The Stage 100 is intended to reflect who are the 100 most influential people working in the theatre and performing arts industry. It is considered from the point of view of The Stage, as a trade publication, and so focuses both on theatre as a business and an art form. Inclusion within the list and ranking is weighted towards achievements in the past 12 months, but also takes into account continuous achievement. We also aim to have a list that – as much as is possible and plausible – reflects the astonishing breadth of the theatre industry. However, we do not weight the list to attempt to make it gender-balanced or ethnically diverse: we believe the list should aim to reflect how the theatre and performing arts industry is, not what it aims to be, or we would like it to be.
ATG upped its game on stage in 2019. Executive producer Speers led a resurgence of production work, with shows including 9 to 5 the Musical, Ian McKellen’s extraordinary 80-date tour of the UK to celebrate his 80th birthday, and the conclusion of the superb Pinter at the Pinter season in London.
Its Piccadilly Theatre was hit by a partial ceiling collapse towards the end of the year, but its staff acted quickly and professionally to ensure the safety of patrons, a testament to ATG’s smooth operation. Sunday in the Park With George is set to be a big West End opening, but also one of its most expensive ticket-wise. Cornell was forced to deny reports ATG was up for sale during the year – expect more on this later in 2020.
Last year: 6
Productions include: Ghost Stories, 9 to 5, Ian McKellen On Stage, Caroline, Or Change, Betrayal
Coming up in 2020: Sunday in the Park With George, Ghost Stories (tour), Sunny Afternoon (tour), 9 to 5 (tour), Pretty Woman (West End)
For Nimax Theatres – led by Burns and Weitzenhoffer – 2019 was all about its ongoing support for home-grown talent. Each of its six West End venues housed productions made in the UK, including Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – which Burns produces – at the Apollo Theatre and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre. Meanwhile, the Vaudeville became home to a year-long residency from theatre company Mischief, which opened Groan Ups there, soon followed by Magic Goes Wrong.
Prior to Mischief moving in, the theatre hosted Emilia, a show Burns backed as producer, and went on to offer the first West End parent and baby performance. Burns and her team ensured everything was in place to make sure the venue welcomed all – young or old, with bars turned into pram parks and front-of-house staff primed to help anyone who needed it.
Last year: 7
Productions include: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Emilia
Coming up in 2020: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie film, City of Angels
Shortly after his acclaimed Snow White left the London Palladium in January, off the back of another hugely successful panto season, Harrison got to work on bringing his next hit to the venue – a revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, starring Sheridan Smith and Jac Yarrow. The musical enjoyed a sell-out 12-week run and will return this summer.
Harrison, through his production company Michael Harrison Entertainment, also co-produced a successful transfer of Fiddler on the Roof, with ever-popular musical Annie touring the UK. Alongside this he launched a new tour of The Bodyguard, which also began a tour in Germany and a run in Vienna. Harrison cemented his leading role at pantomime giant Qdos Entertainment in 2019, taking a 50% stake in the company. He ended the year as both director and writer of the Palladium’s festive offering, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, with a line-up including Nigel Havers, Matt Baker and king of innuendo Julian Clary. More major openings await in 2020.
Last year: 8
Productions include: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Benidorm Live, The Bodyguard (UK and Europe tour), Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Coming up in 2020: Singin’ in the Rain, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Hello, Dolly! starring
Imelda Staunton, The Drifters’ Girl
It was a busy and productive year for Lloyd – even by his own standards. He began 2019 by rounding off his ambitious Pinter at the Pinter season with a production of Betrayal, starring Tom Hiddleston. The acclaimed show later transferred to Broadway. Back in the UK, Lloyd re-imagined Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park. The show was a stripped back, radical take on the Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical, and proved so popular that it will transfer to the Barbican in the summer of 2020.
Not long after Evita, Lloyd’s packed year continued with another re-imagined classic: Cyrano de Bergerac, in a new version by Martin Crimp, starring James McAvoy, which is running at the Playhouse Theatre. The show is staged through his own company, with A Doll’s House, starring Jessica Chastain, set to run at the same theatre later this year. The Hollywood stars are lining up to work with the director and audiences are flocking to see his shows.
Last year: 32
Productions include: Betrayal (West End and Broadway), Evita, Cyrano de Bergerac
Coming up in 2020: A Doll’s House, The Seagull
Under artistic director Goold, executive director Wood and associate director Frecknall, the Almeida enjoyed another strong year and celebrated winning two Olivier awards in April.
Its 2019 season featured Anne Washburn’s Shipwreck, which addressed Trump’s America head on and showed the Almeida as a venue unafraid to tackle contemporary issues. Washburn’s association with the theatre continued as her adaptation of The Twilight Zone found its way into the West End. Elsewhere, the theatre gave us Frecknall’s Three Sisters and The Duchess of Malfi and Goold’s The Hunt, adapted by David Farr.
Last year the theatre parted ways with director Robert Icke, who stepped down as an associate, but not before giving us The Doctor, starring Juliet Stevenson. The venue also launched a playwriting scheme giving emerging and mid-career writers the chance to develop plays for larger stages.
Last year: 10
Productions include: The Tragedy of King Richard II, Shipwreck, The Twilight Zone (West End), The Hunt, The Doctor, Vassa and The Duchess of Malfi
Coming up in 2020: Albion, Daddy, The House of Shades