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Corporate drama – Underwriters’ names in spotlight

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Combining philanthropy and high-powered marketing, corporations are sponsoring Broadway theater in exchange for valuable marquee space and more, the Associated Press reports.

For example, the nonprofit Roundabout Theater on Broadway will be rechristened the American Airlines Theater, thanks to an $8.5 million gift spread over a 10-year period.

The airline will get its name on the theater’s marquee, as well as on tickets and advertising, for the length of the partnership.

Broadway’s largest theater owner, the Schubert Organization, is rumored to be considering a deal with General Motors to rename its Winter Garden the Cadillac Winter Garden. 

Although renaming Broadway theaters is not new, previous names have had theatrical import — honoring playwrights, actors and even critics.

“One cannot be too critical of theater support,” said Broadway producer Alexander Cohen. “At the same time, one has to pay respect to those who created American theater.  We do not need the Campbell’s Pork and Beans Palace.”

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