(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Clear Channel Entertainment and its partner Broadway in Boston announced recently that they are planning to give up the lease on Boston’s Wilbur Theatre next summer, due to financial problems.
Clear Channel notified Wilbur co-owner and managing partner Robert Merowitz that Broadway in Boston, which owns the Opera House and the Charles Playhouse and operates the Wilbur and Colonial theaters, will not renew its lease once it expires. The 1,200-seat venue cited financial issues, having been booked only 15 weeks during the past year, and had trouble selling tickets to even large shows.
“In more than one instance, Broadway in Boston sustained six-figure losses on very worthy shows brought over from England or Ireland,” COO of CCE/Theatrical David Anderson told the Boston Globe. The company has spent significant amounts of money trying to find “product” that will sell enough seats to turn a profit at the Wilbur, to no success.
The theatre reportedly looked at various options, including closing the balcony to convert it to a 500-seat house and negotiating with the stagehands’ union so the venue could also book comedy and music acts.
The Globe reports that the theater has been dark since April, except for a short run by “Charlie Ross’s One-Man Star Wars Trilogy” last month.
The lease termination notice didn’t surprise Merowitz, who said the Wilbur has become outmoded in today’s market.
“The shows that should go there – small Broadway tours and plays – go into less expensive places, or to bigger theaters, where they don’t belong,” he told the paper.
Susan Hartnett, director of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s office of arts, tourism and special events, told the paper that the mayor wants the Wilbur to remain a theatrical venue.
“We do not want to see it taken over by a user who isn’t interested in producing theater,” she told the Globe.
Merowitz said he has no plans as of yet. “All options are open,” he said. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers