German producer and impresario Michael Brenner, founder and managing partner of the Mannheim-based BB Promotion, died May 21 after an accident in which Brenner, who was on a bicycle tour with his wife, was hit by a motorcycle. He was 59.
The promoter of international live entertainment organized musicals, ballet performances and concerts in the 1980s. In 1987 he laid the foundations for BB Promotion. He signed international stars such as Shirley MacLaine, Diana Ross, Marcel Marceau, Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov and produced innovative dance theater performances.
Brenner represented important dance ensembles such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Martha Graham Dance Company and Ballet Nacional de Espana; the dance revue “Fosse”; and Matthew Bourne’s “Swan Lake.” He also introduced original musical productions, music shows and stage shows to European stages.
He was involved in independent productions and co-productions of “West Side Story” (since 2003), “Chicago” (2005), “The Original Broadway Swing!” (1998), “Rent” (2000, 2007); shows featuring the Harlem Gospel Singers and Queen Esther Marrow (since 1987); and the new production of “Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show” (2008). Brenner also organized major tours for unique live shows, including “Stomp!” (since 1997), “Yamato — The Drummers of Japan” (since 2002) and “Tap Dogs” (1998-2005).
As a producer, he staged successful productions of “Grease” (1994-96) and “Saturday Night Fever” (1998-2006). In cooperation with Queen he produced the musical “We Will Rock You” (Cologne 2004-08, Zurich 2006-07, Vienna 2008, Stuttgart since 2008). In December 2009 Brenner produced “Hairspray” in the German premiere as a sit-down production, and he produced “Tanguera” at New York City Center in October 2009.
His most important collaborator for more than four decades was his wife and partner, Roswitha Brenner, later joined by their children, Antonia and Marius.
Roswitha Brenner and her children will now take the helm at BB Promotion.
The funeral service will take place at 2 p.m. May 27, in the Christuskirche in Mannheim.
Donations in his name may be made to Doctors Without Borders (doctorswithoutborders.org).