Roundabout Goes Dark on Broadway This Spring

Roundabout will produce THE WANDERERS and PRIMARY TRUST off-Broadway during this time. Industry Trends appears every Monday in BroadwayWorld's Industry Pro Newsletter.

By: Dec. 12, 2022
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Roundabout Goes Dark on Broadway This Spring

As discussed in last week's column, times are tough on Broadway. Since that column, KPOP and AIN'T NO MO' announced closings, leading to outcries on social media and several articles. Slipping under the radar this past week was the news that Roundabout Theatre Company would not be presenting a winter/spring offering at the American Airlines Theatre for the first time (pandemic excluded) since the space opened in 2000. In fact, Roundabout will not be presenting anything at its three Broadway houses this spring.

It is no surprise Roundabout is not occupying the Sondheim, which it leases from the Durst Organization, and is currently home to & JULIET. Since that theater (then Henry Miller's Theatre) reopened in 2009 with Roundabout's BYE BYE BIRDIE, Roundabout has only presented ANYTHING GOES there. The theater has otherwise been a rental house.

Roundabout has presented more at Studio 54, which is the only Broadway house it owns, but Studio 54 has also been frequently used for rental income. This winter/spring it will house the commercial production PICTURES FROM HOME.

It is the American Airlines, which opened in 2000, that has never been rented for a full commercial run. The American Airlines -- which is owned by the city and state governments and leased to the non-profit New 42nd Street which leases it to the Roundabout -- is considered Roundabout's premier theater. So, when FAT HAM was announced for the theater, the excitement over that transfer was mixed with shock that Roundabout would not be presenting a show there. Nothing had been announced for the theater (current resident 1776 is closing January 8), which was perplexing. But the belief was always that something Roundabout-related would come -- a one-person show, a small play, something.

The last Roundabout financials available publicly are for the period ending August 30, 2021, so it is impossible to know the current financial state of the non-profit. 1776, a costly musical co-produced with A.R.T., has not been a hit, grossing less than $300,000 per week all last month. It is less clear how Roundabout's off-Broadway offerings are doing, but it is a hard time for theater in general.

In a provided statement, Roundabout Artistic Director/CEO Todd Haimes explained Roundabout had a production planned for the American Airlines, but it fell apart before it was announced, leaving the space free for possible rental. Alluding to industry troubles, Haimes further stated:

"We have been observing that there is a great number of new Broadway shows vying for a very gradually recovering core audience in New York. It seems prudent to balance the quantity of our new productions with our capacity to offer our spaces, and our audience-base, to great artistic partners who have remarkable projects that need theatres. I'm pleased that both PICTURES FROM HOME at Studio 54 and FAT HAM fit into our mission. I expect both productions will appeal to our subscribers and we are pleased to be able to offer them tickets to both productions.

Offering our spaces when we are not producing also continues employment for the staff who works at the particular theatre. This is important to me since we have some of the best house and crew members working at our theatres."

Roundabout is still presenting its two planned off-Broadway works, THE WANDERERS and PRIMARY TRUST, this spring, as well as the national tour of its acclaimed A SOLDIER'S PLAY revival.