NEW YORK CITY: The Great White Way just got a little greater. A British company, Ambassador Theatre Group, has announced that it will reopen and operate the Hudson Theatre, making it the second Broadway house owned by the group. The theatre, to be the 41st on Broadway, is slated to reopen for the 2016–17 season. It last hosted productions in 1968.
ATG, through its subsidiary, Hudson Theatre LLC, has entered a long-term lease for the Hudson from a subsidiary of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc (M&C). M&C and ATG will embark on a multi-million-dollar project to restore the venue.
In a joint statement, ATG’s joint CEOs, Sir Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire OBE, said, “As one of the oldest and most beautiful theatres on Broadway, we are thrilled to restore and operate the iconic Hudson Theatre. It presents us with enormous opportunities to present and produce even more productions in New York and in North America and will be the perfect companion to our larger Broadway musical house, the Lyric.”
The restorations will include front-of-house improvements and backstage and technical upgrades, including a new fly system. Built by producer Henry B. Harris, the theatre first opened in 1903 with a production of Cousin Kate starring Ethel Barrymore. It acquired landmark status in 1987. Under Millennium Hotels’ ownership, the theatre has been used as an events space.
ATG produces theatre on Broadway, the West End, and globally, with 46 venues worldwide. It acquired Broadway’s Lyric in 2013, which recently housed the revival of On the Town. It will next be home to Cirque du Soleil’s first Broadway production, Paramour, which will begin performances in April 16, 2016.
ATG’s executive director, David Lazar, said in a statement: “It’s a rare opportunity to give new life to a Broadway venue which helped establish Broadway as we know it. We thank Chairman Kwek for his great vision to return the Hudson Theatre to its rightful place on Broadway in partnership with ATG.”
The last new Broadway house to open was the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in 1998.