Move Over, Henry Miller! Here Comes Sondheim!

03/23/2010 12:52 PM |

Artists rendering
  • Artist’s rendering

Sayonara, Henry Miller Theater! As a tribute to a Broadway legend, the theater will soon be renamed after the popular composer and Pulitzer Prize-winning Stephen Sondheim.

If you’ve always thought that it didn’t make sense to have a Broadway theater named after a dirty novelist, you’re right: the 43rd Street house takes its moniker from a British-born actor and manager who died in 1926, less than a decade after founding the theater that would bear his name for the next several decades. It housed the N.Y.C. premiere of Our Town in 1938 and is the current home of the Dame Edna-Michael Feinstein show All About Me. (Does anything more clearly spell Broadway’s decline as a cultural force?)

The theater recently reopened after extensive renovations, and is on long-term lease by the Roundabout Theater Company.

The news’ poignancy lies in the reminder that fame is ephemeral (who’s Martin Beck? or the Selwyn Brothers?); in 100 years a snarky Elroy Jetson will transmit the news to future citizens’ pocket computers that the “Stephen Sondheim Theater” was not named after the famous rocketball athlete of the 2050s. (Obviously, I’m just bummed because it’s one more loss for the Henryes to the Stephens of the world.)

2 Comment

  • Thanks for the Martin Beck link, Henry; for the longest time I was so confused as to why a Broadway theater would be named after the protagonist of a popular series of socially critical Swedish police procedurals written in the 60s and 70s by the husband-and-wife team of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. But now I see that it was a different Martin Beck all along.

  • Sic transit gloria mundi. It would have been better if Roundabout renamed that awful-sounding “American Airlines Theatre.”