American Airlines Theatre Will Be Renamed the Todd Haimes Theatre

Haimes passed away at 66 years of age on April 19, 2023 from complications of osteosarcoma.

By: Jun. 02, 2023
American Airlines Theatre Will Be Renamed the Todd Haimes Theatre

Roundabout Theatre Company announced today that the 104-year-old Selwyn Theatre (227 West 42nd Street), now known as the American Airlines Theatre, will become the Todd Haimes Theatre, in recognition of the late artistic director and chief executive’s extraordinary dedication to the institution he called home, and his enormous contributions to Roundabout and the entire theatre community. He passed away at 66 years of age on April 19, 2023 from complications of osteosarcoma. The Broadway community honored Mr. Haimes last night by dimming the marquees of all 41 Broadway theatres.

The American Airlines Theatre represents the vision of Todd Haimes’ leadership at Roundabout. In the late 1990s he restored the historic Selwyn Theatre to become the flagship home for Roundabout on Broadway, opening in 2000 with The Man Who Came To Dinner, starring Nathan Lane. Through the years, the American Airlines Theatre has provided space for Roundabout’s extensive education programs and career training initiatives, and on stage has been home to Tony Award-winning and -nominated productions of Big River (2003), The Pajama Game (2006), On the Twentieth Century (2015), Long Day’s Journey Into Night(2016),A Soldier’s Play(2020), and Trouble in Mind(2021).The Tony-nominated production of Fat Ham is currently playing at the theatre as a limited engagement.

The charge to honor Haimes through this renaming was led by Board members: Lawrence Kaplen (Vice Chair), Katheryn Patterson Kempner (Chair) and Thomas E. Tuft (First Vice Chair) through leadership gifts to the Todd Haimes Fund for Artistic Excellence.

The Todd Haimes Theatre will be unveiled and dedicated during Roundabout’s 2023-2024 season, which opens on Broadway with the world premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s I Need That, starring Danny DeVito, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel; followed by the first Broadway revival of John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt: A Parable, directed by Scott Ellis; and completed by Home by Samm-Art Williams, directed by Kenny Leon. Dates for these productions will be announced soon.

“Last year, when the thought of naming the theatre after Todd arose, our instinct was to honor a visionary producer who had led Roundabout from a basement under a supermarket in Chelsea to an indelible force in the American theatre,” said Roundabout Vice Chair Lawrence Kaplen. “I am proud to be a member of a board of directors, which is united in their commitment to preserve Todd’s legacy with this distinct honor.”

As the leader of Roundabout Theatre Company for nearly 40 years, Todd Haimes transformed a company operating in a 150-seat space in a converted Chelsea basement into one of the leading cultural institutions in New York City and the largest not-for-profit theatre in America. It now has five Broadway and off- Broadway spaces for a rich repertory of both classics and world premieres; runs the most expansive education program of any theatre in the country highlighted by its Theatrical Workforce Development Program; and provides opportunities, support, and resources to artists at every stage of their careers.

Haimes ran the institution with a combination of business acumen and artistic leadership. In 1991, understanding the autonomy and potential a theatre company could enjoy operating its own venues, Haimes opened Roundabout’s first Broadway home at the Criterion Center at Broadway and 45th Street. Among the company’s early triumphs there were Anna Christie, starring Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson, and New York’s first revival of She Loves Me, directed by Scott Ellis, both in 1993. All told, during Mr. Haimes’s tenure as Artistic Director/CEO, Roundabout’s shows have won 34 Tony Awards, 58 Drama Desk Awards, 73 Outer Critics Circle Awards, 21 Lucille Lortel Awards, and 14 Obie Awards.

Additional major support for the renaming was provided by: Jeanne and Tom Hagerty, Sylvia Golden, The Kaplen Brothers Fund, The Kaplen Foundation, Stephanie and Ron Kramer, Mary C. Solomon, and Fran and Paul Turner.

Created in 2003 by then-Board Chair Steven Goldstone, the Todd Haimes Fund for Artistic Excellence was designed to provide support for artistic risk, including new work development, musicals and artist-based programs. Additional gifts to this fund allow Roundabout to sustain and grow existing programs and maintain critical artistic risk capital as well as support planned renovations of the Todd Haimes Theatre in 2025. To learn more, or to make a gift in honor of Todd Haimes, please visit roundabouttheatre.org/todd.

