Leading West End producer Andre Ptaszynski dies at 67
The former Really Useful Company chief executive produced many hits, including Matilda The Musical.
Andre Ptaszynski, one the West End’s leading producers and figures, died on Wednesday. The Olivier-Award winning man behind international hit musicals including Matilda the Musical, Groundhog Day, Love Never Dies and Bombay Dreams was 67.
Organisations and industry leaders paid tribute to Ptasynski, including his close associate Andrew Lloyd Webber, who tweeted “Farewell dear Andre. All my love, Andrew.”
In an emotional tweet from the National Theatre, the joint chief executives Lisa Burger and Rufus Norris said, “At a time when theatre is in great peril, it has lost one of its greatest champions.”
During an illustrious 30-year theatre career, Ptasynski held many important and industry-defining roles, including President of The Society of London Theatre, board member of the National Theatre, Chief Executive of Really Useful Theatres, and Chief Executive of Really Useful Group.
He also found great success in television, initially with his own production company Pola Jones, creating many comedy series in the 1990s. His television and theatre careers combined when he looked after the wildly successful television casting shows How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? and Any Dream Will Do, which provided casting for revivals of The Sound of Music and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which he then produced for Really Useful Group.
In 2011, Ptaszynski produced Matilda The Musical for the Royal Shakespeare Company, first in Stratford-upon-Avon and in the West End, before rolling out internationally. The production has now been seen by millions globally, and won major awards including the Olivier Award for Best Musical. The West End production is due to resume its successful run at the Cambridge Theatre when the industry reopens after the Covid-19 shutdown.
The RSC’s Artistic Director Gregory Doran and Executive Director Catherine Mallyon said “His irrepressible charm, humour, laser instinct and clear sighted business sense (and endless theatrical anecdotes) made him one the most successful and admired Producers of recent times. André’s unbounded love for Matilda The Musical, his endless commitment, his total support for everyone involved in all the productions, and his joy in sitting in audiences across the world, was inspiring. And very special.
“He will be deeply missed by us and the entire industry as we start to process this tragic news. Our thoughts are with his wife Judith, his children and his family at this most difficult of times.”