A Quintessential New York Institution

Founded in 1917 by the Drama League, the Drama Book Shop became an independent book store in 1923 and since that time has been deemed a quintessential New York City cultural institution. Over the past 100 years, the Drama Book Shop has secured its reputation as the city’s best source for theatrical works, with over 8,000 plays regularly in stock. In 2011, the Drama Book Shop received a Tony Award® Honor for Excellence in the Theatre. Given since 1990, this award is bestowed upon individuals, organization, and institutions that have demonstrated profound achievement in the theatre but are ineligible in any of the established Tony categories.
 
The Drama Book Shop opened in its current home on West 39th Street in 2020 under new ownership. Long time friends and patrons of the bookstore Thomas Kail and Lin-Manuel Miranda, along with Jeffrey Seller and James L. Nederlander purchased the store from Rozanne Seelen, whose late husband Arthur Seelen had bought the store in 1958. Over the years, the store has moved several times, most recently located on West 40th Street. When the store opened there in December of 2001, a theatre troupe from Wesleyan University – Back House Productions – founded by Kail, John Buffalo Mailer, Neil Stewart and Anthony Veneziale became the resident theater company. They convened downstairs in the store’s 60-seat Arthur Seelen Theatre, and in 2002 they began to rehearse a new musical. Written by Mr. Miranda and directed by Mr. Kail, “In The Heights” went on to win several Tony Awards® in 2008.
 
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. 
 
The Drama Book Shop is a community space for everyone enthused by the Arts—students, fans, theatre professionals, and award-winning artists alike. Since 1917, the Drama Book Shop has been a mainstay of New York’s theatre scene, and with the support of the thousands of patrons that have passed through the shop’s doors, will continue to be for the next 100 years to come.

 

A Statement from The Drama Book Shop

We acknowledge that The Drama Book Shop sits on Manhattan, the ancestral land of the Lenape People.

The owners and staff of The Drama Book Shop are actively working toward equity and accessibility for Black and Indigenous people and all People of Color, as well as the LGBTQIA+ and disabled communities. We stand in solidarity with the AAPI community against race-based violence and hate crimes.

We will go beyond simply rejecting racism, hate and violence and will work to build an equitable community and create a space that fosters a sense of belonging, safety, support, learning, and joy through theatre.

We will be purposeful and intentional in uplifting minority and historically marginalized groups through The Drama Book Shop’s offerings and programming. We want everyone to feel welcome and proud to be part of The Drama Book Shop community; a place that for over a century served as a gathering place for those who wanted not only to find themselves in the words of others but to share themselves through writing. We commit to advancing these principles today and every day, and we encourage our patrons and the theatre community at large to do the same.