What does it take to get a Broadway theater named after you? It helps to be a singular figure in the world of dramatic arts. Playwrights like Eugene O’Neill and August Wilson have namesake theaters; so does Stephen Sondheim. Noted illustrator Al Hirschfeld also has a space named in his honor. And now, that roster of theatrical giants is having another name added to it: that of James Earl Jones.
The New York Times reports that the Shubert Organization is set to rename the Cort Theatre, located on West 48th Street, after Jones.
This theater will be only the second Broadway theater named for a Black artist. According to the Times, the new name was something the Shubert Organization had pledged to do after talking with the organization Black Theater United. A similar change is in the works from the Nederlander Organization.
Regarding the theater’s new name, Jones told the Times that “[i]t means a lot.”
As towering figures in American theater go, Jones has a stunning list of credits and awards — including two Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Play, for his work in Fences and The Great White Hope — as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jones is also one of only two EGOT winners to have a Broadway theater named in his honor; the other is composer Richard Rodgers.
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