Roundabout Theatre Company will change the name of its American Airlines Theatre to the Todd Haimes Theatre, in honor and memory of the company's late artistic director who passed away in April at the age of 66. Mr. Haimes, known for his tireless work transforming Roundabout from a 150-seat Off-Broadway company into one of the largest not-for-profit theatres in the country, led Roundabout for the last 39 years.
The name will be the venue's third, having opened in 1918 as the Selwyn. Under Mr. Haimes' leadership, Roundabout restored the theatre in the late 1990s after it had operated for decades as a movie theatre. The space would become the company's flagship home on Broadway, beginning with a 2000 revival of The Man Who Came to Dinner starring Nathan Lane. The theatre is currently hosting a non-Roundabout production, the Tony-nominated limited engagement of James Ijames' Pulitzer-winning Fat Ham. The theatre is now one of three within Roundabout's footprint on Broadway, alongside Studio 54 and the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
The name change will be unveiled and dedicated during Roundabout's 2023-2024 season, which is set to include Broadway bows for Theresa Rebeck's I Need That, John Patrick Shanley's Doubt, and Samm-Art Williams' Home. Dates have not yet been announced for these productions.
News of the change comes as Broadway has seen an unusual amount of theatres changing their names in recent months, though mostly in an effort to add representation of Black theatre artists to the roster of the Main Stem's 41 houses. The Shuberts rechristened their Cort Theatre as the James Earl Jones beginning with this season's Ohio State Murders, while the Nederlanders renamed the Brooks Atkinson for screen and stage icon Lena Horne in November 2022. The latter is currently home to SIX: The Musical.
"Last year, when the thought of naming the theatre after Todd arose, our instinct was to honor a visionary producer who had led Roundabout from a basement under a supermarket in Chelsea to an indelible force in the American theatre," says Roundabout Vice Chair Lawrence Kaplen, who led the charge to honor Haimes along with fellow Board members Katheryn Patterson Kempner and Thomas E. Tuft through leadership gifts to the Todd Haimes Fund for Artistic Excellence. "I am proud to be a member of a board of directors, which is united in their commitment to preserve Todd’s legacy with this distinct honor."
Additional support for the renaming was provided by Jeanne and Tom Hagerty, Sylvia Golden, The Kaplen Brothers Fund, The Kaplen Foundation, Stephanie and Ron Kramer, Mary C. Solomon, and Fran and Paul Turner.
Beyond his work with Roundabout, Mr. Haimes was the former president of the Board of The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York, and a member of the Tony Awards Administration Committee and The Broadway League Executive Committee. Marquees on Broadway dimmed their lights June 1 in his memory, one of the American theatre's highest honors. Read Mr. Haimes' complete Playbill obituary here.