The Playgoer: Roundabout finds a tenant

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Roundabout finds a tenant

Roundabout has a taker! The new "tenant" of their multimillion renovated Henry Miller's Theatre is...Dame Edna! In his/her new Broadway collaboration with Michael Feinstein, Chris Durang, and Jerry Zacks.

Saith Variety:

With the "All About Me" move, Roundabout seemingly takes a step toward becoming a Broadway landlord, joining the ranks of theater owners including the Shubert Org, the Nederlander Org and Jujamcyn.

[Roundabout AD Todd] Haimes and company said they prefer to consider themselves programmers of the space.
Now it's true that nonprofit companies in this town have rented out their spaces to both other nonprofit and for-profit productions. (e.g. CSC, Signature, Playwrights Horizons, Atlantic)

But none of them have been able to do it in a Broadway house, which is what really now lets the Roundabout "compete" with those big boys--in the real estate business, at least.

There was some discussion of this in earlier comments on this topic, but can anyone further clarify what restrictions there may be on nonprofit institutions renting to commercial tenants?

By the way, it's worth pointing out in this context that the new Henry Miller's Theatre really is new. The outside facade and name were preserved in accordance with landmark provisions. But the inside was totally gutted. (With the backing of Bank of America, who included the space in their massive--and now probably bankrupt 42nd St. office tower.) So it is not the same theatre you might have seen Cabaret or Urinetown ten years ago. You now have to go several floors down into bedrock to sit in the orchestra, which means it takes forever to get in and out. Otherwise it certainly seems very nice, and understandably might become a hot rental property--should that become its main way of generating revenue for one of NYC's biggest nonprofit cultural institutions.

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