Ambassador Theatre Group Acquires New York’s Hudson Theatre For Broadway Shows

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UPDATE, 1 PM with more information throughout.

Broadway has its first new house since the opening of the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in 1998. Co-chief executive officers Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire announced today that the Ambassador Theatre Group will reopen and operate the Hudson Theatre, a 112-year-old house that has in recent years been used for corporate events. The announcement follows the recent acquisition by Ambassador of the newly renamed Lyric Theatre on 42nd Street in Times Square, and will bring to 41 the number of theaters operating under Broadway contracts and whose shows are eligible for Tony Awards.

ATG, through its subsidiary, Hudson Theatre LLC, has entered a long-term lease for the Hudson from a subsidiary of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc (M&C). M&C and ATG will jointly restore the landmark venue.

The venue is to receive state-of-the-art seating, Ambassador Lounge premium lounge service, and increased and improved ladies’ washrooms. In addition, significant backstage and technical upgrades, including new and expanded dressing rooms and new fly systems will transform The Hudson into a leading legitimate Broadway theater and destination for producers, directors, actors and creative teams. The anticipated re-launch of the theater is slated for the 2016/2017 Broadway season.

“The Hudson Theatre is one of the great historic landmarks in New York City and we have always been proud to have it in the Millennium & Copthorne family,” said M&C Chairman Kwek Leng Beng. “We have proudly owned and maintained the theater as a cherished conference venue within our New York hotel estate since we acquired the Millennium Broadway Hotel New York in 1994. It was time for the Hudson to again become a destination where New Yorkers and visitors from around the world will experience great theater and entertainment. We are so pleased to have Ambassador Theatre Group partner with us on this new journey for The Hudson Theatre.”

In a joint statement, Panter and Squire said, “As one of the oldest and most beautiful theaters on Broadway, we are thrilled to restore and operate the iconic Hudson Theatre. It presents us with enormous opportunities to present and produce even more productions in New York and in North America and will be the perfect companion to our larger Broadway musical house, the Lyric.”

The Hudson Theatre opened on October 19, 1903 with a production of Cousin Kate starring Ethel Barrymore. Built by Henry B. Harris, a famous Broadway producer of that period, the theater is one of New York City’s oldest Broadway showplaces. The 100-foot long lobby was the largest ever seen on Broadway at that time. Among the stars that have graced the Hudson’s stage are Douglas Fairbanks, William Holden, Helen Hayes, Edward G. Robinson and Dorothy Gish. Barbara Stanwyck and Judith Anderson both made their debuts on its stage. On September 27, 1956 the first nationwide broadcast of The Tonight Show starring Steve Allen originated from the Hudson Theatre. It was granted landmark status for both its internal and external features in 1987.

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