When Broadway Shows Switch Theatres

When Broadway Shows Switch Theatres STAGE DIRECTIONS -- May 1998

STAGE DIRECTIONS -- May 1998

When the producers of Martin McDonagh's new play The Beauty Queen of Leenane were looking for a Broadway theatre, the intimate Walter Kerr seemed an obvious choice. Unfortunately, the Kerr was already booked -- Forever Tango had opened there for a limited run, but its popularity has kept audiences clamoring for tickets. The solution? Forever Tango relocated to the larger Marquis Theatre last month. "We know more about the way Forever Tango performs than we did when it opened," says one of its producers, Thomas Viertel. "We can use additional seating capacity, especially on weekends."

On occasion, a Broadway show will pack its bags and relocate to another theatre. Back in 1990 Les Miserables decamped from the Broadway Theatre to the Imperial, in order to make way for Miss Saigon, whose physical production was ideally suited to the Broadway's larger stage. Two recent Roundabout Theatre productions changed venues this season (they had to make room for subsequent Roundabout offerings): 1776 colonized the Gershwin Theatre, and Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge can now be seen at the Neil Simon.

Confusing? "Theatregoers are intelligent," says Viertel. "They know how to find the shows they want to see." When in doubt, call The Broadway Line, Broadway's toll-free information and ticket hotline at 1-888-411-BWAY, or (212) 302-4111 in the New York city area.

Of course, Broadway shows are constantly on the move outside New York, visiting over 145 cities across North America on tour each year. Next season's new tours include national companies of Forever Tango, Ragtime, Sunset Boulevard with Petula Clark, Titanic, Two Pianos Four Hands, and Victor/Victoria starring Toni Tenille. Theatres themselves generally stay put -- except when they don't. When New Yorkers turned out this winter to watch the Empire Theatre, a former burlesque house, being nudged 170 feet westward down 42nd Street to become part of a planned movie multiplex, they witnessed another step in the remarkable revitalization of the Theatre District as New York's family entertainment capital.

-- By Ben Pesne

STAGE DIRECTIONS is presented, courtesy of Playbill, by The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc., the national trade association for the commercial theatre industry.