The Stage 100 2014 by category: producers
Through his position as chief executive of the Society of London Theatre and the Theatrical Management Association – soon to be UK Theatre – Bird serves as producer of the Olivier and UK Theatre awards. Both have been successfully revamped under his leadership, with the Oliviers finally making it back onto mainstream television in 2013.
Best known as the lady behind James Bond, but also a producer on the original stage incarnation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Broccoli has returned as a real force in the theatre world in 2013 with productions of Irish musical Once and a stage adaptation of Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train.
A musical featuring the pop hits of the Spice Girls, written by comedian Jennifer Saunders. What could go wrong? Quite a lot it turned out, with Viva Forever! proving to be one of the year’s biggest flops. Craymer’s two West End shows quickly became one (sorry) with only Mamma Mia! left to fly the flag. Still, that old (super) trouper (sorry, again) continues to pack ‘em in at the Novello.
Goucher’s revival of A Chorus Line was a critical, if not commercial, hit, but he looks to have had more joy at the box office with the stage adaptation Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, starring Matthew Macfadyen and Stephen Mangan, which has them rolling in the aisles at the Duke of York’s and will continue to do so well into the autumn of 2014.
The Bodyguard, Harrison’s first big West End venture, continues at the Adelphi, has recast both of its leads, and is now booking into August. Even if it doesn’t recoup in town, one would have thought it will be a hit on the road (when it surely tours post-West End). Elsewhere, Harrison is the managing director of Qdos Pantomimes – the market leader in the sector.
Something of a young buck by West End standards, Hendry started off as a co-producer with Sonia Friedman. He’s since stepped out on his own, and the commercial success of Let it Be, which recouped in early 2013, has been very impressive. It will now tour the UK. He’s also been one of the first West End producers to embrace crowdfunding – for his forthcoming production of Wind in the Willows.
Ian, a one-time number one in The Stage 100 during his tenure at Live Nation, has been edging himself back into contention over the last few years as a solo operator. A co-producer with Michael Harrison on The Bodyguard, Ian has also been busy out of town with tours of Cats, Ghost and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
We Will Rock You continues to defy its critics and has turned into one of the West End’s real stalwart productions. A stage adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments joined it in 2013 when it took up residence at the Palace Theatre. Critical reception to the show has been more enthusiastic, although whether it will match its stable mate’s longevity seems doubtful.
While a major theatre operator on the continent, it is as a producer that Stage Entertainment has made its mark in the UK. Quigley, who heads up production in the UK, has been busy both in and out of London with Singin’ in the Rain plus Hairspray and Strictly Come Dancing Live on tour. Stage Entertainment also served as a co-producer on Cameron Mackintosh’s tour of Oliver!. This year, I Can’t Sing! comes to the Palladium, plus there are plans for Made in Dagenham to park up in the West End.
Nick Salmon, Matthew Byam Shaw and Nia Janis
After busting with The King’s Speech in 2012, Playful Productions hit a royal flush with Helen Mirren in The Queen, a big commercial success in the West End last year. Also on the roster is the West End transfer of The Weir, while they are general managers for some of Theatreland’s biggest shows (Wicked, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
The 39 Steps strode into its eighth year at the Criterion while also touring the UK. The Ladykillers was also a success both in and out of town, returning to the West End for a short summer season in 2013. This year, Snape – through his production company Fiery Angel – is talking of bringing Me and My Girl into the West End and will also produce the return of Ghost Stories.
Top Hat whirled its way to a 17-month run at the Aldwych in May 2012, and last year picked up the Olivier awards for best new musical, theatre choreographer and costume design. This year it embarks on a major UK tour. Wax is also one of the leading producers of theatre for children – The Gruffalo being a particularly popular title.
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