The theater where Rodgers & Hammerstein composed the title song to "Oklahoma!", and where many other celebrated Broadway-bound productions were staged over 100 years, is getting a multimillion-dollar revival, thanks to the creative vision of Emerson College, with help from a legal team that included Davis Wright Tremaine’s Gray Coleman.
The Emerson Colonial Theatre, on the campus of Emerson College in downtown Boston, has been dark for several years as the college explored future options for the landmark building. The college ultimately arrived at an innovative partnership with Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), one of the leading international producers of live theater and the dominant operator of theaters in London.
Emerson engaged New York-based Coleman to be part of the legal team on the transaction.
“We represent theater companies and folks with an interest in theater all over the country,” says Coleman. “Nonprofits, who make up a large percentage of entities producing theater, have unique needs and you need to be sensitive to them. This deal created a structure that worked well for all parties.”
As part of the partnership, Emerson and ATG have agreed to a long-term lease arrangement and to invest several million dollars in much-needed capital improvements at the historic theater. In addition, ATG will provide fellowships and internship opportunities for Emerson students, underwrite theater arts programs for local youth, and will actively explore making performance space available for local arts organizations, including the Boston Lyric Opera. ATG is expected to open its inaugural Emerson Colonial Theatre season beginning January 2018.
In addition to in-house lawyers at Emerson, the college was also represented in the transaction by lawyers from Goulston & Storrs.