Todd Haimes, the highly respected artistic director and CEO of Roundabout Theater Company, has passed away. He was 66.
Haimes died in New York City from complications of osteosarcoma, his friend Matt Polk confirmed The Hollywood Reporter. Haimes had been living with cancer for several years.
During his 39-year tenure as Roundabout leader, Haimes led the organization from near-bankruptcy and a 150-seat basement grocery store in Chelsea to a five-theater business in Manhattan, which is a major player in New York’s cultural scene. and one of America’s largest and most influential non-profit theater companies.
Under Haimes, Roundabout married commercial growth with stunning critical and award success, winning 38 Tony Awards, 59 Drama Desk Awards, 73 Outer Critics Circle Awards, 21 Lucille Lortel Awards, 14 Audelco Awards, 14 Obie Awards, and 5 Olivier Awards . his tenure.
Bernard Todd Haimes was born on May 7, 1956 in New York City. His father Herman was a lawyer and his mother Helaine was a housewife. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, earned a bachelor’s degree, and then earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management.
Haimes joined the roundabout in 1983 and came on board as general manager. The company was founded in 1965, but by the 1980s was treading water financially and was $2.4 million in debt while operating just one leased space in Chelsea. Haimes stabilized the organization’s finances and began what was to be a spectacular turnaround in fortunes with additional funding.
In 1989, at the age of 32, Haimes became Roundabout’s producing director, tasked with running both the artistic and business side of the company. He opened Roundabout’s first Broadway theater in 1991, the now-closed Criterion Center at Broadway and 45th Street, and was central to the company’s aggressive expansion in the 1990s. He spearheaded the multimillion-dollar renovation of the Selwyn Theater, which would become Roundabout’s flagship American Airlines Theater, home to classic Broadway plays and musicals. In 2009, Roundabout took over Henry Miller’s Theater on Broadway and reopened the venue as the Stephen Sondheim Theater. Roundabout also renovated Studio 54 as a Broadway venue and took over the Laura Pels Theater for off-Broadway productions.
A massive expansion of Roundabout’s Broadway footprint coincided with a string of successes. The Criterion presented a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie in 1993, starring Liam Neeson and, in her Broadway debut, Natasha Richardson – the pair would go on to win a Theater World Award for their performances and would later marry after meeting during the production. There was also the musical’s first revival in New York She loves me (1993) and the critically acclaimed Sam Mendes-Rob Marshall revival Cabaret (1998), in which Richardson played Sally Bowles.
Haimes opened the American Airlines Theater in 2000 with The man who came to eat, starring Nathan Lane. The company’s other notable Tony Award-winning and nominated successes in the Haimes era include Big river (2004), The pajama game (2006), About the 20th century (2015), Long day’s journey into night (2016), and A soldier’s game (2020).
Haimes, an innovator, also pushed Roundabout to adopt new technology and creative awards to attract a wider and more diverse audience. He started the Early Curtain series in 1993, which saw openings at 7 p.m. to attract the after-work crowd. He was also one of the first theater heads to push programs and attractive pricing schedules aimed at LGBTQ+ and single theatergoers, as well as families.
Haimes also devoted significant resources to Roundabout on outreach and education programs and the development and production of new plays and musicals from up-and-coming talent. Notable alumni of the Roundabout Underground program during Haimes’ tenure include Stephen Karam, Lindsey Ferrentino, Steven Levenson, Joshua Harmon, Ming Peiffer, and Jiréh Breon Holder (now Mansa Ra).
Survivors include his wife Jeanne-Marie; daughters Hilary, Julia and Kiki Baron; son Andrew; and grandchildren Corey, Josephine, Aiden, and Alexander.