History

ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY IS INCORPORATED

September 18, 1965

Roundabout Theatre Company begins producing plays at a 150-seat theatre in a converted supermarket basement, and will become the nation’s most influential not-for-profit theatre company, as well as one of New York City’s leading cultural institutions. Over the next 50 years, Roundabout will go on to operate five theatres on and off-Broadway.

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Roundabout Theatre Company Produces its First Production

October 1966

Roundabout Theatre Company begins its premiere season with Strindberg’s The Father, announcing the company’s mission to produce classic plays.

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Roundabout Commits to Staging Classic Revivals in Repertory

1967-1970

Standout productions include Waiting for Lefty, Journey’s End, Candida and many others. After garnering positive critical reviews, Roundabout quickly gains a name for itself as an up and coming theatre company to watch.

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Roundabout Gains New Subscribers and Moves to a New Theatre

1971-1975

By 1973, Roundabout has more than 14,000 subscribers and not enough seating at the 26th Street Theatre, prompting the company to seek out a second, larger venue to accommodate its audiences. In 1974, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons is staged at Roundabout’s new venue, Stage One, at the former RKO Cinema on 23rd St. Other productions include Ferenc Molnár’s The Play’s the Thing, Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts, and Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull.

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Dance and Musical Productions are Introduced Alongside Classic Plays

1976-1978

Throughout the late 1970s, Roundabout produces classic plays by Williams, Chekhov, Shaw, and Shakespeare, while exploring new programming. Harold Rome’s musical revue, Pins and Needles, runs for nearly a year at Stage One (1977-78). During this time, Roundabout also pairs with TAG Foundation to host the Dance Umbrella at Stage One, producing modern dance with the world’s best modern dancers and choreographers.

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Roundabout Continues to Mount Classics by the World’s Great Playwrights

1979-1983

Roundabout’s commitment to classics continues with William Inge’s The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Ivan Turgenev’s A Month in the Country (with a young Boyd Gaines, who will go on to appear in six more Roundabout productions), Athol Fugard’s Blood Knot and John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, starring Malcolm McDowell and directed by director Lindsay Anderson.

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Photo by: Martha Swope

TODD HAIMES JOINS ROUNDABOUT AS MANAGING DIRECTOR

1983

Under Todd Haimes’s guidance, Roundabout continues its mission to produce five classic plays each season. Harold Pinter’s Old Times, starring Anthony Hopkins, Jane Alexander and Marsha Mason, opens in December, and is an example of Roundabout’s high-caliber productions.

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Photo by: Martha Swope

Roundabout Moves from Chelsea to the Union Square Theatre

1984

The Union Square Theatre provides Roundabout with much needed room and begins the gradual transformation from “basement” theatre to Broadway theatre.

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Photo by: Jack Smith

ROUNDABOUT NAMES NEW HOME AT TAMMANY HALL FOR LEAD DONOR

1984

After joining the Board in 1979, Chris Yegen serves as Chairman from 1982 to 1994, and again from 1997 to 1999. Roundabout’s planned giving society will be named in recognition of the extraordinary leadership Yegen and his family provide in the early 1980s. Yegen will go on to be elected Chairman Emeritus in 2008 and remains a dedicated Roundabout supporter and audience member.

Roundabout Celebrates its 20th Anniversary Season

1985

Peter Nichols’s play, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, starring Stockard Channing and Jim Dale, is a highlight of the twentieth anniversary season and wins a Tony Award® for Best Revival of a Play. The critically acclaimed play is the third Roundabout production to transfer to Broadway.

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Photo by: Martha Swope

Todd Haimes is Appointed Artistic Director

1989

Gene Feist retires and the Board appoints Todd Haimes as Artistic Director, marking the next stage in his extraordinary career at Roundabout, one that would transform a fledgling off-Broadway not-for-profit into one of the most influential and dynamic cultural institutions in the country.

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Photographer unknown

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JULIA LEVY JOINS ROUNDABOUT

1990

Julia Levy joins the company as Development Director and launches the first of five major campaigns to support the company’s move to Broadway, as well as Roundabout’s expansion to five stages in four theatres.  

Roundabout Becomes NYC’s Second Not-for-Profit Theatre on Broadway

October 27, 1991

Roundabout opens its first season on Broadway with Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming at the Criterion Center on 45th Street. In that first season, all five productions that are produced receive Tony Award® nominations.

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Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie Opens on Broadway

January 14, 1993

The production begins an extraordinary relationship with star Natasha Richardson, who would return to Roundabout in Cabaret and A Streetcar Named Desire. Anna Christie goes on to win the Tony Award® for Best Revival of a Play. The production was directed by Tony Award winner David Leveaux and co-starred Theatre World Award winner Liam Neeson.

