Ambassador Theatre Group’s (ATG) takeover of the Emerson Colonial Theatre has been tipped to breathe new life into Boston’s Theatre District.
The London-based theatre operator is to invest several million dollars in refurbishments at the Colonial, which is now set to reopen in early 2018 having closed in 2015 at the end of the previous operator’s lease.
The theatre opened in 1900, and has hosted the world premieres of shows including Anything Goes, Carousel, Follies, A Little Night Music and La Cage aux Folles, all of which went on to run on Broadway. It is part of liberal arts school Emerson College, and the deal sees ATG enter into a 40-year lease agreement with the college.
“It’s a game-changer; bringing ATG to Boston as a partner with Emerson is the theatre’s version of bringing GE to our city,” said Lee Pelton, president of Emerson College.
The Colonial becomes the 47th theatre under ATG, alongside venues in North America, Europe and Australia. ATG’s portfolio of 12 West End theatres include the Apollo Victoria, Donmar Warehouse, Duke of York’s, Fortune, Harold Pinter, Lyceum, Phoenix, Piccadilly, Playhouse, Savoy and Trafalgar Studios 1 and 2.
Kristin Caskey, ATG’s executive vice president of content and creative in North America, added: “The Colonial is a wonderful venue: a big, opulent theatre with a long and impressive history, one that’s rich in names like Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Stephen Sondheim.
“It’s impossible to think of a theatre that’s been as important to Broadway that’s not actually on Broadway. And, of course, Boston isn’t simply a great American city. It’s one of America’s great theatre cities.”