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Michael
Cassel

An extraordinary producer with an international reputation.

Profile

Michael Cassel is one of Australia’s most respected and sought after producers of musicals and large-scale musical entertainment. He is also Australia’s youngest producer. At 36 he has been named a “visionary” and “a producer with global cred changing the face of the stage” by The Weekend Australian and already achieved a successful international career working for some of the world’s most prestigious entertainment companies including Disney Theatrical and Sir Cameron Mackintosh.

Current work

Cassel’s rise from setting up and producing Carols by Candlelight on NSW’s South Coast when he was 15 years old to running one of the country’s busiest independent musical production companies is a spectacular industry success story.

Ask Cassel - who knew he had to work in musicals when he saw Jesus Christ Superstar in the early 90s - what it takes to succeed in the musical theatre industry and it basically boils down to two things: passion and relationships.

He also credits a strong team for the company’s success. Cassel’s Michael Cassel Group has grown from a staff of two when he started in 2013 to sixteen.

Michael also sits on the executive council of peak industry body Live Performance Australia.

Previous experience

Producer: Cassel entered the professional producing arena in 1999, working for three years with his mentor Harry M Miller before joining James Thane at the newly-formed Disney Theatrical in Australia for the inaugural tour of The Lion King in Australia. Cassel went on to produce the first tour of The Lion King in Asia, before being invited to New York as Disney’s Director, International.

Disney: He ultimately worked for Disney for a decade, overseeing all Disney tours outside the US including Beauty and the Beast, AIDA, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid and High School Musical.

Productions: He returned to Australia in 2012 with Global Creatures (producers of Walking with Dinosaurs and Strictly Ballroom the Musical) before founding his own company, the Michael Cassel Group, in 2013. Their debut production was the 19-month national tour of Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Miserables, before Cassel took the show to Asia where it is still touring. Today the Michael Cassel Group exclusively represents Cameron Mackintosh in Australia and has toured Singin’ In the Rain and Kinky Boots. From 2018 the Michael Cassel Group will produce the ten-year anniversary of Beautiful: The Carole King Story, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and an international tour of Disney’s The Lion King.

Media
Expertise
Talking Points

If you can dream it, you can do it: five lessons on success in the entertainment industry

From his first live Carols by Candlelight concert on NSW’s South Coast, Michael Cassel has worked around the world in musical theatre production and founded his own successful production company. Mentored by industry luminaries including Cameron Mackintosh, Harry M. Miller and others along the way, Cassel shares what he has learned about building a company, operating in a competitive industry and whether it’s ever possible to plan for the future.

Capturing the discretionary dollar: Connecting with the consumer?

Musical theatre ticket sales continue to climb - though Michael Cassel has operated in environments when the consumer wasn’t always willing to spend. Cassel discusses how his production company - and his competitors - use multiple channels to promote and sell their shows; considers disruptive technologies and how best to adapt to them; explains how his team weighs up best use of the group’s marketing spend and ways of connecting to the consumer in a fracturing media environment.

Delivering consistent returns in the entertainment industry: is it ever possible?

Michael Cassel has one piece of advice for would-be backers of his musicals - don’t invest unless you can afford to lose it. But those that have invested in Cassel’s musical productions have seen good returns. Cassel will discuss how he identifies his next production, how capital is put to work and the different approach that is taken with Australian musicals and audiences compared to offshore. He’ll also discuss why the local industry has struggled to deliver home-grown productions and whether this is the next big challenge.

Keeping the show on the road: building a sustainable business culture

In an environment where boards are increasingly focused on culture, it’s hard to imagine a more challenging environment than one filled with divas, leading actors, accountants and producers. Michael Cassel will discuss building a business culture from the ground-up, one that has allowed the group to put the integrity of the production first, but maintain a strong focus on investment returns. He’ll also discuss dealing with a unionised workforce, international performers and more.

Balancing creative flair and business needs

Michael Cassel will explore how he has built a global business in which there is room for creative flair, and a strong focus on investment returns and budgets. He will discuss what he learned working for global production houses like Disney and how he was able to apply some of that when founding his own business, and what he has had to do differently.
Topics

Innovation

  • Creativity

Lifestyle & Wellbeing

  • Society, Culture and The Arts
Feedback
I have had the opportunity to work with the most extraordinary people in our industry and Michael Cassel is certainly one of them. President, Disney Theatrical Group
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