Stage nabs Theater des Westens

Move to create 100 new jobs

BERLIN — Joop van den Ende’s live entertainment group Stage Holding added a second major venue to its growing list of German assets on Tuesday, a month before the premiere of “Cats” at its recently acquired theater in Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz.

Stage will take over the 106-year old Theater des Westens on Jan. 1, securing the celebrated venue’s future and creating 100 new jobs.

Stage, the biggest player in Germany’s legit tuner market, now controls two theaters in Berlin, three in Hamburg, two in Stuttgart and one in Essen. Earlier this year Stage took over four theaters from the now defunct Stella Entertainment.

“The Theater des Westens is a pearl among music theaters,” said Maik Klokow, head of Hamburg-based Stage Holding. “We are going to endow the theater with a new life force and are working hard on a program for 2003 in which Berlin will become increasingly more important for Stage.”

In addition to “Cats,” which opens Oct. 20, upcoming productions include “Mama Mia!” and “Titanic,” preeming in Hamburg Nov. 3 and Dec. 8, respectively, and “Phantom of the Opera” in Stuttgart Nov. 1. “The Lion King,” “Dance of the Vampires” and “Elisabeth” are currently playing in those cities. Stage is also bringing “De la guarda” to another Berlin venue Dec. 11.

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