Arts & Culture

Lena Horne becomes first black actress to have Broadway theatre named after her

Featured image credit: Studio publicity still/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

The late actress Lena Horne has become the first black woman to have a Broadway theatre named after her. 

Horne, who died in 2010, was the first black woman to be nominated for a Tony Award, the highest theatrical honour on Broadway for starring in the 1957 musical Jamaica. 

Years later in 1981, Horne also received a special Tony Away for Lena Horne; The Lady and her Music, a one-woman Broadway show which featured the actress singing about her life. 

She was also a popular singer and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studios signed her up to star in its musical movies in the 1940s. 

Horne has also won four Grammy Awards, including a lifetime achievement award in 1989. 

The Lena Horne Theatre was originally named Mansfield Theatre and opened in 1926. It was then renamed in 1960 to become the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. The venue is currently operated by the Nederlander Organisation. 

In September, the Shubert Organisation-operated Cort Theatre was renamed in honour of two-time Tony Award winner and voice of Darth Vader, James Earl Jones. 

Horne’s granddaughter Jenny Lumet told CBS: “It’s a celebration of all people in theatre history, but Black women, as we know, tend to get the short end of the stick. And this, I feel like, it’s not about grandma, it’s about a thank you.”

British musical Six, which is about the wives of King Henry VIII, is currently being performed at the Lena Horne Theatre.