Detroit's Fisher Theatre to be acquired by U.K. group

The Detroit News

After more than 50 years overseen by regional theater impresarios with the name of Nederlander, Detroit's Fisher Theatre is set to have new owners this month, officials announced Monday.

London-based International Entertainment Holdings Limited, the parent company of the Ambassador Theatre Group, is acquiring the venue as well as its programming operation of the Detroit Opera House and Music Hall from the Nederlander Co., according to a statement.

Built in 1928, the Fisher Theatre has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Nederlander has managed the Fisher since 1961 and promotes as well as presents Broadway and other productions at the Detroit Opera House and Music Hall, the release said.

The transaction is scheduled to close on March 29. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal also calls for the acquisition of Golden Gate Theatre and Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco.

"These unique venues have been home to Broadway’s greatest shows, serving local and regional audiences for generations," Robert Nederlander Sr. said. "We are confident that the ATG team will continue to look after the strong foundation that we have created with these theatres in their respective communities and to take them into this next decade with great success.”

ATG was founded in the United Kingdom in 1992 and owns and operates 50  iconic venues in the U.S., Britain and Germany, officials said Monday.

“This extraordinary portfolio of venues located in San Francisco and Detroit, two of America’s key theatrical touring cities, is comprised of precious assets and we are delighted to be taking over their stewardship," said Mark Cornell, CEO of ATG. "We look forward to providing the best of Broadway’s shows to their loyal following when the theatres re-open in 2021 and are equally excited to welcome the staff of these prestigious theatres into the ATG community, where we hope that they will thrive and be happy."

Built in 1928, the Fisher Theatre has been designated a National Historic Landmark. It seats about 2,100 and features marble, Indian rosewood and walnut paneling, as well as crystal and bronze decorative work, according to the website.

The theater has hosted the world premieres of shows such as "Hello Dolly" and "Fiddler on the Roof" as well as welcomed tours such as "Hamilton."

In January, officials announced Broadway In Detroit's 59th season would start there this summer following COVID-19 cancellations in 2020.

"At this time Broadway in Detroit continues to work on the upcoming 2021-22 Season, preparing to reopen later this year," said Alan Lichtenstein, executive director of Broadway in Detroit. "There are no changes planned for our staff, volunteers, or any of our the services we provide. Our focus is on continuing to provide the best Broadway experience in Detroit." 

The Detroit Opera House was built in 1922, has a venue capacity of about 2,750 seats and hosts the principal opera company in Michigan.

Michigan Opera Theatre plans to return to the stage this spring with in-person performances at outdoor venues in Wayne and Oakland counties.

The Music Hall was built in 1928, has about 1,700 seats and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.