectively, are Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh, long-time associates (they co-produced Cats and The Phantom of the Opera together), sometimes rivals and also owners of their own theatre chains. The National’s leadership team of artistic director Rufus Norris, executive director Lisa Burger and deputy artistic director Ben Power move up the list to their highest position since Norris took up his post, to come in fifth on the list.
Arise, Sir Mark and bow to Dame Patricia!
Mark Rylance—three time Tony winner (for Boeing-Boeing, Jerusalem and Twelfth Night)—is to be knighted and Tony winner Patricia Routledge (for the 1968 musical Darling of the Day) is to be made a dame in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year’s Honors list. Amongst other honorees announced are Sir Richard Eyre, who becomes a Companion of Honor (a rare honor, held by only 65 people at any time), directors Rupert Goold, Indhu Rubasingham, and Jatinder Verma, and actors Helen McCrory, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sharon D. Clarke and Clive Rowe.
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