The Drama Book Shop to reopen June 10, 2021, now a Hamilton alumni enterprise

 The Drama Book Shop will reopen to the public on June 10, 2021 in its new location, under the proprietorship of Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and director Thomas Kail. The century-old independent bookstore has moved to 266 West 39th Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. “Booking a priority entrance time is strongly encouraged and may be made by visiting:”

Store Hours 
Monday – Friday 9:00am – 8:00pm
Saturday 10:00am – 8:00pm
Sunday 12:00pm – 6:00pm

The much-loved bookstore, initially founded in 1917 which over the decades had become great hangout and inspiration for theater lovers theater makers in the theater district, was set to close its doors at its 40th Street location on January 20, 2019. Twelve days before its shuttering, on January 8, Miranda and Kail, along with theater owner James L. Nederlander, and producer Jeffrey Seller announced they would buy it — and moved somewhere else more affordable in Midtown. The plan was to reopen in the Fall of 2019, but complications caused a delay (including the pandemic.)

The previous owner Rozanne Seelen, whose husband, the late Arthur Seelen, bought it in 1958, sold the store for the cost of the remaining inventory, some rent support in the store’s final weeks, and a pledge to retain her as a consultant. “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,” she told the Times. “Lin-Manuel and Tommy are my white knights.”

“My first experiences directing in New York City were at the Arthur Seelen Theater in the basement of the Drama Book Shop,” Thomas Kail said when the sale was announced.  “Thanks to the generosity of owners Allen Hubby and Rozanne Seelen, I had a small theater company that was in residence there for five years.  I was lucky enough to be there the day the shop opened on 40th Street on December 3, 2001, and I am delighted to be part of this group that will ensure the Drama Book Shop lives on.”

The new location, designed by Hamilton scenic designer David Korins and his team, pays homage to twentieth century European cafes and reading rooms and features a full-service cafe serving coffee, teas, and light snacks.

Clockwise from top left: the old store sign; Miranda in the old store; Miranda et al looking at drawings for the new store; David Korins mock-up of the new interior; the new store facade

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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