In a letter to Helen Hayes subscribers, Executive Director Mary S. Oleniczak explained the reasons for the change in shows: “Despite the rave reviews given our last two shows by the New York Times, ticket sales have declined to an historical low. Contributions, too, have been affected as people just do not have the discretionary income they had even 18 months ago. Simple logic dictates that we take the same measures as any other business — and that is to cut costs. Our first move has been to cut staff salaries. The other major change we find ourselves forced to make is to replace Evita. I know how disappointed many of you will be especially since we had to do the same thing last year in the wake of September 11. Evita is a big expensive show. If we went ahead and produced a show of this magnitude at this time, it would endanger the entire organization. And that would be a risk our friends and subscribers would not want us to take.” Casting had yet to be announced for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita, the pop opera that made stars of Elaine Paige (in London’s West End), Mandy Patinkin (on Broadway) and Patti LuPone (on Broadway). Swango, which combines Tango with West Coast Swing, features a new book by Tony Award winner Rupert Holmes that explores a love story between two dancers from different worlds. Choreographers are Robert Royston and Mariela Franganillo, who have worked on, respectively, Swing! and Forever Tango.
Those who had already purchased tickets to Evita have several options, according to Oleniczak’s letter:
“1. You can attend Swango.
2. You can apply the amount of your tickets to another show at the HHTC.
3. You can apply the cost of the Evita tickets to next year’s subscription.
4. You can make a donation to the HHTC in the amount of your tickets.
5. You can have a full refund for your Evita tickets.”
Swango will play the Helen Hayes June 7-22. Tickets, priced between $30 and $40, are available by calling (845) 358-6333 or by visiting the theatre’s website at www.hhtco.org. The Helen Hayes Theatre Company is located at 123 Main Street in Nyack, NY.