The Plymouth Theatre
The Plymouth Theatre
The names of two Broadway theaters are about to undergo a change. It was announced today by the board of directors of the Shubert Organization that the Plymouth Theatre (236 West 45th Street) will be re-christened the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, while the Royale Theatre (242 West 45th Street) will become the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. The board took this action at a September 30 meeting "to recognize the outstanding contributions to the company, the theater community, and the City of New York made by Mr. Schoenfeld and Mr. Jacobs."

According to board member John Kluge, "Jerry and Bernie came at a crucial moment in the history of the Shubert Organization. Not only did they reinvent the organization from a business standpoint, they also set a standard of excellence for the industry. They played leading roles in the renaissance of Times Square. Most significantly, they have used the resources of the company to nurture the artistic community of the theatre, contributing greatly to the vitality of Broadway."

The Plymouth, currently the home of Brooklyn The Musical, was built in 1917. Plays performed at the venue include Pride and Prejudice, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, and The Odd Couple. Among those who have graced its stage were John Barrymore, Laurette Taylor, Tallulah Bankhead, Mary Martin, Yul Brynner, Richard Burton, Henry Fonda, and Claudette Colbert. The Royale, where a revival of 'night, Mother will begin previews on October 22, was built in 1927. It's history includes such plays as The Glass Menagerie, The Front Page, and The Entertainer. Its boards have been trod by such actors as Mae West, Bert Lahr, Bette Davis, Ethel Merman, James Dean, John Gielgud, and Laurence Olivier.

Schoenfeld has been the chairman of the Shubert Organization since 1972, while Jacobs was president of the organization from 1972 until his death in 1996. Board member Michael I. Sovern states: "Throughout their years of inspired leadership -- of both the Shubert Organization and the Shubert Foundation -- these two gentlemen shaped and strengthened theater in America. Their vision has enabled 'the fabulous invalid' and theater companies all across our country to continue to offer live performances to millions of people. They deserve to have their names in lights." Current Shubert president Philip J. Smith will lead a dedication ceremony in Shubert Alley in the spring of 2005.