Broadway's Biltmore Theatre is about to be sold or leased for non-theatre uses, the New York Post reported.The 71-year-old theatre whose most famous tenants included "Hair" and "Barefoot in the Park," is being put on the block by owners Stewart F. Lane and James Nederlander, who say they were unable to extract concessions from theatre unions that would have allowed them to operate profitably.
With about 800 seats, the theatre is an uncomfortable size: too big for intimate dramas, too small to house expensive musicals. The theatre has been closed for more than a decade, and has been damaged by fire and a leaking roof. Nevertheless, the interior has been designated a New York landmark, which also makes needed renovations more difficult.
The Post story, which seems to put the ball in the unions' court but does not quote a union source, speculated that the theatre may be turned into a nightclub.