In a First for Broadway, a Theater Will Be Renamed for Lena Horne
One among Broadway’s largest landlords mentioned Thursday that it could rename a theater after the performer and activist Lena Horne, who would then develop into the primary Black girl to win such recognition.
The Nederlander Group, which operates 9 of the 41 Broadway theaters, mentioned it could rename the Brooks Atkinson Theater in Horne’s honor. The Atkinson is a 1,031-seat venue on West forty seventh Road; it was inbuilt 1926 and is presently dwelling to the hit musical “Six.”
The change brings the Nederlander Group into compliance with an settlement reached final 12 months between Broadway leaders and the advocacy group Black Theater United, underneath which all three main Broadway landlords pledged that not less than certainly one of their theaters can be named for a Black artist. Jujamcyn Theaters already had a theater named for the playwright August Wilson, and the Shubert Group introduced in March that it could rename the Cort Theater after the actor James Earl Jones.
Horne, who died in 2010, was an actor and singer who carried out in nightclubs, in Hollywood, on tv and onstage. She was additionally a longtime civil rights activist, outspoken on behalf of Black troopers, and a frequent participant in protests and marches. She supported anti-lynching laws, and fought towards racism within the leisure trade.
She appeared in 5 Broadway exhibits, together with the long-running “Lena Horne: The Woman and Her Music,” which within the early Eighties had a 346-performance run on the Nederlander Theater, adopted by a tour. In 1958 she grew to become the primary African American girl to be nominated for a Tony Award for greatest actress in a musical, for her work in “Jamaica”; in 1981 she was granted a particular Tony Award for “The Woman and Her Music.”
James L. Nederlander, the president of the Nederlander Group, mentioned he remembered as a younger man watching Horne carry out — she would typically make light enjoyable of his father, who produced her Broadway present, from the stage — and coming to consider her as a buddy. “She’s such a legend, and her time is overdue,” he mentioned. “This felt actually proper.”
Horne’s granddaughter, Jenny Lumet, a tv showrunner and producer, mentioned the household is delighted with the plan. “I’m actually proud that individuals may discover a spark of creativity in an area that has her title on it — that’s all you may ask for,” she mentioned in an interview. “And it means one thing that there shall be a theater, within the mecca of theater, named after a Black feminine artist. I couldn’t be prouder.”
The theater has since 1960 been named for Brooks Atkinson, an influential longtime theater critic for The New York Instances. The Nederlanders mentioned the title change ought to happen this fall, however that the precise date will rely on when the brand new marquee signage is prepared.
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