David Mirvish bigraphy, stories - Collectors

David Mirvish : biography

1945 -

David Mirvish, (born 1945) is a Canadian art collector, art dealer, theatre producer and son of the late "Honest" Ed Mirvish, Toronto discount department store-owner and artist Anne Lazare Macklin.

Life and career

Mirvish was born in Toronto, Ontario. He owns and operates the Royal Alexandra Theatre, the Princess of Wales Theatre, the Ed Mirvish Theatre and the Panasonic Theatre, all in Toronto, Ontario. From 2002 to 2005, he was on the Board of Trustees of the Royal Ontario Museum. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Canada.

From 1963 through 1975, Mirvish operated a contemporary art gallery - the David Mirvish Gallery - specialising in the American abstract painters of the 1960s and 1970s known as the Color Field school."York University", accessed December 9, 2008

He closed the gallery in 1975, but continues to buy and sell privately and to lend works to museums for exhibition.

In 1987, he took over direction of his father's 1500-seat Toronto theatre, the Royal Alexandra Theatre. For most of the theatre's history, it had functioned as a road house - a temporary venue for touring productions. In 1987, Mr. Mirvish founded the company Mirvish Productions for the purpose of producing and staging original works for the Royal Alexandra and, later, his new Princess of Wales Theatre (opened in 1993).

Mirvish and Mirvish Productions enjoyed notable successes in this new venture as with the Canadian stagings of such musicals as Les Misérables (1989–1990), Miss Saigon (1993–1995), Crazy for You (1994–1995), Rent (1997–1998), The Lion King (2000–2004), We Will Rock You and The Sound of Music (opened October, 2008). They also, however, endured losses with their sit-down productions of the large-scale musicals Tommy (1995), Jane Eyre (1996–1997), The Producers (2003–2004),Hairspray (2004) and most recently, the ambitious The Lord of the Rings (2006).

Mirvish also operated the London, England, theatre the Old Vic (purchased and renovated by his father in 1982) from 1987 through 1998. In 1987, he installed Jonathan Miller as artistic director of The Old Vic and enjoyed a string of outstanding critical successes - including an Olivier Award for a production of the musical Candide, but, unfortunately, three straight years of financial loss. In 1990, Mirvish terminated Miller's contract over budget issues, earning much negative criticism in the British press.

In 1997, Mirvish appointed Sir Peter Hall as artistic director of the Old Vic and, again, enjoyed critical acclaim with such productions as The Master Builder with Alan Bates and Waiting for Godot with Ben Kingsley, but continuing financial loss. Within a year of the appointment, Mr. Mirvish terminated Hall's contract - again to much negative comment in the press - and put the Old Vic up for sale. The theatre was subsequently (1998) purchased by a theatres trust, The Old Vic Theatre Trust.McGillivray, Peter.AllBusiness, July 24, 1998

In 2000, Mr. Mirvish began a new business venture as a real estate developer and began construction of a large condominium complex in downtown Toronto, known as One King West. The building opened for occupancy in 2005.

In 2005, he also joined in partnership with British theatre producer Kevin Wallace, American film producer Saul Zaentz and Canadian concert promoter Michael Cohl to produce a stage musical adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. This production opened at the Princess of Wales Theatre in March 2006. Because of poor reviews and slow sales the show closed early. On June 28, 2006, Mr. Mirvish announced that Sept. 3, 2006 would mark the show's closing,City News, June 28, 2006 and that he would be unable to fully repay its investors. With an estimated capitalisation of $28 million, The Lord of the Rings had been advertised as the most expensive stage production in North American history.

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