NYC Mayor Adams, New York State Governor Hochul attend Lena Horne Theatre renaming on Broadway

Vanessa L. Williams and LaChanze performed during the ceremony that renamed the Brooks Atkinson Theatre after the late singer and activist.

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New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams were on hand at the Lena Horne Theatre renaming ceremony on Tuesday. The Nederlander Organization renamed Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre after the late singer-actress-activist.

The Nederlander Organization worked in tandem with Black Theatre United to rename a Broadway auditorium after a Black theater legend. Horne, the first Black woman nominated for a Tony Award, was selected, leading to a public event commemorating the renaming.

The former Brooks Atkinson Theatre currently houses the two-time Tony Award-winning show, “Six: The Musical.”

The Nederlander Organization Unveils Broadway's New Lena Horne Theatre
NYC Mayor Adams, New York State Governor Hochul attend Lena Horne Theatre renaming on Broadway. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

The renaming ceremony featured remarks by Adams and Hochul, as well as actresses Tamara Tunie, Audra McDonald and Karen Boykin-Towns of the NAACP. The event included special performances from Vanessa L. Williams and LaChanze. Williams sang “Stormy Weather,” while LaChanze performed “I’m Here.”

Adams called the renaming of the theater a “historical event.” He then gave props to the Nederlander Organization, which renamed Broadway’s Cort Theatre the James Earl Jones Theater in September.

“This is a historical moment that’s taking place,” Adams said. “Don’t think that the renaming of this theater is an insignificant moment taking place on the stage of Broadway history. A few weeks [ago], [the Nederlander] family named a theater after James Earl Jones. Now we’re doing Lena. What we are saying is that the Great White Way must have some chocolate on it also.”

Adams was serving as Brooklyn Borough President when the Bandshell at Prospect Park was renamed the Lena Horne Bandshell last year.

Hochul also spoke about the importance of the renaming and the longevity of Horne’s legacy. “This week we’re making ‘herstory.’ Not history; we’re making ‘her-story,'” Hochul said. “The first time that a Black woman’s name has graced a theater like this.”

McDonald was joined by the Adams, Hochul, members of Horne’s family and a number of young Black female Broadway performers as the new marquee was unveiled to the public.

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