Broadway theater to be renamed after 'icon' James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones
(Image credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Coming soon to Broadway: the James Earl Jones Theater.

The Shubert Organization announced Wednesday it will rename the Cort Theater on Broadway after legendary actor James Earl Jones, according to The New York Times.

"He's an icon — he really is one of the greatest American actors, and this is just a perfect match," Shubert Organization chief executive Robert E. Wankel told the Times, and the organization also said it was recognizing Jones' "immense contributions to Broadway and the entire artistic community," per Deadline. The theater, which is currently closed for renovations, first opened in 1912.

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Jones told the Times he was honored by the move. "It means a lot," he said. "It's too heavy for me to try to define."

Jones has won two Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Play throughout his stage career, which dates back to the 1950s. The first came in 1969, when he won for his role in The Great White Hope, and he received the award again in 1987 for starring in August Wilson's Fences. Jones also received a lifetime achievement Tony in 2017.

The 91-year-old actor, also known for lending his iconic voice to Darth Vader in Star Wars and Mufasa in The Lion King, has continued to perform on stage as recently as 2015, when he starred in The Gin Game. The Times notes the James Earl Jones Theater will become the second Broadway house named after a Black artist after the August Wilson Theatre.

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

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.