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ATG secures second Broadway theatre with reopening of historic Hudson

The Hudson Theatre in 1904 (left) and an artist's impression of the reopened venue. Photos: Getty/M+J Architects The Hudson Theatre in 1904 (left) and an artist's impression of the reopened venue. Photos: Getty/M+J Architects
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Ambassador Theatre Group is to reopen the dormant Hudson Theatre on Broadway, as part of a deal through which the company will operate the New York venue full-time.

The company intends to use the theatre as a home for British work on Broadway. The reopened Hudson will become the 41st Broadway theatre, and the second Broadway house to be run by ATG. The company also owns and runs the Lyric Theatre, which it bought in 2013.

Through its subsidiary, Hudson Theatre LLC, ATG has agreed to enter into a long-term lease for the 112-year-old Hudson Theatre, which is owned by Millennium and Copthorne Hotels. The companies will jointly embark on a multi-million pound restoration of the theatre, which is currently being used to host events.

The venue will undergo a significant overhaul of its front-of-house facilities as well as being fitted with new auditorium seating, increasing the theatre’s capacity to 970 seats.

ATG co-founder Howard Panter said he hoped the theatre would reopen in November 2016 as a venue specialising in plays, including British work.

“Because of its size, it is going to be very much more of a playhouse. The Lyric is unquestionably a big, musical house so it will complement that really well. It also gives us an additional place to bring UK work to. The work that we [ATG] produce in New York and the work that Sonia [Friedman] produces in New York will have a home on Broadway, which is great,” Panter told The Stage.

“I think it’s going to be a real addition to the Broadway scene and also an extension of the UK theatre scene,” he added.

He said that ATG was also in talks with American producers and performers in order to “work with the best of American talent as well”.

The Hudson’s backstage areas will be improved as part of the theatre’s makeover, which will expand and refurbish its dressing rooms and install new fly systems.

Panter said he hoped to operate the theatre on a model similar to that of West End venues, which generally have fewer dark weeks than their New York counterparts.

“It’s a different system over here [in New York] and we are going to try and bring the London model here. We hope that is something that everyone will be thrilled about,” he said.

The deal follows a year of expansion for ATG, as it moves to grow its international distribution network.

In the past 12 months the company has bought European producers BB Group, the Theatre Royal in Sydney and five other American venues. The acquisition of the Hudson brings the total number of theatres operated by ATG globally to 46.

In 2013, ATG was bought by private equity firm Providence, a move which has helped fund the organisation’s international expansion.

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