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Roundabout Produces its First Broadway Musical, She Loves Me

June 10, 1993

The acclaimed production stars Tony Award-winner Boyd Gaines and Judy Kuhn, and it begins Roundabout’s relationship with Adams Associate Artistic Director Scott Ellis.

Actors Judy Kuhn & Boyd Gaines in a scene fr. the Roundabout Theater Co.'s production of the musical "She Loves Me".

Photo by: Carol Rosegg

Roundabout Institutes its Associate Artist Program

1995

Roundabout establishes the Associate Artist program, inaugurated with Scott Ellis, which goes on to include Bill Irwin, Joe Mantello, Kathleen Marshall, and other esteemed artists.

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Photo by: Joan Marcus

Roundabout Creates its New Play Initiative

1995

The New Play Initiative launches in an effort to cultivate new work by gifted playwrights at all stages of their careers. To date, the program has commissioned 36 playwrights, conducted developmental readings and workshops of over 146 new works, produced 10 Roundabout Underground productions, 60 productions of new works, and employed over 5,000 artists. Seen here, Jason Robards and Blythe Danner in the debut of Harold Pinter’s MOONLIGHT.

Jason Robards and Blythe Danner in Harold Pinter's MOONLIGHT.

The Laura Pels Theatre Opens Off-Broadway

1995

Further expanding the company’s mission to include new plays by established writers, the first season features new plays by Harold Pinter and Brian Friel and boasts Jason Robards as an artist-in-residence.

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Education at Roundabout Program is Introduced

1996

Education at Roundabout uses theatre to enhance teacher practice and deepen student learning in classrooms across all five boroughs of New York City. Today, Teaching Artists spend over 7,000 hours in the classroom annually, serving over 18,000 students.

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A View from the Bridge Opens on Broadway

December 14, 1997

Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge opens on Broadway starring Anthony LaPaglia, Allison Janney and Brittany Murphy, directed by Michael Mayer. The production goes on to win Tony Awards® for Best Revival of a Play and Best Actor for LaPaglia.

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Photo by: Joan Marcus

Cabaret Opens on Broadway

March 19, 1998

Roundabout begins performances of Cabaret, a gritty revival directed by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall. The production goes on to run for six years, earning 4 Tony Awards®; ultimately it becomes the 22nd longest running musical in Broadway history and Roundabout’s most successful production to date.

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Photo by: Joan Marcus

Side Man Opens on Broadway

June 25, 1998

Warren Leight’s play opens to great acclaim. It goes on to win Tony Awards® for Best Play and Best Featured Actor for Frank Wood, the Drama Desk Award for Best Director for Michael Mayer and the Theatre World Award for Edie Falco.

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Photo by: Carol Rosegg

Roundabout Opens its First Permanent Home

June 27, 2000

Selected by the City and State of New York and supported by the public and private sector, Roundabout invests 24 million dollars to renovate and then open its first permanent home at the American Airlines Theatre as part of the New 42nd Redevelopment project. Its first production, The Man Who Came to Dinner, is broadcast live on PBS.

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Photo by: Joan Marcus

Roundabout Marks its 35th Anniversary

2002

Roundabout creates the Jason Robards Award for Excellence in Theatre. Robards served on Roundabout’s board until he passed away in December 2000. The Jason Robards Award, appropriately, goes to his one-time co-star, and fellow Board member, Christopher Plummer. Subsequent recipients will include Stephen Sondheim, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Rob Marshall, Alec Baldwin, and Helen Mirren.

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Photo by: Carol Rosegg

Studio 54 Becomes Roundabout’s Second Permanent Home

2003 

Thanks to the City of New York for providing the down payment to purchase this legendary theatre in 2003 after years of producing Cabaret in Studio 54. The City would invest more than $10 Million over the years to help turn this historic space into a state-of-the-art theatre. This purchase solidifies the company’s mission to offer artists a permanent home for classic plays and musicals and restores Studio 54 to its intended use as a theatre.

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Nine Opens on Broadway

April 10, 2003

The star-studded revival of Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit’s Nine features Antonio Banderas, Chita Rivera, Tony Award®-winner Jane Krakowski and Laura Benanti. The production would also go on to win the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical.

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Photo by: Joan Marcus

Roundabout Opens its First Public High School

2003

In partnership with the New York City Department of Education, Roundabout opens its first public high school, Bronx Theatre High School. The partnership is designed to integrate theatrical teaching techniques into all areas of the curriculum.

