CCE To Pull Out Of Wilbur

Clear Channel Entertainment and partner Broadway In Boston are planning to forgo leasing Boston’s Wilbur Theatre next year, apparently because of financial issues.

The landmark theatre has not been a money maker, according to Clear Channel Theatrical COO David Anderson and Broadway In Boston prexy Drew Murphy. The venue was open less than 15 weeks of the past year and has been dark since April, according to the Boston Globe.

“In more than one instance, Broadway in Boston sustained six-figure losses on very worthy shows brought over from England or Ireland,” Anderson told the paper.

Broadway explored bringing comedy and musical acts into the 1,200-seat venue, and there was a proposal to close off the balcony, making it a 500-seat house, according to the paper.

Wilbur co-owner and managing partner Robert Merowitz was notified by CCE that the lease would run out in July and not be renewed. He told the paper it was not a surprise and that the theatre has become outdated.

“The shows that should go there – small Broadway tours and plays – go into less expensive places or to bigger theatres, where they don’t belong,” Merowitz told the Globe.

He added that, unlike a decade ago, the city’s Theatre District is now the site for Broadway-type musicals rather than dramatic theatre.

Mayor Thomas Menino’s office reportedly said the mayor wants the Wilbur to remain a theatrical venue. Merowitz told the Globe he has no plans yet and, “All options are open.”