Nederlanders trim costs at Chi house

In an effort to trim operating costs and reduce losses at the 2,000-seat Shubert Theater, the Nederlander Organization has dismissed general manager Ken Shaw and will no longer retain Margie Korshak Associates as official press rep.

Lou Raizin, a Nederlander vice president in the company’s Midwest office, will assume Shaw’s responsibilities for now. The Nederlanders also plan to save money by relieving Korshak of the theater’s marketing and advertising functions and taking them in-house.

Raizin said the Shubert was losing money and cost-cutting moves should makethe operation more efficient. Raizin also said a replacement for Shaw (general manager since the Nederlanders bought the Shubert two years ago) would probably be named but wouldn’t say when.

The Nederlanders’ latest moves come after two years of effort to revitalize the Shubert, perhaps the most prominent legit house in downtown Chicago.

In a much publicized transaction, the Nederlanders acquired it in 1991 from the Shubert Organization, which had all but abandoned the theater.

As the 1980s drew to a close, Shubert officials maintained the theater was too small for profitable bookings of expensive touring musicals. Shubert execs also complained about tepid box office figures for a handful of shows (mostly straight plays) in the late ’80s.

When they acquired the theater, the Nederlanders promised to keep the Shubert marquee lighted on a regular basis, and they have done so.

Unfortunately many of the shows that have played the Shubert under Nederlander ownership have performed poorly, among them “Once on This Island, “”An Evening With Peter Ustinov,””Lettice and Lovage” and “The World Goes ‘Round.” One of the better-grossing shows was the world premiere of the Neil Simon tuner “The Goodbye Girl,” which will close this weekend on Broadway at a considerable financial loss.

Adding to the Shubert’s woes is a rather thin lineup of productions announced for the upcoming season. The list includes a touring production of “Breaking Legs” in October, followed by “The Secret Garden” and “Evita.” The national tour of “Guys and Dolls” isn’t scheduled to hit the Shubert until late spring of 1994 .

Raizin said the Nederlanders have no plans to close the theater or sell the property.

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