Regarded for his work onscreen and onstage, the legendary actor James Earl Jones is being honored in a historic way. The Shubert Organization announced on Wednesday (March 2) that the Cort Theater is being renamed to honor Jones’ legacy.
The 110-year-old venue will become the James Earl Jones Theatre “in recognition of Mr. Jones’s lifetime of immense contributions to Broadway and the entire artistic community,” as shared in a statement.
The Cort is currently closed due to extensive renovation and is set to reopen this summer with a newly built wing. Upon reopening, the Shubert Organization will hold a formal dedication ceremony.
“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. Let my journey from then to now be an inspiration for all aspiring actors,” expressed the 91-year-old in a statement.
Jones’ breakthrough on Broadway came in 1958 when he appeared in Sunrise at Campobello, coincidentally at the Cort Theater. During his storied career, he has appeared in 21 Broadway productions including The Great White Hope (1969) and Fences (1987), which both garnered Tony Award wins for him. In 2017, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award.
Jones is one of the few talents in the EGOT community after having received a Grammy in 1977, two consecutive Primetime Emmys in 1990 and 1991, and an Honorary Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 2011.
“The Shubert Organization is so incredibly honored to put James—an icon in the theatre community, the Black community, and the American community—forever in Broadway’s lights,” Robert E. Wankel, Shubert CEO/board chair shared in a statement. “That James deserves to have his name immortalized on Broadway is without question.”