Bronx Theatre High School Graduation at the American Airlines Theatre on Monday, June 28, 2010.

Bronx Theatre High School Graduation at the American Airlines Theatre on Monday, June 28, 2010

The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre Opens

April 11, 2004

Thanks to an extraordinary lead gift from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Roundabout’s new off-Broadway Laura Pels Theatre opens with an acclaimed premiere of Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel starring Viola Davis and Corey Stoll, directed by Daniel Sullivan.

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Photo by: Joan Marcus

Assassins Opens On Broadway

April 22, 2004

The first Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins goes on to win 6 Tony Awards®, including Best Musical Revival, Best Director of a Musical (Joe Mantello), and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Michael Cerveris).

Neil Patrick Harris in The Roundabout Theatre's production of Assassins.

Photo by: Joan Marcus

Twelve Angry Men Opens on Broadway

October 28, 2004

The acclaimed production features two of Roundabout’s longtime artists – Boyd Gaines and Philip Bosco, and is directed by Scott Ellis. The show is the longest running production at the American Airlines Theatre, and after seven extensions and 32 weeks on Broadway, the production launches a successful two year national tour.

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Photo by: Joan Marcus

The Pajama Game Opens on Broadway

February 23, 2006

The hit production staring Harry Connick, Jr. and Kelli O’Hara opens to rave reviews and will go on to earn 10 Tony Award® nominations, winning for Best Revival of a Musical.

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Photo by: Joan Marcus

Roundabout Underground Launches at the Black Box Theatre

October 29, 2007

With leadership support from Jodi and Dan Glucksman, Roundabout expands its New Play Initiative by opening Roundabout Underground with Stephen Karam’s Speech & Debate. The program fosters new works by emerging playwrights who have gone on to be produced on and off-Broadway and in over 100 theatres across the country and internationally.

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Photo by: Joan Marcus

Roundabout Acquires Third Broadway House

September 2009

The Bryant Park Corporation, the Durst Organization and Bank of America make Roundabout an offer they can’t refuse: to manage the Henry Miller’s Theatre. The newly restored theatre reopens as the first LEED-certified Broadway Theatre, raising the bar for environmentally sustainable design and construction of performing arts venues. The theatre was the first venue to stage Roundabout’s acclaimed revival of Cabaret in 1997 and re-opens with Bye Bye Birdie.

HENRY MILLER’S THEATRE IS RENAMED THE STEPHEN SONDHEIM THEATRE

September 15, 2010

Perry and Marty Granoff lead the campaign to rename the Henry Miller’s Theatre in honor of their dear friend, composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Over the years Roundabout has produced numerous works by Sondheim, including Assassins, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Company, Follies, and Sondheim on Sondheim.

Anything Goes Opens on Broadway

April 7, 2011

The hit production of Cole Porter’s classic will go on to win 3 Tony Awards®, including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Actress for Sutton Foster and Best Choreography for Kathleen Marshall.

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Photo by: Joan Marcus

The Importance of Being Earnest Screens in HD in Movie Theatres

June 2, 2011

Roundabout, L.A. Theatre Works, and BY Experience collaborate to provide audiences an opportunity to see the acclaimed production in high definition, making The Importance of Being Earnest the first Broadway play to be screened at movie theatres across the world.

Roundabout Theatre Company’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Pictured (l-r): Brian Bedford, Charlotte Parry

Photo by: Joan Marcus

Roundabout Kicks Off its 50th Anniversary Season

September 10, 2015

Keira Knightley (Thérèse Raquin), Clive Owen (Old Times) and other stars from Roundabout’s 50th Anniversary Season celebrate the momentous year with a cocktail party at the American Airlines Theatre.

50th Anniversary Campaign

February 29, 2016

50th Anniversary Spring Gala honoring six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald and Roundabout Chairman of the Board Tom Tuft. At the event, Alec Baldwin announced that Roundabout had embarked on a $50 million Anniversary Campaign to ensure its future and that $32 million had already been raised towards the goal.RTC014-highlights

Roundabout Concludes 2015-2016 Season

June 13, 2016

At the conclusion of the awards season for 2015-2016, Roundabout took home 37 awards including 7 Tony Awards®, 9 Drama Desk Awards, 9 Outer Critics Circle Awards, 1 Drama League Award, and 3 Lucille Lortel Awards.

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Photo by Joan Marcus

 

She Loves Me Livestream

June 30, 2016

She Loves Me became the first Broadway musical to be streamed live via BroadwayHD.

Photo by: Joan Marcus