*(New York, NY) The organization Shubert, Inc.. (Shubert), today announced that on Monday, September 12, The Cort Theater (138 West 48th Street) will officially be renamed the James Earl Jones Theater in honor of the iconic, multi-award-winning American actor. After a $47 million restoration and expansion of the building, an official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on 48th Street to celebrate the theater’s completion.
The official inauguration ceremony will be open to guests and members of the press. It will include special performances, tours of the renovated theater and the unveiling of the new marquee.
With the help of Francesca Russo Architect, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Shubert carried out extensive renovations and construction work on the theater. A contemporary new annex, designed by Kostow Greenwood Architects, expands accessibility, increases public space, adds changing rooms and rehearsal space, and enhances the beauty of the 110-year-old theatre.
In the summer of 2020, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, the Shubert Organization embarked on a mission to rename the Cort Theater after a prominent BIPOC theater legend upon completion.
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Shubert Chairman and CEO Robert E. Wankel said, “The grand opening of the James Earl Jones Theater honors one of the most beloved Broadway and screen actors of all time. It is fitting that the renaming of this beautifully restored building is also a moment to recognize the enormous contribution of the folks at BIPOC to Broadway. Mr. Jones’ name quickly rose to the top of the Shubert Organization’s list due to his illustrious career in Shubert homes, his status in the black community and his worldwide reputation as one of the artists the most famous to ever grace the Broadway stage.
The Cort Theater opened in 1912, designed in the style of an 18th-century French palace by famed theater architect Thomas Lamb to house productions by theater impresario John Cort. The building was sold to the Shubert brothers in 1927.
The theater has undergone historic interior renovations and rehabilitation of the New York City Landmark facade, as well as the creation of a new modern annex to complement the historic theatre. The new space, designed by Kostow Greenwood Architects, is fully accessible and includes lounges and new restrooms for theater patrons, as well as rehearsal spaces and offices for theater staff. The changing room tower was also moved to the annex, allowing for the extension of the courtyard wing and an upgrade to the rigging system. These renovations have created improved theater functionality that allows for the presentation of more modern and technically demanding productions with larger casts.
Jones’ Broadway career began in 1957, and in 1958 he had his first Cort Theater role in Sunrise at Campobello. Over the next six and a half decades, Mr. Jones became the star of countless stage and film productions (including 21 Broadway shows), becoming one of the few lifetime “EGOTs” (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony ) winners. Jones’ 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 also won seven Drama Desk Awards and received the National Medal of Arts. and the Kennedy Center Honor.
Jones 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.
THE SHUBERT ORGANIZATION
The Shubert Organization is America’s oldest professional theater company and Broadway’s largest theater owner. Since the dawn of the 20th century, Shubert has operated hundreds of theaters and produced hundreds of plays and musicals, including this season Almost Famous, Topdog/Underdog and the new musical Some Like It Hot. Shubert currently owns and operates 17 Broadway theaters, six Off-Broadway theaters and the Forrest Theater in Philadelphia. Under the leadership of Robert E. Wankel, President and CEO, The Shubert Organization continues to be a leader in the theater industry. Shubert’s innovative ticketing solutions provide unparalleled distribution and marketing to the theater industry and beyond. Its consumer-facing brands — Telecharge for retail ticket sales and Broadway Inbound for group sales and the travel industry — sell millions of tickets each year. The Shubert Foundation, sole shareholder of The Shubert Organization, Inc., is dedicated to sustaining and advancing the performing arts in the United States. The Foundation provides general support for the operation of non-profit theaters and dance companies. Foundation grants in 2022 totaled $37.6 million for 609 recipients.
Shubert’s board members are Laura Forese, Wyche Fowler, Jr., Pamela Newkirk, Diana Phillips, Richard J. Poccia, Lee J. Seidler, Stuart Subotnick, and Robert E. Wankel.
source: Cheryl Duncan & Company Inc.