Drew Cohen, current president of Music Theatre International, has been promoted to chief executive officer of the theatrical licensing company.
Cohen will continue as both president and CEO of MTI and will be in charge of domestic and international strategy for the company. In the past few years, the company began expanding its activity in Europe, Asia and in Australia and its neighboring countries and Cohen said he will continue to increase MTI’s reach abroad.
“There’s always been a significant demand there, but it’s grown,” Cohen said.
While London, Australia and Japan have always been strong customers, Cohen said Korea has emerged as a strong market in the past five years, and the company has also seen increasing demand from China.
The U.S. is still a focus for MTI, but Cohen said the market is already “very mature” given MTI’s existing presence with professional and community theaters, as well as elementary and middle schools.
Cohen takes over the role of CEO from Freddie Gershon, who remains as co-chairman of MTI alongside existing chairman Cameron Mackintosh. Gershon has been the company’s CEO for the past 29 years.
“As MTI looks to the future and continues its mission of perpetuating musical theatre and generating passive residual income streams for the benefit of the authors we represent, I cannot think of a better executive to lead this effort,” Gershon said in the press release.
MTI was co-founded by composer Frank Loesser and orchestrator Don Walker in 1952. The company is headquartered in New York and has offices in London and Melbourne.
Mackintosh became a partner in the company more than 20 years ago and acquired a majority stake in the company around 2005.
“In addition to his integrity and extraordinary instincts for identifying and nurturing exciting and original musicals, he has demonstrated tremendous appreciation for musical theater and insightful support for the artists who create these musicals,” Mackintosh said in the press release. “Drew will now have even more latitude as CEO to steer MTI into the future.“
The company works with more than 70,000 theater groups in the U.S. and is represented in more than 60 countries. MTI’s catalog consists of about 500 musicals, including “The Producers,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Kinky Boots,” and “Come From Away.”
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the name of Music Theatre International.