Friday, October 29

Why Andrew Lloyd Webber Sold Four Theatres

As mentioned a couple of days ago,  Andrew Lloyd Webber is in the process of selling four of his theatres which have a a combined seating capacity of 4,900 seats and are referred to as “mid-sized” music houses.

This is a reluctant decision on his part but  mounting debts and health concerns have led to his agreeing a deal  which means he will part with the Palace, Her Majesty’s, the Cambridge and the New London Theatres by January 2011.

He underwent surgery for prostate cancer in 2009 and suffered post-surgical complications. He had to spend more time recuperating than he planned, delaying the Broadway transfer of “Love Never Dies” .

It has been a totally gut-wrenching decision for me to decide to sell the four theatres. However, following my illness last year I was advised to reduce the debt in the family company” said the 62-year old composer talking about his decision.

GradeLinnit have bought the theatres and Lloyd Webber said: “I have agreed that the purchase price be reduced by five million pounds to enable GradeLinnit to invest this sum in the theatres, principally in the Palace. My commitment to composing, producing and Theatre ownership remains as strong as ever.”

His company RUG is retaining the ownership of the Palladium, Theatre Royal Drury Lane and its 50% interest in the Adelphi which they co-own with Nederlander. These theatres are larger in size with a combined seating capacity 6,100.

Lloyd Webber added: “It is particularly difficult for me as the New London was Cats’ home for 21 years and for nearly 25 years Her Majesty's has been and still is the home of The Phantom of the Opera. The Palace has huge personal associations and was described by John Betjeman as 'the only theatre architecture ... which climbs into the regions of a work of art'. I am particularly proud that over the 25 years that I have owned the Palace I have been able to restore the magnificent auditorium and the exterior thereby removing the huge neon advertising hoarding that defaced both the theatre and Cambridge Circus."

Really Useful Group chairman Mark Wordsworth claimed that ‘de-gearing’ RUG was seen as a possible way to reduce Andrew’s stress after his failing health and has left him unable to concentrate on the production of shows like ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and “Love Never Dies’

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