Cameron Mackintosh, the U.K. stage producer behind global megahits including “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Miserables,” has pacted to purchase the West End’s Victoria Palace and the Ambassadors Theaters, bringing his theater group’s roster of London venues up to nine.
The org, Delfont Mackintosh, will rename the Ambassadors, christening it the Stephen Sondheim — thereby making composer Sondheim (“A Little Night Music,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Into the Woods”) the only legit figure with a theater named after him both on Broadway and on the West End. (On Broadway, the Sondheim theater is currently the home of Carole King musical “Beautiful.”)
The expansion of Mackintosh’s theater portfolio comes as the producer has just opened his new West End revival of “Miss Saigon,” likely to arrive on Broadway sometime in the next seasons or two. In New York, the new revival of “Les Miserables” has been one of the Street’s top sellers since it began performances in the spring.
Currently the home of “Billy Elliot,” the 1,500-seat Victoria Palace is set to undergo significant remodeling and renovation that will shutter the venue for about a year starting in the fall of 2016. Pending permits and other consents, the new Sondheim will be similarly reimagined, turning the house into a transfer venue for extended runs of work that originates from the U.K. regions and from London’s subsidized (i.e. nonprofit) theaters.
With the purchases, the Delfont Mackintosh group of theaters comes in ahead of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group and of Nimax Theaters, which weigh in at six West End venues each, but behind the 12 London houses of the U.K.’s largest theater owner, Ambassador Theater Group (which recently purchased Broadway’s Foxwoods, former home of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”).
The renaming of the Ambassadors is planned to take place in early 2015.