Revamped Kings Theatre in Flatbush Sells to Ambassador Theater Chain

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Perhaps nothing is as emblematic of both the old and new Brooklyn as the newly restored Kings Theatre in Flatbush. After a $93 million restoration, it opened in February for the first time in 40 years and has gone on to win a preservation award and kindle renewed interest in the area.

And now it will be acquired by Ambassador, a vertically integrated theater chain, which produces shows, sells tickets and runs theaters. The iconic theater was not an acquisition target on its own but is part of another theater group, ACE Theatrical Group, that Ambassador is acquiring, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

When the deal is all done, Kings will become part of Ambassador’s global 45-theater group. Its theaters span a wide range of locales, from Australia to the U.K. to various cities in the U.S., including New Orleans and San Antonio.

For those who live in Brooklyn, the sale means a chance to see more Ambassador-produced shows in Flatbush. Recent productions have included “The King and I,” “The Book of Mormon,” and “Jersey Boys” (some produced in partnership with others, such as Lincoln Center).

The Kings Theatre reopened in February with Diana Ross and has also hosted such musical performers as Crosby, Stills & Nash, Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, Sarah McLachlan and Gladys Knight.

But, as blogger Tim Thomas of the Q at Parkside points out, the shows have been far and few between — perhaps because it’s not so easy filling such a large theater in Flatbush every night. He has a suggestion:

I still think that regular showing of classic, family films is the way to go. And cult films. Doesn’t cost much to purchase, and if it’s curated right, I think big groups of people would love to go and sing along to Sound of Music. Or The Wiz. Rocky Horror Picture Show. And the occasional world premiere of a movie, with movie stars in tow. Open only on weekends.

Ambassador, we hope you’re listening.

U.K.’s Ambassador Theatre Group Acquires Five U.S. Venues [WSJ]
How to Buy Kings [Q Parkside]
Kings Theatre Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Matt Lambros of After the Final Curtain via Facebook

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