BEIJING (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Robert Nederlander Sr., Robert Nederlander Jr. and Mme. Chen Jixin, founders of Beijing Oriental Broadway International Theatre Management Company (BOBITMC), the first performance and theater management joint venture to be approved by the Ministry of Culture to operate under The Revised Regulations on the Administration of Commercial Performing Arts, formally introduce strategic partners and announce the formation of Nederlander New Century Broadway China Network, a theatrical presenting company that is establishing a circuit of first-tier legitimate theatres in major cities throughout China for the purpose of presenting a series of world-renowned Broadway musicals.
Broadway came to Beijing last week when New York stage actor Wang Luoyong, star of Miss Saigon, opened the official announcement ceremony for the Broadway China Network. Mme. Chen, Chairperson of Beijing Time New Century Entertainment (BTNCE), stated that "BTNCE and Nederlander have consolidated and invested capital to form a nationwide Chinese performance network that will combine Broadway models with Chinese culture to create a new century of performance in China." Nederlander executive Mr. Robert Nederlander Sr., representing America's foremost Broadway theatre owners, described Nederlander New Century as "the first company to focus on a long-term, country-wide approach to facility management, programming, ticketing, marketing and audience development to sustain the ongoing presentation of first-class Broadway productions throughout China."
To accomplish this goal, Nederlander New Century has established the brand name Broadway China Network, representing the coalition of theatres, producers, patron service companies and marketing agencies that will work together to implement innovative strategies to promote Broadway shows and build the audience for live theatre.
Robert Nederlander Jr., a third generation member of the Nederlander theatrical family, together with his partner, Mme. Chen, has founded BOBITMC and currently serves as Vice Chair. Mr. Nederlander introduced BOBITMC's Chairperson, Madame Chen Jixin, and acknowledged her vision for the venture and dedication throughout their four years of research, development and strategic planning. "For nearly 30 years, Madame Chen has been a respected leader in the performing arts sector in China. Her understanding of the industry's needs and opportunities coupled with her expertise in government relations and consumer marketing has made it possible for us to develop a viable business model that combines the best international practices with Chinese traditions and the sector's emerging business capabilities."
Mr. Nederlander and Mme. Chen's plan for the Broadway China Network has attracted the support of American International Group, Inc. (AIG), world leaders in insurance and financial services. An AIG entity, AIG Life Holdings (International), LLC, has made a strategic investment in the venture which, in addition to financial benefits, also provides marketing and sponsorship rights to enhance and promote their corporate brand in China. "AIG believes that Broadway-style shows are a wonderful artform, and in China, they have enormous growth potential," said Olin Wethington, Chairman of AIG Companies in China. "Nederlander New Century's unique business strategy will enhance artistic development in China, and we look forward to offering our marketing network and relationships to help develop Broadway shows for the enjoyment of the Chinese audience."
In addition to AIG, Mr. Nederlander announced that Nederlander New Century has also signed a strategic equity partnership with Ticketmaster, the world's leading ticketing company and an operating business of IAC . Ticketmaster is an investing partner in Nederlander New Century and will serve as the exclusive authorized ticketing provider throughout China for all Broadway-style theatrical events presented through the Broadway China Network. "For over 25 years, Ticketmaster has been the ticketing provider for Nederlander owned or operated theatres throughout the United States and England," said Mr. Nederlander. "We are pleased to expand this relationship into China because it will enable us to leverage their state-of-the-art ticketing technologies and marketing services to grow the company. With Ticketmaster as our investing partner, Nederlander New Century is positioned to provide China's consumers with better, faster and more convenient access to purchasing tickets and acquiring event information."
"Ticketmaster and Nederlander New Century are committed to the development of a dynamic live event industry in China," said Sean Moriarty, President and CEO for Ticketmaster. "Nederlander is recognized as one of the top producers/promoters of Broadway and theatrical events in the United States and we look forward to working closely with them and their partner presenters to leverage our global footprint by serving as the venture's exclusive ticketing provider and delivering premiere ticketing technology and marketing services for fans who want to enjoy Broadway-style shows all across the country of China."
