Three-time Tony Award winning actor James Earl Jones was honored with the renaming of a Broadway theater house this month, as the Cort Theatre became the James Earl Jones Theatre in New York. The 1,092 seat venue is run by the Shubert Organization and located on West 48th Street between Seventh Avenue and Sixth Avenue, near Times Square. After going dark during the pandemic pause, the venue was renovated prior to its renaming, and will reopen in November with Ohio State Murders, a play starring Audra McDonald.
Jones is no stranger to the building that now displays his name on its marquee for every show – it was there that he made is Broadway debut in a production of Sunrise at Campobello in 1958. He went on to win his first Tony Award in 1969, honored as Best Actor in a Play for The Great White Hope, a role which he also received a 1970 Academy Award nomination for the film adaptation. He also won the Best Actor in a Play Tony in 1987 for Fences and then in 2017 was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Tony. Over his long career, Jones is one of a tiny group to have completed the “EGOT” – honored with the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards – though it comes with the asterisk of the Academy Award being honorary rather than “competitive.”
The 91-year-old did not attend Monday’s ceremony unveiling the new marquee, delivering a video message instead. Actors Norman Lewis and Brian Stokes Mitchell sang at the event, while Samuel L. Jackson and his wife LaTanya Richardson Jackson spoke, as did NYC Mayor Eric Adams.
“If you are an actor or you aspired to be an actor or you pounded the pavement in these streets looking for jobs and doing things — one of the standards that we always had was to be a James Earl Jones,” Jackson said Monday.
Originally named for impresario John Cort, the james Earl Jones Theatre was opened in 1912. It has been operated by the Shubert Organization since 1927.
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Last Updated on September 16, 2022