Playwright, author, singer, and beloved Twitter user Lin-Manuel Miranda can officially add bookshop owner to his long-list of accolades, with the news that he and three of his Hamilton musical colleagues have purchased The Drama Book Shop in New York City. The store, which has been open since 1917, is well-known for selling "tools and resources" for theater professionals, including some 8,000 plays, sheet-music, memoirs and biographies and, of course, how-to books for anyone hoping to break into the field. While the shop has been widely beloved and celebrated for decades — even winning a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre in 2011 — it has been under threat in recent years due to a 2016 flood (Miranda helped organize a fund-raising campaign to help with repairs) and rent increases.
Update: It was announced on Nov. 12 that The Drama Book Shop will reopen its doors in its new Times Square location at 266 West 39th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues). The shop’s new home will be only one block away from its last location. The projected opening date is March 2020.
“It’s the chronic problem — the rents were just too high, and I’m 84 years old — I just didn’t have the drive to find a new space and make another move,” owner Rozanne Seelen says in a quote from an article on The Daily Beast.
Now Miranda, along with Hamilton director Thomas Kail, Hamilton lead producer Jeffrey Seller, and James L. Nederlander, the president of the Nederlander Organization, will take up the mantle for the shop where Miranda has been a loyal customer since his teen years.
Though saving The Drama Book Shop is the first time that Miranda has thrown his hat into the bookselling ring, it is far from the first time that he has expressed his love for books. After all, Hamilton was first inspired by Ron Chernow's biography of founding father Alexander Hamilton. Miranda has also taken to Twitter many times to talk books, sharing his summer reading list or recommending must-read Latina writers. And then there's his own book, GMorning, GNight: Little Pep Talks For Me And You, which was released on Oct. 18, 2018. Oh, and Miranda is also adapting Patrick Rothfuss' beloved Kingkiller Chronicles trilogy for film and television.
A statement on The Drama Book Shop's website reads: "Dear Friends, The Drama Book Shop will be going into storage for a few months while the new owners look for, and build, a new store. The shop will close at 6:00 on Sunday, Jan. 20. Please come and visit us at 250 West 40th Street one last time." So, if you want to browse the hallowed shelves of the shop's current location in the theater district (which they have occupied since 2001) you have a couple more weeks to make your way to the famed storefront.
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