On behalf of the Board of Directors of BOBITMC, Mme. Chen named Donald B. Frantz to the post of Chief Executive Officer. "We are very proud to have Don lead the management and development of Nederlander New Century's plans to establish a network of Broadway caliber theatres in China," said Mme. Chen. "His expertise in arts management, theatre renovation, production and marketing will enable the company to achieve its goal of becoming a world-class presenting organization."
THE OVERTURE: CORPORATE MISSION
As CEO, Don presented Nederlander New Century's immediate corporate goals. "As the first company operating in China's cultural sector to establish a network of first-tier legitimate theatres," he said, "we intend to (1) establish a theatrical management company that will present an annual series of world-renowned Broadway musicals at our partner venues, (2) invest in infrastructure upgrades to theatres in the 'network' and the professional development of the building managers, providing them with expertise in facility operations, long-range financial planning and information management, and (3) work with theatre managers to establish innovative new marketing strategies and patron services to provide the best American and world shows to Chinese audiences."
ACT I: THE FIRST SHOWS ANNOUNCED
Nederlander New Century has entered into agreements to present the best of Broadway. Nederlander New Century's inaugural presentation will be the Tony(R) Award-winning 42nd Street in Fall 2007, produced by Troika Entertainment and Broadway Asia Entertainment. "42nd Street is the classic backstage story of a young actress named Peggy Sawyer who rises from a chorus girl to become a Broadway star," said Mr. Frantz. "This quintessential American musical is a 150 minute celebration of Broadway featuring a large cast of singers and dancers surrounded by New York City-inspired sets." Troika Entertainment was also the lead producer for the successful Chinese tour of The Sound of Music last season, as well as countless other Broadway musicals all over the world for the last two decades. In addition to 42nd Street, Nederlander New Century will join other prominent Chinese theatre companies in proudly presenting Broadway Asia Entertainment's production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Tony(R) Award winning The King and I, in select markets.
THE AUDIENCE: NEW MARKETING STRATEGIES
In addition to the productions being presented, Mr. Frantz also announced the establishment of The Broadway Source, a sales and patron service division, catering to needs of corporate VIP theatergoers and social groups. Working in close partnership with theatre managers and Ticketmaster, The Broadway Source will provide consumers with pre-booking for groups and theatre related amenities including a free in-theatre news magazine, ShowTrans(R), an audio translation service, and an online fan based theatre club. National corporate and group sales hotline: 400-706-0688.
THE ALLIANCE: THE SOONG CHING LING FOUNDATION
Reflecting Nederlander New Century's commitment to education, Mme. Chen announced an alliance between Nederlander New Century and The Soong Ching Ling Foundation, establishing the donation of a portion of the sales from productions presented in mutually selected markets to the Foundation's music fund and to jointly present a summer music camp. The funds will be used to support in-school and/or after-school music education programs, master classes and cultural exchanges. The goal of the summer music camp will be to use theatre arts to foster good communication, collaboration, creative thinking and life-long learning between children in the classroom and in their families. Additional funding for shared programs will be generated from corporate sponsorship, public and private grants and personal donations.
In closing the ceremony, Mr. Nederlander commented, "We believe 42nd Street is the perfect show to launch Nederlander New Century's Broadway China Network. As the title song in 42nd Street says, we invite everyone in China to 'Come and meet our dancing feet.'"
Clark T. Randt Jr., the US Ambassador to China, Li Dongwen, Director General of the External Liaison Bureau of the Ministry of Culture, Yu Guilin, Executive Vice Chairman of the Soong Ching Ling Foundation, and other senior government officials gathered and made speeches. They expressed their interest in Broadway China Network and were ready to give full support. The leaders from the cultural authorities of the Chinese major cities and the managers from the local major theaters were also invited to the press conference.
For more information on the Broadway China Network and its presentations, go to www.broadwaychinanetwork.com.