Jujamcyn Theatres will renovate Broadway's St. James Theatre following the Aug. 30 closing of the musical High Society. Jujamcyn President Rocco Landesman said the redo is all but certain, and will begin after the Labor Day weekend and last for several months.
Landesman told Playbill On-Line a November-December booking of the St. James was still a possibility, but unlikely. "It's rare we have a window of opportunity this long," he said. "We're going to go for it."
The St. James is the last of Jujamcyn's five Broadway theatres to receive a facelift. The theatre owners' four other houses are the Walter Kerr, Martin Beck, Eugene O'Neill and Virginia. Fran Russo, author of the previous four renovations, will also do the St. James. Going by seating capacity, the 1623-seat St. James is the seventh-largest Broadway theatre, and is used almost exclusively for musicals.
The redo will take four to five months, with a reopening sometime in early 1999. Frank Wildhorn's new musical Civil War is scheduled to open at the theatre on Apr. 22, 1999.
The St. James opened as Erlanger's on Sept. 26, 1927. Its name was changed to St. James in 1932. Considered Rodgers & Hammerstein's favorite theatre, it was home to their Oklahoma!, The King and I and Flower Drum Song. Other hits at the St. James: Where's Charley?, Li'l Abner, Hello, Dolly!, Two Gentlemen of Verona, On the Twentieth Century, Barnum, My One and Only and The Who's Tommy. Just before High Society, the theatre hosted the long-running revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum which starred Nathan Lane and, later, Whoopi Goldberg.