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Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre Will Be Renamed for Lena Horne


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According to There’s going to be a new marquee in town. Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre will be renamed the Lena Horne Theatre, becoming the first theater named after a Black woman. The theater was built in 1926 and is currently home to the Tony-nominated musical Six: The Musical. The Nederlander Organization will host an event this fall for the renaming ceremony. An official date will be announced in the coming weeks.

We are proud to take this moment to rename one of our theaters in honor of the great civil rights activist, actress, and entertainer Lena Horne,” said James L. Nederlander of The Nederlander Organization. “I am so honored to have known Lena. She became a part of our family over the years. It means so much to me that my father was the producer of Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, and it is my privilege, honor, and duty to memorialize Lena for generations to come.

Horne, born in 1917, was an actor and singer of the stage and screen. She was also a civil rights activist who fought against racism in the entertainment industry. Horne appeared in five Broadway productions: Dance With Your Gods (1934), Lew Leslie’s Blackbirds of 1939 (1939), Jamaica (1957), Tony & Lena Sing (1974) and her long-running Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music in 1981. 

She became the first Black woman to be nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her work in Jamaica. In 1981 she received a Special Tony Awardt for The Lady and Her Music. Horne died in 2010 at the age of 92. 

The renaming of the Brooks Atkinson is a result of the agreement between Broadway leaders and Black Theater United, in which all three major Broadway owners would rename at least one theater after a Black artist. Jujamcyn Theaters already had a theater named for playwright August Wilson and the Shubert Organization recently announced that the Cort Theatre will be renamed after actor James Earl Jones.

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