Ambassador Theatre Group Hires CEO and EVP for North America

by Jacob Coakley
Stephen Lewin (left) is the new CEO, North America for ATG, and Kristin Caskey is the new executive vice president, Content and Creative, North America.
Stephen Lewin (left) is the new CEO, North America for ATG, and Kristin Caskey is the new executive vice president, Content and Creative, North America.

NEW YORK — The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) appointed a new North American leadership team as they expand their North American operations. Stephen Lewin will be chief executive and Kristin Caskey will be executive vice-president, Content and Creative.

With close to 50 venues in Britain, the United States and Australia, ATG is the world’s largest theater company. As recently as August 2015, ATG was running only one theater in North America: the Lyric, the largest theater on Broadway. In the latter part of 2015, ATG significantly expanded their North American operations, acquiring not only a long lease on a second Broadway theater, the Hudson, but also the ACE Theatrical Group, a company which specializes in the design, development, construction and operation of live performance venues. There are now no fewer than eight theaters in ATG’s North American portfolio, namely the Lyric, the Hudson, and, via ACE: the King’s Theater in Brooklyn; the Saenger Theater and the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts in New Orleans; the Majestic Theater and the Charline McCombs Empire Theater in San Antonio; and the Smart Financial Center in Suglar Land in Greater Houston. Mr. Lewin will have the overall responsibility for the merger of the two entities, in addition to expanding the ATG platform in North America.

Stephen Lewin commented, “I am enormously looking forward to learning the theater business; and can’t think of a better place to do so than ATG – with its breathtakingly beautiful portfolio of theaters – or a better person to learn beside than Kristin: she’s the complete theater professional. In recent years, ATG and ACE have achieved great things. I am certain, though, that we have the potential to achieve even more; and can’t wait to start capitalizing on that potential. I am certain, too, that one of the secrets to success, whether it’s in the wine and spirits or theater business, is good product and good people, and that’s one reason I am happy to be working with Kristin.”

Kristin Caskey commented, “I’m excited by the prospect of working for ATG and by the things it can achieve artistically. It’s going to be great, working alongside somebody with Stephen’s entrepreneurial energy and branding, management and relationship skills. Stephen is a team player, with a long track record of building cohesive, effective teams. That’s important to me. I strongly believe that good theater is all about good teamwork. Fox Theatricals has been my life for more than 20 years. I have been incredibly happy there and am more than grateful for everything it has given me.”

BIOS

Stephen Lewin (CEO, North America) has spent his entire career, of over 30 years, in the wine and spirits business: a career that has taken him from Joseph E. Seagram & Sons; to Clicquot, Inc. where he was Executive Vice-­‐President, Sales and Marketing; to Paramount Brands where he was President and Chief Operating Officer; to Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits where he was Chief Marketing Officer; to Independence Wine & Spirits where he was Vice President and General Manager; and to his own import, sales and distribution company. He is thus a newcomer to the world of theater management. He is not, however, new to the world of business leadership or of sales, marketing and brand management: In the course of his seventeen years at Clicquot, Inc., he built Veuve Clicquot into the Number One champagne brand in America; At Paramount, he led a staff of 50 managers and had command of a network of 180 commissioned sales agents; At Deutsch, he was head of marketing in a company that included the Number One wine brand in America, [yellow tail]. Nor will this be his first merger. In 2004/5, he sat on the advisory board, responsible for merging Clicquot, Inc., with two other companies -­‐ Schieffelin & Co. and Millennium Import LLC -­‐ to create Moët Hennessy USA.

Kristin Caskey (EVP, Content & Creative, North America) has been in the theater business all her working life, most of which she has spent with Fox Theatricals, a division of Fox Associates. She first started producing for Fox over twenty years ago, in 1996, and in 2010 became its President, with responsibility not only for producing but also for booking The Broadway Series at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri. Kristin was originally drawn to commercial producing as the perfect marriage between the business and creative sides of the industry. Since then, she has successfully produced more than 20 plays, musicals and tours in partnership with Mike Isaacson, current Artistic Director of The Municipal Theater

Association of St. Louis (“The Muny”). Some of their award-­‐winning credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie, Legally Blonde, Bring It On, The Humans, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Red. A multiple Tony Award winner, her most significant recent achievement was the groundbreaking Fun Home: in the words of one commentator, “the first mainstream musical about a young lesbian”. In 2015, Fun Home won five Tony awards, including “Best Musical” and is currently touring the country. Kristin is an active member of the Broadway community, where she serves on the Tony Management Committee and the Board of Governors and Executive Committee for The Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway theatre industry. She also serves on the Investment Committee for the Independent Presenters Network (IPN), a consortium of independent presenters from across the country. At ATG, she will continue her work as a producer with longtime partner Mike Isaacson, at the same time as having overall responsibility for programming.