Michael Appler In 1958, an unknown actor spoke just one line from the stage of the Cort Theatre on Broadway: “Mrs. Roosevelt, supper is served.” Then, a 27-year old James Earl Jones could barely make it through his five words.
His stutter had yet to smooth into a defining voice. On Monday afternoon, in a ceremony attended by Samuel L. Jackson, Phylicia Rashad, Debbie Allen and Mayor Eric Adams, that same theater was rededicated in honor of the now 91 year-old actor. “I spoke my first line ever on Broadway in this theater,” Jones said in a video played during the ceremony, taped when Jones and his family toured the renovated theater privately. “I was a kid,” he said from the stage, looking out to an empty audience.
Announced in March, the Shubert Organization — engaged in a $45 million renovation of the aging Cort — pledged to rename one of its 17 theaters in honor of a Black artist.Read more on variety.com