The newly-christened James Earl Jones Theatre announced Thursday that the official renaming and dedication ceremony will take place on Sept. 12, 2022.
Formerly known as the Cort Theatre, it was announced in 2021 that the 110-year-old house would undergo a $47 million restoration and expansion, as well as be renamed to honor of the EGOT winner.
“The dedication of the James Earl Jones Theatre honors one of the most beloved Broadway and film actors of all time,” Shubert Chairman and CEO Robert E. Wankel said in a statement.
“It’s fitting that the renaming of this beautifully restored building also be a moment in which to recognize the tremendous contribution of BIPOC people to Broadway,” his statement continued.
“Mr. Jones’ name quickly rose to the top of the Shubert Organization’s list due to his illustrious career performing in Shubert houses, his status in the black community, and his worldwide reputation as one of the most celebrated performers to ever grace the Broadway stage,” Wankel said of the esteemed, deep-voiced actor, who began his stage career in 1958 in “Sunrise at Campobello” at the Cort Theatre and subsequently starred in 21 Broadway productions, earning two Tony Awards.
Many of the refurbishments to the theater include a brand new modern annex to complement the historic theater as well as several new lounges for audience members and rehearsal space and offices for the theater’s staff.
Jones is also known for his voice work on the silver screen — perhaps most notably as Mufasa in “The Lion King” in both the 1994 animated and 2019 live-action versions, as well as the villainous Darth Vader from the “Star Wars” franchise.
Upon learning his name would be on the marquee, Jones was overwhelmed.
“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 said.
“Let my journey from then to now be an inspiration for all aspiring actors.”