The Playgoer: Roundabout Rentals?

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Roundabout Rentals?

Michael Riedel today speculates that Roundabout may be giving up on original content even more than their usual "imports" have indicated. Might they have to simply rent out spaces to the highest bidder to keep things going? Have they been doing that already?

The Roundabout is in serious trouble, financially and artistically. The theater spent a ton of money fixing up Henry Miller's Theatre for "Birdie," and now it has to find a tenant for the spring to pay the bills. The Roundabout is already renting out Studio 54 to Carrie Fisher and her show "Wishful Drinking."

Which means the company is basically becoming Broadway's fourth landlord, after the Shuberts, the Nederlanders and Jujamcyn. I wonder if the nonprofit Roundabout, with its tax breaks and subsidies, can undercut its for-profit competitors on rental deals.

If I were one of the big three, I'd be asking some pretty pointed questions.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Shuberts are a nonprofit (note the Shubert Foundation)

Anonymous said...

The Shuberts are no more a non-profit than the Ford Motor Company (note the Ford Foundation) or Citibank (note the Citibank Foundation). They're connected but the Shuberts Organization is a commercial producer and theatre manager.

isaac butler said...

i would really like someone to make the case that the roundabout going out of business would be a bad thing beyond the salaries they pay. haven't read a convincing one yet.

Anonymous said...

The Shubert Foundation has a 49 million investment in the Shubert Organization - check out the foundation's 990

Anonymous said...

and to finish the last comment - if you read the 990 the investment by the shubert foundation is in an entity that they control (the shubert organization)

Anonymous said...

ie TAX LOOPHOLE!

CultureFuture said...

From my understanding of tax law (as someone who has read a lot of tax forms, but not as any sort of tax expert) is that rentals (maybe just to for-profit ventures) might have to be filed under "unrelated business," the way that concessions are. If it reaches a certain percentage of their business, it could jeopardize their not-for-profit status.

Again, that's only if renting out their theater is considered "unrelated business," which it sounds like us laymen agree that it is but I don't know the official tax perspective on.