ABOUT THE SELWYN THEATRE

In 1997, Roundabout was invited by the City and State of New York to participate in the redevelopment of 42nd Street and proceeded to undertake a $24 million renovation of the historic Selwyn Theatre with lead support from the City and private donors along with an unprecedented gift from American Airlines. Roundabout proudly renamed the theatre for this visionary corporate donor.

Constructed in 1918, the last of the theatres built on 42nd Street, the Selwyn was designed by George Keister in tribute to early Italian Renaissance style. After years as one of Broadway’s most celebrated theatres, the Selwyn was transformed into a movie house following the Great Depression. Eventually, it fell into disrepair and was abandoned. In the 1980s, the Selwyn was acquired by the 42nd Street Development Project, an agency founded by the State’s Empire Development Corporation and the City’s Economic Development Corporation. The New 42nd Street Inc.—and independent, non-profit organization created by the City and the State, which has long-term responsibility for seven of the nine historic theatres on 42nd Street—entered into a long-term lease of the Selwyn with Roundabout Theatre Company on November 11, 1998. The renovation of the theatre was a true restoration, in which Roundabout’s architects paid scrupulous attention to restoring the Selwyn’s elegant historic interior.

The number of seats was reduced from 1,000 to 750, for greater comfort; a Penthouse Lobby was constructed, topped by a Patron’s Lounge overlooking the 43rd Street side of the theatre, with views out to Times Square; and a Penthouse Lobby deck provides the only outdoor gathering space of any theatre in the Times Square area. Elevators were added to ensure accessibility to all of Roundabout’s spaces. The new construction added 16,500 square feet and left the theatre’s original structure undisturbed.

Roundabout Theatre Company has been working to prioritize and actively incorporate anti-racism, equity, diversity, inclusion, and accountability throughout the institution. Read more about the company’s plans and progress at edi.roundabouttheatre.org.

Roundabout Theatre Company celebrates the power of theatre by spotlighting classics from the past, cultivating new works of the present, and educating minds for the future. A not-for-profit company, Roundabout fulfills that mission by producing familiar and lesser-known plays and musicals; discovering and supporting talented playwrights; reducing the barriers that can inhibit theatergoing; collaborating with a diverse team of artists; building educational experiences; and archiving more than five decades of production history.

Roundabout Theatre Company presents a variety of plays and musicals on its five stages: Broadway’s American Airlines Theatre, Studio 54, and Stephen Sondheim Theatre, and Off-Broadway’s Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, which houses the Laura Pels Theatre and Black Box Theatre.

American Airlines is the official airline of Roundabout Theatre Company. Roundabout productions are supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

Roundabout Theatre Company Board of Directors:

Katheryn Patterson Kempner, Chair; Thomas E. Tuft, First Vice Chair; Lawrence Kaplen, Vice Chair; Stephanie Kramer, Vice Chair; Johannes (Johs) Worsoe, Vice Chair; Chair, Executive Committee; Todd Haimes, President (in memoriam); Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Treasurer; Sylvia Golden, Secretary; Alec Baldwin, Jeffrey H. Barker, Cynthia Lewis Beck, Roxanne Bok, Matthew Broderick, Kevin Brown, Martha D. Brown, James J. Burke, Jr., Jim Carter, Michael T. Cohen, Colleen Cook, Douglas Durst, Samantha Rudin Earls, Susan R. Forst, A.M. (Mike) de Graffenried, Adam Gwon, Jeanne Hagerty, Abby F. Kohnstamm, Carole S. Krumland, LaChanze, Barry S. Lafer, Gess A. LeBlanc, Alan P. Mark, Ginger McKnight-Chavers, Iva Mills, Laura Pels (in memoriam), Charles Randolph-Wright, Marvin S. Rosen, Beryl Snyder, Mary C. Solomon, Jennifer B. Thomas, Troy Vincent, Sr., Cynthia C. Wainwright, Maxine Williams, Vanessa Williams, Dr. Jason Wingard.

Roundabout’s current and upcoming productions include: Primary Trust by Eboni Booth, directed by Knud Adams; The Refuge Plays by Nathan Alan Davis, directed by Patricia McGregor; Covenant by York Walker, directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene; I Need That by Theresa Rebeck, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel; Doubt: A Parable, by John Patrick Shanley, directed by Scott Ellis; Home by Samm-Art Williams, directed by Kenny Leon; and Jonah by Rachel Bonds.

Photi Credit: Teddy Wolff



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