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The Cort Theatre Is Now Officially The James Earl Jones Theatre

The Cort Theatre Is Now Officially The James Earl Jones Theatre

This afternoon, Monday, September 12, The Shubert Organization, Inc. (Shubert) officially dedicated and revealed the newly renamed James Earl Jones Theatre (138 West 48th Street), formerly the Cort Theatre, in honor of the iconic multi-award-winning American actor. The dedication ceremony follows a $47 million restoration and expansion of the building.

Photo by Tricia Baron

VIP Attendees included NYC Mayor Eric Adams, Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Courtney B. Vance, Debbie Allen, Lee Daniels, Phylicia Rashad, Kenny Leon, The Shubert Organization President Robert Wankel, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Norm Lewis, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Tamara Tunie, Woodie King Jr. and more.

Brian Stokes Mitchell Performing Photo by Tricia Baron

Brian Stokes Mitchell Photo by Tricia Baron

The official dedication ceremony welcomed VIP guests, included special performances by Brian Stokes Mitchell and Norm Lewis, along with remarks from The Shubert Organization President Robert Wankel and NYC Mayor Eric Adams as well as a first look reveal of the new marquee.

Norm Lewis Performance Photo by Tricia Baron

With the help of Francesca Russo Architect, over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shubert has performed extensive renovation and construction work on the theatre. A new contemporary annex, designed by Kostow Greenwood Architects, expands accessibility, increases public space, adds dressing rooms and rehearsal space, and enhances the beauty of the 110-year-old theatre.

LaTanya Richardson Jackson & Samuel L. Jackson Photo by Tricia Baron

Samuel L. JacksonPhoto by Tricia Baron

Danielle Brooks & Samuel L. Jackson Photo by Tricia Baron

In the summer of 2020, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, The Shubert Organization embarked on a mission to rename the Cort Theatre after a prominent BIPOC theatre legend upon completion of construction.

Woodie King Jr. and Guest Photo by Tricia Baron

Shubert Chairman and CEO, Robert E. Wankel said, “The dedication of the James Earl Jones Theatre honors one of the most beloved Broadway and film actors of all time. It’s fitting that the renaming of this beautifully restored building also be a moment in which to recognize the tremendous contribution of BIPOC people to Broadway. Mr. Jones’s name quickly rose to the top of the Shubert Organization’s list due to his illustrious career performing in Shubert houses, his status in the Black community, and his worldwide reputation as one of the most celebrated performers to ever grace the Broadway stage.”

Montego Glover Photo by Tricia Baron

The Cort Theatre opened in 1912, designed in the style of an Eighteenth-Century French palace by renowned theatre architect Thomas Lamb to house productions of theatre impresario John Cort. The building was sold to the Shubert brothers in 1927.

Robert Wankel & Mayor Eric Adams Photo by Tricia Baron

Mayor Eric Adams Photo by Tricia Baron

The Theatre has undergone historic refurbishments to the interior and rehabilitation of the NYC historic landmark’s façade, as well as the creation of a new, modern annex to compliment the historic theatre. The new space, designed by Kostow Greenwood Architects, is fully accessible and features lounges and new restrooms for theatre patrons, as well as a rehearsal spaces and offices for theatre staff. The dressing room tower has also been relocated to the annex, allowing for the expansion of the stage-left wing and an upgrade of the rigging system. These renovations have created an enhanced theatre functionality that allows for the presentation of more modern, technically demanding productions with larger casts.

Phylicia Rashad & Debbie Allen Photo by Tricia Baron

Jones’s Broadway career began in 1957, and in 1958 he played his first role at the Cort Theatre in Sunrise at Campobello. Over the following six-and-a-half decades Mr. Jones rose to star in countless stage and screen productions (including 21 Broadway shows), becoming one of a small number of lifetime “EGOT” (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winners. Jones’s Tony Awards include Best Actor in a Play for The Great White Hope (1969) and Fences (1987), as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. He has additionally won seven Drama Desk Awards and has been awarded the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honor.

Irene Gandy Photo by Tricia Baron

Jones has appeared in fourteen Broadway productions at Shubert theatres, including two at the Cort Theatre. Most recently he starred opposite Cicely Tyson in the 2015 Broadway revival of Donald L. Coburn’s The Gin Game at the Golden Theatre

Tamara Tunie Photo by Tricia Baron

Samuel L. Jackson Photo by Tricia Baron

NaTasha Yvette Williams Photo by Tricia Baron

LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Danielle Brooks & Samuel L. Jackson Photo by Tricia Baron

Kenny Leon Photo by Tricia Baron

Courtney B. Vance Photo by Tricia Baron

Wendell Pierce Photo by Tricia Baron

Suzan-Lori Parks Photo by Tricia Baron

James Jackson Jr. Photo by Tricia Baron

Corey Hawkins Photo by Tricia Baron

Antwayne Hopper Photo by Tricia Baron

Broadway

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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