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The John Gore Organization (JGO), formerly known as Key Brand Entertainment (KBE), is a producer and distributor of live theater in North America, as well as an e-commerce company, focused on theater. KBE was founded in the UK in 2004 by 14-time Tony Award winning Producer John Gore who is the company's Chairman, CEO and Owner.
The company is a successor to a number of theatrical production and distribution companies acquired through acquisition or merger. These include: Livent, Clear Channel Entertainment, PACE Theatrical Group, Magicworks, and others. As such it retains interests in a large number of Broadway productions and various related rights. The company was amalgamated into Broadway Across America under Clear Channel Communication's ownership.
Broadway Across America became a business unit of Live Nation, Inc. following the spin-off of Live Nation from Clear Channel Communications on December 25, 2005. Clear Channel had acquired the assets of SFX Entertainment, which was owned primarily by Robert F.X. Sillerman, and principally consisted of live concert venues and amphitheaters devoted primarily to rock music in February 2000.
SFX Entertainment, in turn, was founded by Sillerman in order to "roll up" businesses associated with live entertainment, principally rock music. He began by acquiring Delsner/Slater Concerts in 1996 and a number of acquisitions followed rapidly thereafter. Sillerman's entry into theater began with the acquisition of PACE Theatrical Group in October 1997. In September 1998, SFX acquired Magicworks Entertainment, Inc. This Miami-based company promoted concerts and managed touring events such as magician David Copperfield and musicals Jekyll & Hyde and Evita. It had been a partner of PACE unit PACE Theatricals for some time. PACE, in turn, was controlled by Texas-based theater veteran Allen Becker. Also acquired was production company American Artists, which controlled several theaters in the Boston area including the historic Colonial Theater. Magicworks had been controlled by Lee D. Marshall and Joe Marsh (Lee and Marsh later reunited in the company Magic Arts & Entertainment). The summer of 1999 saw court approval granted for a purchase of the bankrupt Livent (then controlled by Canadian entrepreneur Garth Drabinsky and CAA founder Mike Ovitz), a deal that had been initiated a year earlier. Livent, once one of the premier theatrical production companies, owned such touring shows as Ragtime and Fosse, as well as a number of venues in Canada and the United States. Its bankruptcy had been attributed to widespread accounting fraud. In early 2000 SFX acquired Jujamcyn Productions of Minneapolis, a touring theatrical production company. SFX already owned half of Jujamcyn, acquired through PACE Entertainment.
On December 16, 2010, Key Brand completed the acquisition of Theater Direct International from Hollywood Media Corp. for an announced price of $43.1 million in cash and other consideration, Theater Direct owned and operated the content-driven e-commerce websites Broadway.com, Theater.com, Theatre.com, and Theatre.co.uk. In May 2012, Key Brand completed the acquisition of BroadwayBox.com, a website for discount theater tickets in New York. That December, Key Brand completed the acquisition of Group Sales Box Office (GSBO), the a group-sales ticket agency.
The company's assets include:
- Broadway Across America (BAA) a major theater touring organization in North America acquired in 2008. With over 400,000 season subscribers, BAA has earned 215 Tony Awards in over 30 years of producing and investing in Broadway shows. BAA owns and/or operates five theaters in Boston, Baltimore, and Minneapolis.
- Broadway.com, the ticketing site, with the 2010 acquisition of Theatre Direct NY. Broadway.com has been cited as the number one source of information on Broadway based on the Broadway League Audience Demographic Survey In 2018, Broadway.com won a New York Emmy for its production of At The Tonys with Imogen Lloyd Webber for WCBS-TV. Broadway.com also hosts and presents the Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards annually.
- Group Sales Box Office, merged with Broadway.com/Groups in 2012.
- BroadwayBox.com, the top source for Broadway discounts was acquired in 2013.
- The Broadway Channel, the video content brand acquired in 2015.
Philanthropically, JGO has supported The Arthur Miller Foundation with a grant to provide theater educators in NYC Public Schools. In 2017, JGO raised $500,000 for Hurricane Maria relief in Puerto Rico by producing a benefit performance of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town starring Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans. It was announced in September 2018 that JGO pledged $100,000 to the T. Fellowship at Columbia University, a program that fosters new creative producers.
