The Wilbur Theater, Broadway tryout house that has been most times dark in recent seasons, may be fated for conversion to a cabaret or even dinner theater as a new owner’s plans to link it with its Tremont Street neighbor, the Wang Center for the Performing Arts, have been nipped in the bud.
Louis A. Delpidio, president of Tremont Entertainment Enterprises and the Wilbur’s new owner, never even got to the discussion stage with Wang president Josiah A. Spaulding Jr.
Instead, Delpidio’s proposal for a long-term Wang lease of the Wilbur was found financially unacceptable by the Wang’s legal counsel.
“Negotiations with the Wang never started,” Delpidio says. “We now plan to make the Wilbur a multi-use facility that may do cabaret, dinner theater or even weddings,” among other uses. Asked if he might submit a revised proposal to the Wang, Delpidio uttered a short, unembroidered “Nope.”
Representatives for the non-profit Wang have previously expressed interest in leasing the 1,200-seat Wilbur for presentations too small for the 3,600-seat Wang, a scenario that might have gotten the Wilbur finally relit.
Neither Spaulding nor the Wang’s lawyers would make any further public statements on the subject.
Prior to becoming the owner of the Wilbur several weeks ago, Delpidio was the lessee of the Club Rex in the theater’s basement. Its current attraction is a production of “Joey & Maria’s Comedy Wedding.”
In 1988, when the Wilbur was owned by Charles Parker and the late Richard Bader, experiments were made with tables-and-chairs cabaret seating in the theater itself, but they were unsuccessful and the original theater seating was reinstated.