Broadway’s Cort Theatre is getting a famous new name.
The venue on W. 48th Street, which has been called the Cort since the day it opened in 1912, will soon be renamed for the venerable actor James Earl Jones, the Shubert Organization announced Wednesday.
Beyond appearing in more than 100 films such as “Star Wars” and “Coming to America” during his storied career, Jones, 91, has been on Broadway in 21 shows.
The man with one of stage and screen’s “most memorable voices” made his main-role debut in 1958’s “Sunrise at the Campobello” — in the very theater that will soon bear his name.
“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 in a statement. “Let my journey from then to now be an inspiration for all aspiring actors.”
That the three-time Tony Award recipient never thought his name would be on a permanent marquee is no shock. More Broadway theaters are named for producers and impresarios than actors. Jones joins that rare group that includes Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, Ethel Barrymore and Edwin Booth.
The Cort, which is owned by Broadway’s largest landlord, the Shubert Organization, has been undergoing a major renovation over the past year, including a 35-foot extension.
When it reopens in the summer, it will officially become the James Earl Jones Theatre.