Another first has been added to the legendary artist Lena Horne.
The late, great entertainer and civil rights activist Lena Horne became the first Black woman in U.S. history to have a Broadway theater named after her on Tuesday, when NYC’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre on W 47th Street changed its name to the Lena Horne Theatre pic.twitter.com/27ldbdM2rW
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 3, 2022
Three major theater owners, the Shubert Organization, the Nederlander Organization, and Jujamcyn Theaters made a commitment as a part of Black Theatre United’s New Deal for Broadway. Under that deal, the theaters pledged to name one of their venues after a Black artist. The Nederlander Organization took the lead and gathered a list of names of Black performers who were famously known. They picked the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, which is located at 256 West 47th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.
“We chose Lena Horne because she is such an important part of the fabric of Broadway and of the fabric of Nederlander,” says Christina Selby, Nederlander’s Vice President of Production and Touring in a written statement. “She had very close ties to Jimmy [Nederlander] Sr., because he produced her show at the Nederlander Theatre. This is a family company first and foremost, and we wanted to honor someone who was a part of the family.”
The Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams acknowledged the great artist on his Twitter account.
Today we made history in NYC when we unveiled the Lena Horne Theatre, the first Broadway theater named after a Black woman.
Lena personified elegance and grace while also fighting racism and injustice. Her legacy and NYC story live on. pic.twitter.com/77PKFQBctb
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) November 1, 2022
Horne starred in many Broadway productions and got her start in 1934 with a play titled, Dance With Your Gods. The legend also made a mark in Hollywood when she was featured in several Hollywood movies in the 1940s such as Stormy Weather and Cabin in the Sky before starring on Broadway again in Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. She was given a Special Tony Award back in 1981.
The actress had become the first Black woman to be nominated for a Tony Award in 1958. She was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Jamaica.