Designed by Herbert J. Krapp for the Chanin Brothers, the Lena Horne Theatre officially opened as the Mansfield Theatre in 1926. Between the years of 1933 and 1945, the venue fell into disuse until it was purchased by Michael Myerberg and subsequently leased to CBS for television productions under the name of CBS Studio 59.
In 1960, the building was renamed after the former New York Times theatre critic Brooks Atkinson. The Nederlander Organization acquired partial ownership in 1967 and full ownership in 1974.
The theatre was renamed in 2022 for Lena Horne, the Black performer and civil rights activist who was active on Broadway for nearly 50 years. The Lena Horne Theatre is the first Broadway venue to be named for a Black woman.
The Lena Horne Theatre is closest to the 50th Street subway stop on the C and E lines. The nearest bus stop is 8 Av/W 46th St. on the M20 and M104 lines.
Three popular restaurants next door to the Lena Horne Theatre, formerly the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, are Friedman's (American), Glass House Tavern (American), and Trattoria Trecolori (Italian). The theatre is also located a block northeast of Restaurant Row, a stretch of 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues lined with restaurants of all cuisine types.