The Big Easy's Big News: Bryan Batt Among Boosters Behind Reopening of Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans

By Peter Filichia
16 Feb 2013


A view of the Le Petit Theatre courtyard.

"It's a jewel," says Batt. "Two buildings have a lovely courtyard between them. And while we simply could have sold the buildings and relocated, we didn't want to lose that rich history as well as our beautiful home."

Nevertheless, saving this Big Easy landmark wouldn't be easy. Still, for Batt, a New Orleans native with plenty of civic pride, it had to happen. "Le Petit is where I cut my teeth with some of my early roles," he says. "In 1982, I was in the chorus of Gypsy and soon after I had my first lead as Jamie Lockhart in The Robber Bridegroom."

Now he's well-known from his role as Salvatore Romano in TV's "Mad Men" and on Broadway for performances in nine musicals. A good part of Batt's life since 2003, however, has centered on Hazelnut, a gift and home accessory boutique that he and his life partner Tom Cianfichi founded on Magazine Street in New Orleans, five miles away from Le Petit.

The two met in 1989 while doing Evita at the Carousel Dinner Theatre in Akron and have been together ever since. "Tom and I love nice things," Batt says. "So we wanted to open a store that featured our passion for home decor. There is an entire world outside of show business, and you can follow more than one dream."