Press Releases



HOLLYWOOD—May 9, 2005—A joint venture is being formed between CIM Group and TheatreDreams, an entertainment production and management company, to program and operate the premier Kodak Theatre at CIM Group's Hollywood & Highland Center retail/ entertainment destination, and The Chicago Theatre, acquired by TheatreDreams in 2004.

"TheatreDreams is comprised of talented and respected theatrical producers and theatre managers with a wealth of experience and a tremendous entertainment network.  This group will present an engaging line-up of dramatic and musical theatre, concerts, comedy, live broadcasts, family and special events at the theatres," said Avi Shemesh, cofounder and principal, CIM Group.  "The joint venture agreement allows us to align our overall programming and entertainment at Hollywood & Highland more closely with the theatre.  We can build on the synergies within the project and create new entertainment packages and other cross-promotional opportunities."

TheatreDreams' principals and founders, Lawrence J. Wilker and William Becker, are Tony Award®-winning producers and industry veterans.  Wilker was president of the Kennedy Center in Washington for ten years and is recognized for repositioning and reprogramming it as one of the leading venues in the U.S.  Becker also is known for his years with the Kennedy Center as general counsel and attorney to noted American producer Roger Stevens.

TheatreDreams was formed in 2001 and has co-produced three hit Broadway productions:  Urinetown: The Musical, winner of three 2002 Tony Awards®; Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods starring Vanessa Williams and winner of the 2002 Tony Award® for Best Musical Revival; and Neil Simon's The Dinner Party starring Henry Winkler and the late John Ritter.  They were most recently represented on Broadway this spring by Good Vibrations, a new musical featuring the songs of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys.

"The Kodak Theatre is an exquisite venue in an unparalleled location.  With the built-in technological features and the flexibility of the space, we can present great dance companies, musical theatre or one man shows," said Wilker.

Last year, TheatreDreams acquired the historic Chicago Theatre, a landmark in the heart of the city's theatre loop.  Programming at the theatre has more than doubled since their acquisition with 190 event nights since April 1, 2004, including Jerry Seinfeld, Norah Jones, Diana Ross, Def Poetry Jam, Clay Aiken, Dave Koz, Hi5 Live, Slava's Snowshow, Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Widespread Panic and Erasure.

"TheatreDreams will build on the successful programming that has attracted scores of people to the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center.  The venture allows us to expand the programming as we can now offer premier locations in two of the country's largest cities when productions are booking major tours," noted Shemesh.

The Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center features state-of-the-art digital technology, ideal for concerts, theatrical productions and live broadcast.   The 180,000 square foot, 3,400-seat theatre, designed by architect David Rockwell, has international prominence as the home for the Academy Awards®.

Hollywood & Highland Center consists of more than 387,000 square feet of retail space leased to national, regional and local retail tenants, a variety of restaurants, several of Hollywood's hottest nightclubs, and a six-screen state-of-the-art cinema adjacent to the world-famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre.  The complex also contains 65,000 square feet of unique indoor and outdoor banquet facilities, catered by celebrated chef Wolfgang Puck, for conferences and special events including an elegant Grand Ballroom, site of the annual Oscars® Governors Ball. 

TheatreDreams and its affiliated companies are led by Tony Award®-winning principals Lawrence J. Wilker, William W. Becker, Joan A. Alper, Jill Wilker and Michael Alper.  The company owns and operates The Chicago Theatre, the 1921 historic landmark located in the heart of the Loop's theatre district and advises the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia on its theatre programming.  The TheatreDreams team includes industry veterans Eric Fisher, vice president-finance, Scott Shiller, vice president-programming and Karen Vock, vice president-marketing.  Jay Thomas, formerly general manager of Kodak Theatre, joined TheatreDreams as vice president on April 1.

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