Go Inside the New Drama Book Shop
The Tony-honored bookstore, now owned by the Hamilton team, officially reopens.
Manhattan's beloved, 104-year-old Drama Book Shop will reopen to the general public on Thursday, June 10, in a new location at 266 West 39th Street. Just days before the store — now owned by Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeffrey Seller, and James L. Nederlander, and designed by David Korins — officially threw open its doors, we were given a walking tour of the spacious property, which celebrates the history of the old, while bringing it into the 21st century.
The first thing shoppers see as they walk in is the Bookworm Sculpture, which flies over the entire store and exists as a timeline of theatrical literature from prehistory to the present day. Made up of 2,400 books, scrips, and scores, the work is 140 feet long and weighs 3500 pounds, and was fabricated by Hudson Scenic Studios, with each book placed around a steel armature. The included titles span span 2,490 years of publishing and are in chronological order, with the most recent texts swirling down onto a banquette near the front. This octagonal banquette is inspired by a similar piece that was seen in the 1940 film The Shop Around the Corner.
Throughout the shop, there are 125 vintage and reproduction performance posters adorning the walls, each representing classic titles, Works Progress Administration theater projects, and 19th-century European show and exposition posters. There are also two Al Hirschfeld prints the shop, including the Cyrano de Bergerac cartoon as seen above. And in a back corner of the shop, there are two reproduced "Cabinet Battle" armchairs from Hamilton, in which shoppers can take a load off (or pretend they're Christopher Jackson).
Have no fear, the staff recommendation section has returned — and currently contains titles ranging from Pulitzer winners A Strange Loop by Michael R. Jackson and Proof by David Auburn to Indecent by Paula Vogel and The Light by Loy A. Webb. It is located on the shop's rear wall.
In addition to play scripts, musical libretti, sheet music, biographies, and current non-theatrical bestsellers, goods include branded T-shirts, mugs, and tote bags, as well as oddities like a collection of pins representing various facial expressions of co-owner Lin-Manuel Miranda. LinPins include "Teen Papi," "Humblelin," and "Nibblelips."
The shop now includes a café, which serves Starbucks Reserve Puerto Rico Yauco Selecto. This blend is exclusive to the shop until August 24, when it will arrive in all Starbucks Roastery locations in New York, Chicago, and Seattle. The coffee comes from three farms on the island and features notes of black walnut and maple with a hint of cardamom. The shop's design itself was inspired by the 19th-century European coffee houses, where you could sit with coffee and a book, or engage in spirited conversation.
The bookcases at the front of the shop contain rare editions, the 2011 Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre that the shop received in 2011, and a tribute to Chester, the German Spitz who served as a mascot to the shop on 40th Street and was frequently seen sleeping near the checkout counter. Because the shop now contains a café where food products are being sold, Chester is no longer allowed in the shop...but press representatives assure us that the pup is alive and well.
The Drama Book Shop will be open to the general public, but due to Covid-19 safety measures, it is highly recommended that those wishing to peruse the shelves in person make a timing reservation. You can do so here.