There will soon be a Broadway theatre in New York City bearing the name of the late great James Earl Jones. The Shubert Organization announced in a press statement on Wednesday that the 110-year-old Cort Theatre will be renamed after the iconic actor in honour of his many achievements to Broadway and the entertainment industry throughout his lifetime.
“The Shubert Organization is so profoundly thrilled to put James — a legend in the theatre community, the Black community, and the American community — eternally in Broadway’s lights,” said Robert E. Wankel, CEO and board chair of the Shubert Organization. There is no doubt in my mind that James is deserving of a permanent place in Broadway history.
The 91-year-old Jones began his Broadway career in 1958 with the play Sunrise at Campobello, which he debuted in at the Cort Theatre. Over the next six and a half decades, he went on to star in 21 Broadway productions, win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony, and be honoured with the Kennedy Center’s highest award.
Jones won three Tonys: Best Actor in a Play for The Great White Hope in 1969, Best Actor in a Play for Fences in 1987, and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.
Jones has won seven Drama Desk Awards and the National Medal of Arts during his distinguished career.
During the recent coronavirus pandemic, building on the Cort Theatre (138 West 48th Street) has been ongoing, with completion expected this summer. A dedication ceremony for Jones will be place after the renovations are finished and the theatre is ready to host performances again.
Jones claimed it was “inconceivable” that a theatre would be named after him when he first started out in the business.
In a statement released by Shubert, he remarked, “It would have been unthinkable that my name would be on the building today had I been standing in this identical building sixty-four years ago at the beginning of my Broadway career.” My experience from then to now should serve as motivation for all future actors.