Today Crossroads Live (CXL) announces the acquisition of The Gordon Frost Organisation, Australia’s leading commercial producer of live theatrical entertainment. This transaction represents a transformative step as CXL builds the first truly global company for touring musical theatre production. In acquiring GFO, CXL is immediately positioned as a leading company in Australia, one of the most important theatre markets in the world. Further, in securing a base of operations in Sydney, CXL is strategically positioned to extend its market leadership as the foremost provider of touring theatrical productions in the key growth markets of Southeast Asia, the Middle East, India, and China.
John Frost, CEO, The Gordon Frost Organisation, is Australia’s most prolific and successful theatre producer, having produced almost 200 productions around the world. Major GFO productions include Wicked, Chicago, Grease, Dirty Dancing, and the Broadway smash hit The Book of Mormon. GFO enjoys a long and fruitful partnership as a producer of musicals with Opera Australia (OA), which has included South Pacific, The King and I, Anything Goes, and Julie Andrews’ acclaimed production of My Fair Lady as well as the recent blockbuster tour of Evita, produced by GFO and OA in partnership with CXL subsidiary David Ian Productions.
CXL is led by its Chairman and CEO Tom McGrath, its President Dan Miller, and David Ian, a director of CXL and CEO of David Ian Productions.
Tom McGrath said:
The acquisition of The Gordon Frost Organisation further establishes Crossroads Live as the leading producer of international touring theatrical productions. Having the benefit of John’s knowledge and influence, alongside the current team, is a hugely important milestone in our company’s growth. CXL and our partners at Raven Capital Management will continue to seek out compelling opportunities to grow our business globally and especially in Asia, where the next great boom in the theatre industry is already underway.
John Frost said
This transaction honours GFO’s legacy as we look to our future. Joining forces with CXL positions GFO for significant growth opportunities, as we align our outstanding management team and deep relationships across the landscape of the Australia theatre industry with CXL’s financial strength, complementary creative relationships, and impressive slate of iconic and original touring productions. We share a common vision of opportunities across our industry and commitment to creative excellence. Presently, we are delighted to mark the return of live theatre in Australia with GFO’s production of Pippin just opened at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney and playing through January 31, 2021.
The acquisition of GFO follows the cornerstone acquisition of London-based David Ian Productions (DIP) in 2019. Principal DIP productions include international tours of iconic theatrical properties such as Cats, Chicago, and Evita (with GFO and OA) and the forthcoming Jesus Christ Superstar, Waitress and School of Rock. Along with Michael Harrison, DIP is theoriginating producer of The Bodyguard, and the upcoming My Best Friend’s Wedding and Drifters Girl.
David Ian said:
The acquisition of GFO fulfills a long-held goal of formally aligning DIP with GFO and acquiring a permanent presence in Australia, a critical market for DIP’s international touring productions. Frosty has been a close friend and collaborator for many years and I am absolutely thrilled he is now part of our organization. Together, we offer a truly unique value proposition to the creators of new and iconic musical theatre production originating in the West End and Broadway, and to our presenting partners across the globe. No company is better positioned to execute international theatrical touring – creatively, logistically, commercially than the CXL group.
On Broadway, CXL is a co-producer of Mrs. Doubtfire, Company and Almost Famous.
Beyond musical theatre, the CXL group companies are producers of immersive and themed entertainment, including the Magic Mike Live global arena tour. CXL is a co-founder, with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), of Constellation Immersive, an immersive producing company, which launched this year with The Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Holiday Journey in Los Angeles which operates under COVID-19 safety protocols with visitors enjoying the show from the safety of their own vehicle.
Dan Miller led the transaction for Crossroads Live. CXL were advised by Gilbert + Tobin and Latham & Watkins and Grant Thornton.
About The Gordon Frost Organisation /John Frost
John Frost is Australia’s most prolific and successful theatre producer spanning a 40-year career, having produced almost 200 productions around the world. He began his career at age 16 as a dresser on the J.C. Williamson tour of Mame and worked his way up through the ranks.
Early productions included Jerry’s Girls and Night Mother. The company moved onto national tours of large-scale musicals such as Big River, The King And I, South Pacific, Hello, Dolly! The Secret Garden, Smokey’s Joe’s Café, Cabaret and Crazy For You. In 1996, The Gordon Frost Organisation’s production of The King and I won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical on Broadway.
Two years later, John co-produced Grease – The Arena Spectacular! Then came The Sound of Music and The Man of La Mancha. In 2003, he won his second Tony Award as a co-producer of Hairspray on Broadway.
John subsequently co-produced The Producers and co-presented the Australian tour of The Phantom of the Opera, starring Anthony Warlow and was one of the original producers of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.
More recently, John produced Australasian tours of Wicked, Chicago, Doctor Zhivago, and Grease. Australian production highlights include Annie, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum starring Geoffrey Rush, ONCE, We Will Rock You, Dream Lover, The Wizard of Oz, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Shrek and the Broadway blockbuster The Book of Mormon.
In London, he co-produced the West End productions of The Bodyguard and Blithe Spirit, starring Angela Lansbury, while in the US he co-produced An Act of God, Exit the King and Fiddler on the Roof. In partnership with Opera Australia, he co-produced South Pacific, The King and I, Anything Goes, My Fair Lady and Evita.
Over the years, John has presented many plays including, the Tony Award-winning Art, National Theatre of Great Britain’s celebrated production of An Inspector Calls, Lady Windermere’s Fan starring Vanessa Redgrave, Googie Withers, Joely Richardson and John McCallum at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. The Australian tour of Driving Miss Daisy starring Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones.