(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Broadway theaters have undergone name changes over the years, usually for actors, playwrights, composers, showmen, owners and even critics but never for executives in the industry. The Shubert Organization, the largest owner of Broadway theaters with 16-1/2, is renaming two of its theaters on West 45th Street next spring: The Royale, built in 1917, will become the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, named after the Shubert's late president, and the Plymouth, which opened in 1927, will be renamed the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater after the Shubert's current chairman.
Jacobs was president of the Shubert Organization from 1972 until his death in 1996; Schoenfeld has been chairman since 1972. Jacobs and Schoenfeld both began at the company as lawyers. "These two gentlemen shaped and strengthened theater in America," board member Michael Sovern said. "They deserve to have their names in lights."
The most recent name change was in June 2003 when Jujamcyn, the owners of the Martin Beck Theater on West 45th Street, renamed the theater for the caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. Other notable changes have been the 46th Street Theater renamed for Richard Rodgers and the Alvin Theater for Neil Simon. It is felt that the late Tony Randall's name might be the next on a marquee. — Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen