NEW YORK – Todd Haimes, who led the Roundabout Theatre Company from an off-off-Broadway company teetering on the edge of bankruptcy into a major theatrical force with works on five stages — including three Broadway theaters — and dozens of Tony Awards, has died. He was 66.
Haimes, the artistic director and CEO of the nonprofit Roundabout, died in New York City on Wednesday due to complications from cancer, according to Matt Polk, his longtime friend and spokesperson.
“Rest in peace, Mr. Haimes,” actor Mark Ruffalo, who starred in a Roundabout revival of “The Price” on Broadway in 2017, wrote on Twitter. “You were a wonderful and kind soul. Thank you for the chance to work at the Roundabout with you. You will be missed on Broadway, the theater world, and the world at large.”
Broadway shows under Haimes' 39-year tenure include “The Real Thing” with Ewan McGregor, “A Soldier's Play" with David Alan Grier and “On the Twentieth Century” with Kristin Chenoweth. Other triumphs include ”The Humans," the 2011 revival of “Anything Goes” with Sutton Foster and “Nine” with Jane Krakowski.
Roundabout had a long, successful history with “Cabaret,” reviving it in 1998 with the Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall-directed version starring Alan Cumming and Natasha Richardson and then reviving it again with Cumming and Sienna Miller in 2014.
During Haimes’s tenure, Roundabout shows won 34 Tony Awards, 58 Drama Desk Awards, 73 Outer Critics Circle Awards, 21 Lucille Lortel Awards and 14 Obie Awards.
Tributes on Twitter came from such theater royalty as Chenoweth, Jason Alexander and Audra McDonald. Cynthia Nixon posted a photo of her and Haimes with the caption: “Todd paired the world’s sweetest demeanor with a killer sense of what to produce and how to produce it. I’m awed by all you built for us but can’t imagine Broadway without you here as part of it.”
Haimes was a Yale MBA who was appointed Roundabout executive director in 1983 to a company that had been in Chapter 11 since 1977 and was evicted from its space on 23rd Street. By 1991, Haimes had Roundabout operating its own venue at its first Broadway home at the now-closed Criterion Center at Broadway and 45th Street.
The company's early successes include “Anna Christie” starring Liam Neeson and Richardson, and a revival of “She Loves Me,” both in 1993. He instituted the Early Curtain series in 1993, which saw 7 p.m. openings to attract the after-work crowd.
Roundabout grew to encompass the American Airlines Theatre, the Studio 54 theater, the Stephen Sondheim Theatre and the off-Broadway Laura Pels Theatre and another black box in the basement of the Pels.
His leadership included outreach and education programs and also provided a home to emerging playwrights as part of the Roundabout Underground program. Alumni include Stephen Karam, Lindsey Ferrentino, Steven Levenson, Joshua Harmon and Ming Peiffer.
“He changed my life, and the lives of countless others in New York theater. We all mourn his loss,” wrote Warren Leight, whose play “Side Man” made it to Broadway in 1998 thanks to Haimes.
He is survived by his wife, Jeanne-Marie Haimes; a daughter, Hilary Haimes; a son, Andrew Haimes; two stepdaughters and three grandsons and a granddaughter.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits