Lin-Manuel Miranda is teaming up with the New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment to rescue a struggling independent bookstore, the legendary Drama Book Shop, from closing its doors.
Miranda, along with Thomas Kail, James L. Nederlander and Jeffrey Seller announced Tuesday that they will be saving the midtown Manhattan store with their own investment and management. The storefront and theater venue is being forced from its home on West 40th St. and will be closing its doors on Jan. 20 after being a neighborhood staple since 2001, but it is expected to reopen in a new location in the theater district come fall 2019.
The shop faced a rent hike from $18,000 to $30,000 that was considered unaffordable until Miranda and company stepped into help and offered to look for a long-term solution.
“The Drama Book Shop is beloved by New York City’s theatre community, and we simply could not stand by and watch a uniquely New York independent bookstore disappear,” Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin said in a statement. “We are delighted to be playing a part in assuring this vital cultural resource can remain in midtown, for New Yorkers and tourists from all over the world to enjoy, and we know it will be in extremely capable hands.”
“My first experiences directing in New York City were at the Arthur Seelen Theater in the basement of the Drama Book Shop,” Kail said. “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.”
MOME and the new owners, who purchased it from longtime owner Rozanne Seelen, will announce the new location and opening date later in 2019.