Concord Music Group Acquires Samuel French In Landmark Theater Licensing Deal

Concord Music Group

Concord Music has acquired 188-year-old theater publisher and licensing mainstay Samuel French, combining it with other assets in its burgeoning Concord Theatricals unit.

The deal, whose terms were not disclosed, “fulfills a significant and ongoing commitment to theater,” the company said.

Concord Theatricals represents a list of top-shelf musicals from the catalogs of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Kurt Weill and Irving Berlin. Its roster also includes younger musical theater talent such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Adam Guettel, Jason Robert Brown, Shaina Taub and Michael John LaChiusa, as well as classics like A Chorus Line, Hello Dolly!, Bye Bye Birdie and Dreamgirls.

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Through a joint venture called The Music Company, Concord Theatricals also works with Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Really Useful Group to license the composer and his collaborators’ shows including Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita.

In announcing the deal, Concord Theatricals said it is the only company providing comprehensive services to creators and producers of musical theater, including theatrical licensing, music publishing and cast recordings. In addition, the company develops, licenses, produces and invests in new musical productions. One example is the St. Ann’s Warehouse production of Rodgers & Hammerstein classic Oklahoma!, which will transfer to Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre in March.

Samuel French, with offices in both the UK and U.S., has represented some of the most revered plays and musicals in the English language. Its catalog of more than 10,000 titles includes plays by August Wilson, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams and Neil Simon, along with the musicals Grease, Chicago, Fun Home, The Wiz, The Secret Garden and Heathers.

“Samuel French adds to Concord Theatricals a broad diversity of rights, relationships, experience and executive talent, along with a great family legacy that will continue to flourish with Nate and Abbie’s participation,” said Jake Wisely, Chief Publishing Executive at Concord Music. “French also broadens our existing relationships and business synergies, as we now represent all of the musicals of Marvin Hamlisch, both the stage rights and film and TV music rights of Agatha Christie Ltd., as well as various recordings and now the plays of Steve Martin. With Samuel French, Concord is no longer just music.”

Samuel French President Nathan Collins also signaled enthusiasm for the deal. It “will enable us to continue to provide our clients with the most innovative products, dynamic marketing and transparent reporting,” he said. “Under Sean’s leadership, we will build upon the great catalogs of the two organizations and create the preferred home for the works of playwrights, composers and lyricists.”

Concord Theatricals is led by Sean Patrick Flahaven, who has spent the last two years as the founding CEO of The Musical Company. Flahaven has over 20 years’ experience as a music publisher, licensing executive, record and show producer, music director/arranger, and composer/playwright. He will report to Wisely. Collins, who has served for eight years as President of Samuel French will be General Manager, Concord Theatricals, reporting to Flahaven.

“It’s a genuine privilege to represent these iconic shows and catalogs. We are uniquely positioned to promote our writers’ work and competitively expand our roster going forward,” Flahaven said. “Our focus is on serving our clients’ art, protecting their rights and helping our customers bring great theatre at every level of production to audiences all over the world.”

Lisbeth R. Barron and Barron International Group initiated and acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Samuel French for the transaction.

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