The Nederlander Organization, under the leadership of James L. Nederlander, today announced that on Tuesday, November 1, the Brooks Atkinson Theatre will officially be renamed the Lena Horne Theatre in honor of the iconic entertainer and civil rights activist, becoming the first Broadway theatre to be named for a Black woman. A formal celebration will take place on 47th Street to celebrate the historic moment for the theater community.
Co-produced by Christina Selby and Jacquelyn Bell, the ceremony will include special performances, remarks, and an unveiling of the new marquee, kicking off with a DJ’d block party to celebrate the momentous occasion. Joining in the celebration will be legendary stars and luminaries from the Broadway and entertainment communities.
During the summer of 2020, in solidarity with Black Theatre United, The Nederlander Organization embarked on a mission to rename the Brooks Atkinson Theatre after a prominent Black theatre legend, and chose someone from within the fabric and history of the organization. As the first Black woman ever to be nominated for a Tony Award for Leading Actress in a Musical, Horne also had a special history within the Nederlander family. James (Jimmy) L. Nederlander’s father, James M. Nederlander, was instrumental as one of the lead producers of Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music which played at the Nederlander Theatre in 1981. The show was an instant success and was extended to a full year run, garnering Horne a special Tony Award and two Grammy Awards for the cast recording of her show.
The historic celebration will acknowledge not only the significance of this unprecedented moment but also why representation matters. The timing is especially poignant during this moment of global demand for inclusivity, and the Nederlander Organization is committed to being a part of this movement. By renaming this theatre, new generations of theatergoers will be introduced to the legendary Lena Horne, an entertainer who broke barriers for other Black women to follow in her footsteps, and through this recognition will continue to inspire future generations of theatergoers.
The Brooks Atkinson Theatre, currently the home of SIX, was built in 1926. Originally named the Mansfield Theatre, the Brooks Atkinson Theatre has 1,069 seats and is one of the Nederlander Organization’s nine Broadway theatres.
Last updated and effective as of January 14, 2019
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