The Jujamcyn Theaters //, formerly the Jujamcyn Amusement Corporation, is a theatrical producing and theatre-ownership company in New York City. For many years Jujamcyn was owned by James H. Binger, former Chairman of Honeywell, and his wife Virginia McKnight Binger. The organization is now owned by its President, Jordan Roth, and President Emeritus, Rocco Landesman.
The third-largest theatre owner on Broadway, behind the Shubert Organization and the Nederlander Organization, Jujamcyn owns five of the 40 Broadway district playhouses, but has created a much-envied business model that has, at times, accounted for as much as one-third of the gross revenues on Broadway. This business model has involved the combination of real estate – Broadway theatre ownership – and producing –active development of new shows and scripts. Jujamcyn has had some notable successes with this model, which has prompted other theatre operators to emulate this approach, to varying degrees.
William L. McKnight, former chairman of 3M owned several theatres, two in New York and one in Boston. McKnight's daughter, Virginia McKnight Binger and her husband, James H. Binger, a top executive at Honeywell, shared a love of theatre. In 1970 when William McKnight wanted to sell his theatres, Binger stepped in to assist. He found the business fascinating, and after paying the gift tax and selling the Colonial Theatre in Boston, he and Virginia agreed to own and later expand the operation on Broadway.
Jujamcyn derives its name from the names of McKnight's grandchildren, the Bingers' children: Ju[dith], Jam[es], and Cyn[thia]. Over time Binger expanded Jujamcyn to five theatres to create the third-largest theatre-owning company on Broadway. The five Jujamcyn theatres are:
- St. James Theatre, (acquired in 1957 by McKnight)
- Al Hirschfeld Theatre, (formerly the Martin Beck Theatre, acquired in 1966 by McKnight),
- August Wilson Theatre (acquired in 1981, formerly the Virginia Theatre)
- Eugene O'Neill Theatre, (acquired in 1982)
- Walter Kerr Theatre (formerly the Ritz Theatre, acquired in 1981),
In 1987 Binger brought in Rocco Landesman to run Jujamcyn. Landesman was a successful theatrical producer and was friendly with Binger from prior theatrical productions and from a shared interest in race horses. Over the next 17 years Landesman, Binger and the Jujamcyn organization would produce and/or house a successful string of Broadway hits.
Jujamcyn owns just five of the 40 Broadway district playhouses, but created a much-envied business model that has accounted for as much as one-third of the gross revenues. One box office juggernaut was The Producers, which won a record 12 Tony Awards in 2001. Binger was a life member of the board of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.
After Binger's death
Virginia Binger died in 2002, and James Binger died in 2004.
Rocco Landesman, producer and President of Jujamcyn since 1987, announced that he planned to buy Jujamcyn Theatres, telling the New York Times that he had a long-standing understanding with Binger that he would buy Jujamcyn's five playhouses. The theatres had an estimated net asset value of about $30 million
Landesman closed the deal in February 2005 for $30M, but then tried to sell a 50% stake in the group for $50M to enable an investment in the Cincinnati Reds baseball team - his group lost out to Robert Castellini.
In 2009 Landesman took a position in Washington as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts ("NEA"), an agency of the United States government. Landesman had been associated with Jujamcyn for 22 years by the time he left for the NEA. Landesman sold a half interest in Jujamcyn to Jordan Roth, a successful 33-year-old theatrical producer who had joined Jujamcyn in 2005. Roth assumed full control of Jujamcyn as Landesman departed for the NEA. While in his early twenties Roth had produced The Donkey Show, which ran for six years off-Broadway. At Jujamcyn Roth had been associated with successful productions of Spring Awakening (winner of the Tony Award for best musical) and the 2009 revival of Hair. Roth's mother, Daryl Roth, is also a theatrical producer.
List of theaters
|St. James Theatre||246 West 44th Street||1,701|
|Al Hirschfeld Theatre||302 West 45th Street||1,412|
|August Wilson Theatre||245 West 52nd Street||1,222|
|Eugene O'Neill Theatre||230 West 49th Street||1,030|
|Walter Kerr Theatre||218 West 48th Street||931|
- Morris A. Mechanic Theatre, Baltimore (1995-2000, sold to SFX Theatricals)
- Royal George Theatre, Chicago (1993-1997, sold to Reading Entertainment)
- Weidner Center, Green Bay, Wisconsin (producing partner, 1995-1998)
- Orpheum Theatre and State Theatre, Minneapolis (producing partner, 1995-2000, sold to SFX Theatricals)
- Orpheum Theater, Omaha (producing partner, 1995-2000, sold to SFX Theatricals)
- Portland Civic Auditorium, Portland, Oregon (producing partner, 1994-2000, sold to SFX Theatricals)
- Ordway Music Theatre, St. Paul (1992-1996)
- "O'Neill Theater is Sold" New York Times, March 3, 1982
- New York Times August 1, 1989, "New Face and Name for the Ritz Theater
- "Rocco Landesman named Jujamcyn Theaters Head" New York Times, June 10, 1987
- "How a High Roller Bets on Broadway" New York Times article, June 3, 1990
- McKnight Foundation : About
- Paeth, Greg (2005-08-22). "Investor Group Has Local Links". The Cincinnati Post. E. W. Scripps Company. p. A1. Archived from the original on 2006-02-04.
- "A New Force on Broadway" New York Times, Sept 8, 2009
- Playbill.com Broadway Grosses, Dec 7, 2009
- [articles.baltimoresun.com/1995-07-28/features/1995209001_1_jujamcyn-theaters-mechanic-1995-1996-season N.Y. producers expected to restore luster as pre-Broadway theater New deal can help Mechanic clean up its act]
- Twin Cities-based show producer Jujamcyn is sold to N.Y. giant SFX
- Royal George Theatre Getting New Owners
- Weidner Center lays off half its staff
- "Downtown theater season announced". Star Tribune. October 25, 1995.
- "Opera Omaha Plans to Lure More Musicals Organization In Minneapolis Will Be Partner". Omaha World-Herald. February 6, 1995.
- "SECOND BROADWAY SERIES APPROVED". The Oregonian. July 14, 1994.
- "Ordway aims to expand its presence". Star Tribune. February 5, 1992.
- "Jujamcyn says it will end link with Ordway". Star Tribune. December 31, 1994.
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