Dedication ceremony set for Broadway's new James Earl Jones Theatre

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Friday, September 2, 2022
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Broadway's new James Earl Jones Theatre will be unveiled later this month, with a renaming and dedication ceremony set for September 12.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Broadway's new James Earl Jones Theatre will be unveiled later this month, with a renaming and dedication ceremony set for September 12.

The venue's name is in honor of the legendary actor James Earl Jones, who has the rare distinction of winning an EGOT -- an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and a Tony.

The theater is reopening following a $47 million restoration and expansion of the 110-year-old house, formerly known as the Cort Theatre.

Jones has performed in 21 Broadway shows and is also known for his voice work as Mufasa in "The Lion King" and "Darth Vader" in the "Star Wars" franchise.

The James Earl Jones Theatre renaming is "in recognition of Mr. Jones' lifetime of immense contributions to Broadway and the entire artistic community," the owner, Shubert Organization, said in a statement.

The move comes less than a year after a wide Broadway coalition of theater owners, producers, union leaders, creators and casting directors hammered out a series of reforms and commitments for the theater industry to ensure equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility.

One requirement of the New Deal for Broadway is that the Shubert, Nederlander and Jujamcyn chains have at least one of their theaters named after a Black artist.

Jujamcyn already has the August Wilson Theatre.

"For me, standing in this very building 64 years ago at the start of my Broadway career, it would have been inconceivable that my name would be on the building today," Jones, 91, said in a statement. "Let my journey from then to now be an inspiration for all aspiring actors."

Two of Jones' Broadway appearances were at the Cort Theatre, and his stage awards include best actor for "The Great White Hope" and "Fences," as well as a lifetime achievement award in 2017.

The theatre, located at 138 West 48th Street, was built by and named for John Cort, general manager of the Northwestern Theatrical Association, who died in 1929.

RELATED | Brittney Johnson becomes first Black actress to play Glinda in 'Wicked' on Broadway

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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