The Drama Book Shop reopened today in a new location on West 39th Street. If you are in show business, this is somewhat of a big deal.
The Drama Book Shop was previously located on 40th Street and I passed it every time I walked from the Port Authority to our New York office. I usually allowed an extra 15 minutes for a stop there about every third or fourth time I was in New York. I am not in show business and while our firm has a very large theatrical group, I am not part of it. However, I find the store intriguing and I love browsing around its shelves with the wide array of topics covered. There are even books on the business of being in show business. However, my interest is in absorbing what they have and it is rare when I did not get some idea to take away from my short visit. To “pay” for my pleasure and ideas I usually purchased a book of which I now have plenty in my bookshelves. I also have memories of people that I dragged into that little oasis of theatre wonderland. Ideas abound all around us, but it requires noticing and looking at them. I gave myself the luxury, or perhaps the necessity, of the Drama Book Shop.
The store was going to close because of a huge rent hike when Lin-Manuel Miranda and his Hamilton director and producer buddies and theater owner James L. Nederlander stepped up to buy the business. They vacated the premises, regrouped and are now in a newly rebuilt location also with coffee and snacks. It seems that The Drama Book Shop is more than a book store. It was a place where budding writers, producers and directors could hang out and fantasize about their future success and in Lin-Manuel’s case, fulfill their dreams. 20 years ago and just out of college, Lin-Manuel and his friends formed a small theater company in the basement of that store and went on to grow and grow afterward. It wasn’t a book shop, it was a second home for them. Well, they got to repay that debt and pay it forward by buying the shop and keeping it open for the future Lin-Manuels, Thomas Kails and Jeffrey Sellers and maybe even James Nederlander, How satisfying that must be for them.
And now I will still have a place to hang out in every once in a while and also get some more ideas. My ideas will not be for the theater, but to assist and better advise clients. In my role, ideas are currency and the more I get, the richer my vault becomes. The deposits compound and the withdrawals feed the compounding because ideas breed more ideas.
Next time you are in Manhattan check out this gem at 266 West 39th Street and here is a link to their site: https://www.dramabookshop.com/. Also have a snack at their café and then buy a logo hat or shirt, and wear them proudly.
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