News of the cutbacks broke over the weekend on the ecoTheater blog. The New York Times reports that the decrease in budget is partly due to the impending closing of Broadway's Rent. The musical, developed at NYTW, has provided the Off-Broadway company with royalties for more than a decade.
The upcoming NYTW season has also been affected: in lieu of a fuller lineup, the venue will produce only three mainstage productions and the previously announced Encores!-like series featuring scaled-down revival concert versions of Off-Broadway musicals.
Following its current presentation of Elevator Repair Service's The Sound and the Fury (scheduled through May 18), NYTW will remain dark until September.
"Given the season that we're going to go forward with, this seemed the most fiscally responsible way to do it," interim managing director Fred Walker told the Times. The company expects to hire staff for the new season on a freelance, show-by-show basis. NYTW spokespersons could not be reached for further comment.
Michael Casselli, production manager of NYTW (who, along with several longtime employees, will be let go as of May 30), told ecoTheater that with the exception of one worker, the box-office staff has also all been dismissed. "The ground breaking ceremony for our LEED-certified scenic/costume shop is slated for May 14th, though now there is no staff to run it," Casselli told ecoTheater. "It is a huge slap in the face."
Previous plans to transform the company's acquired space at 72 East 4th Street into a new scenery, costume and prop workshop (with $2.5 million in capital funds awarded by the city and an anonymous donor for $1 million) will go forward, as it does not affect the operating budget.