Times Square Update: What's Open, What's Not

News   Times Square Update: What's Open, What's Not The Roundabout Theatre Company's Artistic Director Todd Haimes is not mincing words about the effect the Times Square construction accident is going to have on his company's business. "I think it's going to be devastating," he told Playbill On-Line. "Though it's hard to answer the question completely, because we don't know the timetable for the Kit Kat Klub yet."

The Roundabout Theatre Company's Artistic Director Todd Haimes is not mincing words about the effect the Times Square construction accident is going to have on his company's business. "I think it's going to be devastating," he told Playbill On-Line. "Though it's hard to answer the question completely, because we don't know the timetable for the Kit Kat Klub yet."

The July 21 calamity, which sent tons of metal scaffolding and debris hurtling down upon Broadway and 43rd Street, resulted in the closure of the lower Times Square, along with three of the Roundabout's four currently running shows -- You Never Can Tell, Side Man and the enormously popular Cabaret.

Broadway and Seventh Avenue in Times Square were reopened to traffic Monday morning, July 27, but West 43rd and 44th Streets between Broadway and the Avenue of the Americas remained closed. The Roundabout box office at 1530 Broadway reopens at noon July 27 for the first time since the collapse, but there was no word on whether performances would resume July 28. Log in to Playbill On-Line throughout the day for updates on the affected theatres.

* Cabaret, located in the Kit Kat Klub on W. 43rd Street, only yards from the disaster, forfeited an entire week of performances, suspending production through July 26. More performances may be canceled.

Roundabout spokesman Adrian Bryan-Brown said reports that Cabaret may close permanently are premature. "It's not even being contemplated at this point," he said, adding the same for the idea of moving the show to another venue. However, he said, "If the street were to be closed for an extended time, eventually the reality of that would have to be faced."

* You Never Can Tell and Side Man, housed in the Criterion Center on Broadway at 45th Street, have canceled shows through July 26, including both the Saturday matinee and evening performances. A 700-foot plastic curtain was in the process of being raised around the disaster site, July 26 and 27, which may allow performances of You Never Can Tell and Side Man only to resume the week of July 27. Playbill On-Line will post further information as soon as it becomes available.

Those seeking refunds or exchanges on tickets to Cabaret, You Never Can Tell and Side Man are instructed to call (212) 719-1300.

* Also canceled were the July 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 performances of the Off-Broadway musical Smoke on the Mountain, which is housed in the W. 44th Street Lamb's Theatre. No announcement has yet been made about peformances the week of July 27.

* Town Hall and Broadway's Belasco Theatre have also been closed to business, though the latter theatre is currently dark.

* All other Broadway theatres and the TKTS discount ticket booth remain open. But because some side streets around Times Square remain closed to vehicular traffic, theatregoers to any of the surrounding theatres should plan for delays.

Haimes said the cancellations have cost the theatre some $500,000 in refunded tickets (as of July 23); $280,000 of that loss coming from Cabaret, the Tony-winning revival which is arguable the hottest show in town. "The costs don't stop," with the performances, said Haimes. "We still have to pay the bills -- the utilities, the rentals." He said he couldn't recall a stoppage of operations as severe in the history of the Roundabout Theatre.

The New York Daily News reported that Roundabout's insurance policy may not cover the mounting losses from the closed shows. Bryan Brown said Roundabout has not yet approached the owners of the damaged building to recover costs because, "It's premature until we know how much it all will cost."

In addition to the dark theatres, Roundabout's administrative offices have been silent since Tuesday. Since then, Haimes has worked out of his home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. "I'd say it's put a crimp in the operations," he said, with a weary laugh. "We can't even get into our offices to get our subscription lists to inform the ticketholders. We've had to work from various offices around the city."

Staff and theatregoers aren't the only ones disappointed by the week's events. Mary Louise Wilson, who plays Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret, was to give her last performance on July 23. Instead, her run unexpectedly ended last Sunday. "She's devastated," observed Haimes. Also due to depart is the production's Tony-winning star, Natasha Richardson, who's last night is Aug. 2. Haimes said "she's really concerned that she won't be able to do her last performances."

Haimes believes the Roundabout can ride out the lost shows over the course of the season. For now, though, he'd just like things to get back to normal. "My concern is that it drags on, at the Kit Kat Club in particular."

Those seeking refunds or exchanges on tickets to Cabaret, You Never Can Tell and Side Man are instructed to call (212) 719-1300.

-- By Robert Simonson
and Robert Viagas

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