Al Hirschfeld Self Portrait
Al Hirschfeld Self Portrait
The Martin Beck Theatre is soon to be renamed the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in honor of the late illustrator whose drawings depicted the stars and personalities of Broadway for most of the 20th century. The official dedication and renaming ceremony, titled 100 Years of Al Hirschfeld -- A Celebration, will take place on Monday, June 23 at 7pm.

Supervised by Jerry Zaks, the ceremony will feature appearances by Marge Champion, Carol Channing, Barbara Cook, Jules Feiffer, Whoopi Goldberg, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Arthur Miller, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Nathan Lane, Hal Prince, Andy Rooney, and others. Hirschfeld died on January 20, 2003; he would have been 100 years old on June 21.

"The renaming of a Broadway theater is an important event in the history and the heritage of Broadway," said Rocco Landesman, president of Jujamcyn Theaters. "No one working in our world is more deserving than Al Hirschfeld, who chronicled the look, the energy, and the excitement of the New York theater scene for more than 75 years." Hirschfeld, who sketched his first theatrical caricature for The New York Times in 1927, will hereby become the only visual artist to have a theater named after him.

In addition to the renaming, the theater will undergo renovations including the installation of a new marquee and the establishment of a permanent gallery featuring 22 of Hirschfeld's drawings, each representing a show that played at the Martin Beck. The theater has been home to many famous productions, including plays by Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, and Edward Albee, and such musicals as Bye Bye Birdie, Candide, and Into the Woods. The current tenant is the revival of Man of La Mancha starring Brian Stokes Mitchell and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.

General admission tickets for 100 Years of Al Hirschfeld -- A Celebration will be available at the Martin Beck box office on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 3pm on Monday, June 23. The event is free and open to the public; doors will open at 6:30pm.