One singular sensation
Every little step he takes.
One thrilling combination
Every move that he makes.
One smile and suddenly nobody else will do;
You know you’ll never be lonely with you know who.
“One” from the musical A Chorus Line
As in the plot of the world-famous revue production of the Broadway classic A Chorus Line, which Michael Brenner brought to the German stage in an award-winning original production for the first time in 1987 – the year that BB Promotion was founded – in a similar manner he made his first steps with the most celebrated dancer of the twentieth century, Rudolf Nureyev, and the core of the ballet elite, and in the same twinkle of the eye and a generously charming nonchalance, presenting three open-air concerts with the magnificent rock icon Tina Turner.
By no means a newcomer to the entertainment industry, this event was the only accolade missing in his success record. This success was only outweighed by the personal triumph of bringing an unforgettable experience to an enthusiastic audience every evening. The path was predetermined: to achieve in an unprecedented way high artistic quality combined with financial success, a solid foundation for the BB Group, an agency operating in the international top league.
His pure passion for emotive, immersive entertainment theatre, coupled with an unerring instinct for what really works on stage as well as his open admiration for fascinating artists fuelled the tireless engine that motivated Michael Brenner to take risks.
In order to establish upscale live entertainment at an appropriate level for the longer run, it was also necessary that adequate theatres and venues were available. Already in 1988, Michael Brenner won acclaim hosting the 1st Summer Festival in Cologne with the European premiere of the celebrated US production of Evita at the newly built Philharmonic Theatre. The festival, which always boasts highlights from the world dance and show business scene, evolved far beyond the region and quickly became a magnet for audiences, celebrating its 25th jubilee in 2012.
The fact that across the country the golden gates of the most prestigious theatres, opera, concert and festival halls crowned by jewels such as the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the Dresdner Semperoper or the Hamburg Staatsoper were now open for extended guest productions by BB Promotion is ultimately due to Michael Brenner’s long-cherished dream and his personal merit, merging successfully the demands of high culture with those of sophisticated live entertainment, thus reconciling two phenomenally genres. With this the entire industry was given the inexorable momentum to expand further in this market which opened up brand new dimensions.
Michael Brenner was first and foremost a visionary entrepreneur. His unfaltering credo was to offer a spectrum of all stripes, trendy but never banal and never picking material up arbitrarily. The same quality criteria that he had set for his precious team as benchmarks for the success of an ever-growing and expanding business applied also to him personally. Considering his vast and diverse portfolio and each and every one of his productions they were all a unique artistic achievement, whether new productions, premiering on a German stage or an international hit at some of the most prestigious theatres in capitals such as London, Paris, Vienna, New York, Tokyo or Sydney, whether newly discovered or brand new productions developed from scratch.
A top producer of successful long-standing musicals such as Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Chicago and We Will Rock You, Michael Brenner was at the same time inspired by an irrepressible joy at discovering innovative show formats and led him for instance to market an exceptional performance by STOMP or to establish and produce The Harlem Gospel Singers. Thus he delighted audiences with numerous shows from all cultures around the world, each unique in itself, under the seal of BB Promotion.
The inspiration and major source of Michael Brenner’s creative enthusiasm were his numerous encounters with wonderful artists such as, to name but a few, Gospel star Queen Esther Marrow, incomparable Marcel Marceau, ballet icons Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev, the rock giants QUEEN with Brian May and Roger Taylor or the charismatic Judith Jamison and, not least, his extraordinary friendship with his mentor Paul Szilard, the great dance producer and impresario. Kindred spirit, as Michael Brenner shared his enthusiasm for the universal language of dance and the ballet world, Paul Szilard played a decisive role in Brenner’s continuous audacity to bring celebrated dance companies such as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater or the Martha Graham Dance Company to Europe and to impress a wider audience. And there are more than a few dance companies of international standing that boast to have been under the aegis of Michael Brenner, proud to have entrusted him as their impresario.
That artistic intuition, technical know-how and the courage to invest in international touring business produces diamonds can be gauged by first-class productions such as Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show or and the award-winning West Side Story with performances in the best theatres in Europe, Asia and Australia and sold-out shows in Israel: expensive, electrifying productions put together by carefully selected creative teams guarantee the wholehearted approval of critics and audiences alike. This is proved by guest appearances, for example, at London’s Sadler’s Wells or at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris where West Side Story in the original choreography of Jerome Robbins reached the top against all competition, including the highly subsidized musical theatre or the market-leading musical entertainment.
As a leading promoter of major concerts in South-West Germany, Michael Brenner’s agency presented among others Bob Dylan, The Eagles, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Queen, Sting, The Rolling Stones and many more.
Under Michael Brenner’s leadership, BB Group, with over 100 staff and its headquarters in Mannheim, became one of the leading companies in the high-quality live entertainment sector. This is the life work of a visionary.