- As the John Gore Organization
- The Band's Visit – 2018 Tony Award for Best Musical
- Angels in America – 2018 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play; Drama Desk Award
- Dear Evan Hansen – 2017 Tony Award for Best Musical
- Hello, Dolly! – 2017 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical; Drama Desk Award
- A View From The Bridge – 2016 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play; Drama Desk Award
- As Broadway Across America
- The Humans – 2016 Tony Award for Best Play; Drama Desk Award
- Pippin – 2013 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical; Drama Desk Award
- The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess – 2012 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical
- War Horse – 2011 Tony Award for Best Play; Drama Desk Award
- Memphis — 2010 Tony Award for Best New Musical; Drama Desk Award
- La Cage Aux Folles — 2010 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical; Drama Desk Award
- Hair — 2009 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical; Drama Desk Award
- Spring Awakening — 2009 Olivier Award for Best New Musical in London
- Passing Strange — 2009 Drama Desk Award for Best New Play
- Boeing-Boeing — 2008 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play; Drama Desk Award
- Previously and under different names
- Spamalot — 2005 Tony Award for Best New Musical (as Clear Channel)
- Hairspray — 2003 Tony Award for Best New Musical (as Clear Channel)
- The Producers — 2002 Tony Award for Best New Musical (as Clear Channel)
- Fosse — 1999 Tony Award for Best New Musical (as Livent)
- Chicago — 1997 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical (as Pace Theatrical)
- Showboat — 1995 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical (as Livent)
- Kiss of the Spiderwoman — 1993 Tony Award for Best New Musical (as Livent)
- Fiddler on the Roof — 1991 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical (as Pace Theatrical)
- Gypsy — 1990 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical (as Pace Theatrical)
- Jerome Robbins Broadway — 1989 Tony Award for Best New Musical (as Pace Theatrical)
- "John Gore - Broadway Cast & Staff". IBDB.
- "SFX Entertainment to Acquire Livent Assets". Los Angeles Times. Bloomberg News. June 2, 1999.
- Robertson, Cambell (April 1, 2007). "A Force in Touring Hits the End of the Road". The New York Times.
- "Magicworks Is Sold". Sun-Sentinel. Ft. Lauderdale. August 8, 1998.
- Cox, Gordon (January 24, 2008). "Live Nation sells off theater division". Variety.
- Jones, Kenneth (January 24, 2008). "Key Brand Entertainment Acquires Live Nation Tour Markets, Plans to Nurture New Work". Playbill. Archived from the original on July 6, 2014.
- Robertson, Campbell (January 25, 2008). "Live Nation Finds a Buyer for its Theater Business". The New York Times.
- Smith, Alistair (January 28, 2008). "Live Nation theatrical business sale finalised". The Stage.
- "Clear Channel Gives Details on Spinoff Of Live Nation Unit". The Wall Street Journal. December 15, 2005. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
- "Clear Channel buys SFX". CNN Money. February 29, 2000. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
- "SFX Hit With Contract Suit". Billboard. October 24, 1998. p. 8.
- The Magic is Back! Marshall and Marsh, Magicworks Entertainment Founders, Reunite as Magic Arts & Entertainment, Inc., BUSINESS WIRE, September 4, 2002[dead link]
- Biesada, Alexandra (December 1996). "Pace on Earth". Texas Monthly.
- Taylor, Markland (August 11, 1998). "Bound for Boston: SFX subsidiary gains legit house American Artists". Variety.
- "SFX Corporate History". Funding Universe. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
- "Twin Cities-based show producer Jujamcyn is sold to N.Y. giant SFX". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. May 11, 2000 – via NewsBank.
- "Hollywood Media 2010 Special Meeting Proxy Statement" (PDF). December 10, 2010. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-12.
- Cox, Gordon (September 5, 2017). "Broadway Across America Season Subscriptions Hit Record High". Variety.
- Gans, Andrew (December 16, 2010). "Key Brand Entertainment Inc. Acquires Broadway.com". Playbill. Archived from the original on September 15, 2011.
- "Lucky Seven! Broadway.com Named #1 Theater Source in Broadway League Report for the Seventh Year in a Row". Broadway.com. February 8, 2017.
- "The 61st Annual New York Emmy Award Winners" (PDF). The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences New York Chapter (Press release). April 14, 2018.
- "and Broadway Across America Group Sales Merge with Group Sales Box Office". Broadway.com. April 24, 2012.
- "BroadwayBox has been acquired by Key Brand Entertainment Inc". Oaklins. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
- Cox, Gordon (March 4, 2015). "Broadway Channel Acquired by Key Brand Entertainment". Variety.
- "Arthur Miller Theater Education Program Kick-Off Celebration". Arthur Miller Foundation. October 5, 2017.
- Campbell, Christopher (November 7, 2017). "Inside the Avengers Cast's One-Night-Only Performance of Our Town". Vanity Fair.
- "John Gore Organization Pledges 100K to the T. Fellowship with Columbia University" (Press release). Columbia School of the Arts. September 28, 2018.
- "Chicago Tony Awards Info". Broadwau World.
- "History". Drama Desk Awards. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved January 3, 2021.