Just over a year ago, it was reported that Drama Book Shop, the long-running Midtown Manhattan book store beloved by theatergoers for its extensive collection of plays and books on theater, was going to have to leave its space due to rent hikes. Then at the start of 2019, longtime patron Lin-Manuel Miranda, along with some of his Hamilton collaborators, joined forces to purchase the shop and save it from shuttering. Today, Miranda and the other co-owners announced that the store will re-open at a new location in Midtown in March 2020.
“The Drama Book Shop is the heart and soul of the New York theater community,” Miranda said in a statement.
It’s been an oasis in Midtown for a century of storytellers and theater fans alike—a safe space to gather, to learn, and to find great books and music. I found my collaborators there. I wrote drafts of In the Heights there. Freestyle Love Supreme was born there. I made sure the first book-signing of 'Hamilton: The Revolution' was held there. The Drama Book Shop is home. To the next generation of dramatists, actors, directors, composers, choreographers, designers, and theater enthusiasts: the stage is set…Come in. Discover. Enjoy.
The new store will be located at 266 West 39th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), just one block away from its old location where it had been for the last twenty years (the shop has been in business for over 100 years, at various locations). Last year, the bookstore's vice president Allen Hubby said that the landlord of the building had initially proposed a 50% rent increase for the bookshop to renew its lease.
After the story broke, Miranda, Hamilton director Thomas Kail, producer Jeffrey Seller, and theater owner James L. Nederlander, mobilized to rescue the store. With support from Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin, the group toured spaces in the theater district until it found the new spot.
"I was in The Drama Book Shop most days of the week from December 2001 until May 2005,” Kail said. “My career started there. My life in New York City started there. I am proud to be part of this group that will reintroduce this vital source of inspiration for our city, and present countless others the same opportunity that it provided me..."
The store's designer is also a Hamilton collaborator: David Korins, who created the musical's set. He told the Times the centerpiece of the new store, as you can see in the rendering up above, "will be a large spiral worm-shaped sculpture of dramatic literature, bursting out of the back wall and corkscrewing into the space." The Times adds that the store will also sell coffee, merchandise and writing materials, along with play scripts, librettos and books about the arts. There is also a basement level for readings, classes and other events.
Miranda previously stepped in to help the bookstore in 2016 after a pipe burst upstairs in the old building, sending more than 20,000 gallons of water into the store and destroying about 20% of its merchandise. At the time, he launched the hashtag #BuyABook to support the store, and their sales apparently doubled during the period.