The renaming of the James Earl Jones Theater is “in recognition of Mr. Jones’ immense contribution to Broadway and to the entire artistic community,” according to a statement from the Shuberts.
The move comes less than a year after a broad coalition of Broadway theater owners, producers, union leaders, creators and casting directors crafted a series of reforms and commitments for the entertainment industry. theater to ensure equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility.
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One of the New Deal requirements for Broadway is that the Shubert, Nederlander and Jujamcyn chains have at least one of their theaters named after a black performer. (Jujamcyn already has the August Wilson Theater.)
“To me, standing in this same building 64 years ago at the start of my Broadway career, it would have been inconceivable for my name to be on the building today,” Jones, 91, said in a statement. “May my journey from yesterday to today be a source of inspiration for all budding actors.”
Jones appeared in 21 Broadway productions, including two at the Cort Theatre. He is an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner, including Best Actor stage awards for ‘The Great White Hope’ and ‘Fences’, as well as an award for all of its achievements in 2017.
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The Cort Theater – at 138 W. 48th St. – is 110 years old and was built by and named for John Cort, executive director of the Northwestern Theatrical Association, who died in 1929. There are 41 theaters on Broadway – four are named after women and now two for black artists.
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