Todd Haimes, who led theatre company to Broadway, dies aged 66

During Haimes's tenure, Roundabout shows won 34 Tony Awards.

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 and dozens of Tony Awards, has died aged 66.

Haimes, the artistic director and chief executive of the non-profit 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 included 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 theatre 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 Centre at Broadway and 45th Street.

The company’s early successes included 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 7pm openings to attract the after-work crowd.

Todd Haimes, second from right, and his fellow producers accept the Tony Award for best revival of a musical for Anything Goes during the 65th annual Tony Awards in June 2011 in New York
Todd Haimes, second from right, and his fellow producers accept the Tony Award for best revival of a musical for Anything Goes during the 65th annual Tony Awards in June 2011 in New York (Jeff Christensen/AP)

Roundabout grew to encompass the American Airlines Theatre, the Studio 54 theatre, 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 programmes and also provided a home to emerging playwrights as part of the Roundabout Underground programme.

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.