Ontario Court Says Key Brand Can Sell Toronto Theatres to Mirvish Productions

News   Ontario Court Says Key Brand Can Sell Toronto Theatres to Mirvish Productions
An Ontario court has said that Key Brand Entertainment is free to sell Toronto's Canon and Panasonic theatres to Mirvish Productions, the city's major commercial theatre producer and presenter.

Competing producer Aubrey Dan of Dancap Productions had applied to the Ontario Superior Court for an injunction to block the sale of the touring houses to Mirvish Productions by Key Brand Entertainment. Justice Geoffrey Morawetz denied that application.

In his ruling Justice Morawetz said that "Dancap did not negotiate for, or obtain from Key Brand, any restraint on alienation that would limit Key Brand's right to sell the Theatres, nor did it negotiate for, or obtain, a right of first refusal or even a right of first negotiation on the sale of the Theatres. Dancap was aware that the Theatres would be sold, either by way of a sale or sale/leaseback, as soon as possible after the closing of Key Brand's acquisition of the Live Nation Assets to fulfill a condition imposed by J.P. Morgan. Dancap was also aware that, pursuant to the Co-Presenting Agreement [a lease agreement], Mirvish had a preexisting right of first negotiation on the Canon Theatre that would be triggered on a sale of the Canon Theatre."

Justice Morawetz further stated, "Dancap has no competing ownership rights of the Theatres and, in my view, there is no basis for Dancap to stop the sale of the Theatres to Mirvish. In my view, Dancap has failed to establish that there is a serious issue to be tried with respect to the ability of Key Brand to sell the Theatres."

It's a busy week for Dancap Productions. An engagement of the national tour of Jersey Boys begins Aug. 21 at its home at Toronto Centre for the Arts.

Aubrey Dan, founder and president of Dancap, stated that "Dancap is disappointed with the court's preliminary ruling, and we are currently reviewing all of our legal options. Dancap remains confident that it has a strong position on the merits of its legal claims." Dancap "sought its investment and strategic alliance with Key Brand in an attempt to continue to service the Toronto theatre public with the production and presentation of high-caliber Broadway style theatre."

John Gore, CEO of Key Brand Entertainment, said in an Aug. 20 statement: "We are pleased with this decision and can now focus on the job of planning an even brighter theatrical future for the city of Toronto and throughout Canada. We have always acted entirely in the best interests of the shareholders of Key Brand, including Aubrey Dan. While we want him to become a successful producer and wish him well with the opening of Jersey Boys in Toronto next week, we believe that the theatrical community flourishes when everyone works together for the good of the audience. Negotiation via litigation, threats and innuendo is not how we want to do business. I just hope we can now all work together for that brighter future."


As previously announced, Dancap Productions will co-produce the Toronto return of the beloved Canadian musical Anne of Green Gables, present Happy Days, A New Musical, and stage a resident Canadian production of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! in 2009. Aubrey Dan, president of Dancap Productions, made the announcement May 20 at the Main Stage at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, where Dan has a long-term agreement to present and produce major productions — tours and shows he produces and co-produces.

The national tour of Happy Days, the new musical by Garry Marshall and Paul Williams, based on Marshall's famous TV sitcom, will arrive in February 2009.

Dancap will co-produce the Charlottetown Festival's Anne of Green Gables, based on the beloved "girl book" about a red-headed orphan on Prince Edward Island. It will begin in May 2009.

"Anne has graced our stage for 44 consecutive years," said David MacKenzie, CEO of Charlottetown's Confederation Centre of the Arts. "More than 2.3 million people will have seen our production in Charlottetown by the end of this summer. It is almost 18 years since we last staged Anne in Toronto, and we could not be happier than to announce today our partnership with Dancap Productions Inc. to bring Canada's favorite redhead to Toronto."

Based on L.M. Montgomery's book, Anne of Green Gables has a libretto by Don Harron, music by Norman Campbell and lyrics by Don Harron, Norman Campbell, Elaine Campbell and Mavor Moore.

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, with a Canadian cast and crew, will play November 2009 to January 2010.

"As a presenter, co-producer and producer, Dancap Productions is dedicated to embracing the Canadian theatre community," stated Paul Shaw, Dancap Productions' artistic producer. "Canada has a tremendous pool of talent that includes actors, directors, designers, musicians, and craftspeople, and as a keystone of Canada's entertainment industry, live theatre must continue to provide opportunities for the considerable talent we have in this country."

Originally conceived by the three-time Tony Award-winning director Jack O'Brien, the whimsical musical about Whoville and the creature who wants to thwart yule happiness features the songs "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and "Welcome Christmas" (from the animated TV version), plus a new score. The musical is a regional and Broadway hit in the U.S.


Launched in 2007 by Aubrey Dan, Dancap Productions Inc. (dancaptickets.com), is a commercial theatre company dedicated to producing the best of Broadway-style theatre created in collaboration with acclaimed artists and award-winning creative teams. On Broadway and internationally, the company's producing and investment credits include Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, Tom Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll, The Farnsworth Invention, Jersey Boys, Wicked, The Wedding Singer, The Pirate Queen and In the Heights.

Dancap Productions is also a strategic member of the theatrical development and production company Elephant Eye Theatrical which has a current slate of projects that include The Addams Family, Bruce Lee: Journey to the West and Saved.

For ticket information, visit dancaptickets.com.

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