Roundabout route

Long-term lease inked with American Place

The Roundabout Theater Co. is assuming a long-term lease of the American Place Theater at 111 W. 46th St. for its Off Broadway productions. The deal ensures that the company once again has both a Broadway and an Off Broadway venue in midtown Manhattan.

Formerly the Selwyn, the Roundabout’s new American Airlines Theater at 227 W. 42nd St. opened last month with a revival of the Kaufman & Hart classic “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” starring Nathan Lane and Jean Smart. It seats 750, while the newly acquired American Place will seat approximately 380.

New name

Todd Haimes, Roundabout’s artistic director, announced that the company’s new Off Broadway space will be named the Laura Pels Theater and would be home to productions of classic plays as well as new works by established playwrights. At the Roundabout’s former Times Square home in the Criterion Center, the Off Broadway space was also named after Pels.

Pels is president of the Laura Pels Foundation and the Laura Pels Intl. Foundation, which promote theater productions and organizations in New York City and abroad. A long-standing member of Roundabout’s board of directors, she is also owner of the Theatre de l’Atelier in Paris.

“The American Place is ideal for a couple of reasons,” Haimes said. “The theater itself is extraordinary because of its thrust and the building’s unusually high ceilings. Also, we wanted our Off Broadway theater to be as close as possible physically to the American Airlines Theater, for our subscribers and our staff.” Roundabout’s headquarters are also in midtown, on West 39th Street.

Rehab planned

The company’s theater lease begins in November 2002, with an extensive physical overhaul of the space to be finished by spring the following year.

Haimes said he believes the renovation will cost “close to $2 million.” The revamp will include a complete cosmetic overhaul as well as replacement of the existing heating and air-conditioning systems.

The venue includes three theaters, two of which are 74-seaters. “One of those theaters will be used for lobby space,” Haimes said. “The other will continue to be used as a black-box theater.”

Suite includes Gramercy

For the past two seasons, the company has staged its Off Broadway productions at the Gramercy Theater, which is owned by Chase Mishkin, Leonard Soloway and Steven Levy, producers of “Dame Edna: The Royal Tour” and “Waiting in the Wings,” among other shows. Roundabout will continue to lease that East 23rd Street space through 2002. Neil Simon’s “Hotel Suite” is the company’s current offering at the Gramercy.

“We have been searching for a permanent Off Broadway venue since our lease at the Criterion Center was cut short,” Haimes said. “We have been fortunate that the Gramercy Theater has been a perfect home-away-from-home for us during this transition.”

The Roundabout lost its lease because the landlord repossessed the building for redevelopment in the booming Times Square real estate market. The owner of the Criterion, Charles B. Moss Jr., repossessed by invoking an escape clause in the Roundabout contract.

The theater company, which is also repped on Broadway by “Cabaret” at Studio 54, is now looking for another theater this season for its revival of the 1971 Stephen Sondheim musical “Follies,” which is to open nextspring. Not including the “Cabaret” production, the Roundabout’s annual budget is $20 million. In the not-for-profit-theater world, only that of Lincoln Center Theater looms larger.

More Legit

  • the way she spoke review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Way She Spoke' With Kate del Castillo

    Since the 1990s, scores of women in Juarez, Mexico have been mutilated, raped, and murdered at such a rate that some have called it an epidemic of femicide—killing women and girls solely because they are women. Isaac Gomez’s play “the way she spoke,” produced Off Broadway by Audible and starring Kate del Castillo, confronts the [...]


    Brian Cox Playing LBJ in Broadway Run of 'The Great Society'

    Brian Cox will play President Lyndon Johnson in the Broadway run of “The Great Society,” playwright Robert Schenkkan’s follow-up to “All the Way.” The role of Johnson, a crude, but visionary politician who used the office of the presidency to pass landmark civil rights legislation and social programs, was originally played by Bryan Cranston in [...]

  • Paul McCartney Has Penned Score for

    Paul McCartney Has Been Secretly Writing an 'It's a Wonderful Life' Musical

    The pop superstar who once released a movie and album called “Give My Regards to Broad Street” really does have designs on Broadway, after all. It was revealed Wednesday that Paul McCartney has already written a song score for a stage musical adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The [...]

  • The Night of the Iguana review

    West End Review: 'The Night of the Iguana' With Clive Owen

    If Tennessee Williams is the poet laureate of lost souls, none of his characters as are off-grid as the restless travelers trying to make it through his little-seen 1961 play, “The Night of the Iguana.” Holed up in a remote Mexican homestay, its ragtag itinerants live hand-to-mouth, day by day, as they seek refuge from [...]

  • Moulin Rouge Broadway

    Listen: The Special Sauce in Broadway's 'Moulin Rouge!'

    There are songs in the new Broadway version of “Moulin Rouge!” that weren’t in Baz Luhrmann’s hit movie — but you probably know them anyway. They’re popular tunes by superstars like Beyoncé, Adele and Rihanna, released after the 2001 movie came out, and they’ll probably unleash a flood of memories and associations in every audience [...]

  • Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac

    Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac to Star in Anton Chekhov's 'Three Sisters' Adaptation

    Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac are taking on an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” for New York Theatre Workshop in Manhattan. The company announced on Tuesday that they will feature two final performances to round out the 2019 to 2020 season, including the Chekhov play. “Three Sisters” will be directed by Tony award-winning Sam [...]

  • montreal just for laughs Comedy Festival

    Montreal's Just for Laughs Festival Is the 'Coachella of Comedy'

    Every summer, Montreal becomes the epicenter of the comedy world as the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival takes over the Canadian city. Now in its 37th year, the mindboggling scale of the festival is there in the numbers: more than 1,600 artists from across the globe (speaking English, French and other languages) performing 250 shows [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content