Playbill Vault is in theater history today: July 23


1938 Helen Hayes is named the Greatest Performer on the Stage when The New York Sun prints its list of Great Performers. Compiled after interviewing 150 notable people (mostly in the theater industry), the list names Katharine Cornell as a finalist. Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne’s pair are third, and the others on the list include John Barrymore, Maude Adams, and John Gielgud.

2013 Louis Ozawa Changchien, Katharine powell and David Rasche star of the world premiere of Kenneth Lin Warrior class, Off-Broadway opening at the McGinn / Cazale Theater as part of Second Stage TheaterUptown series. Evan Cabnet directs the drama about a member of the assembly who shows up for Congress and is forced to face the ghosts of his college days.

2015 Kyle Jean-Baptiste, who was cast in the Broadway revival of Wretched after graduating from Baldwin Wallace University, made history when he became Jean Valjean at age 21. Jean-Baptiste is the youngest actor and the first black actor to play the role on Broadway. He died on August 29 of the same year, shortly after leaving production, after falling from an fire escape. Watch his audition video, in which he sings “Bring Him Home”, above.

2017 Laurie Metcalf, Condola Rashad and Chris Cooper bow out in Lucas Hnath-inspired Ibsen A doll’s house, part 2. Metcalf’s performance as Nora earned her her first Tony Award; she won again the following year for Three great women.

2018 Young Jean Lee made history as the first Asian-American playwright produced on Broadway when her play Straight White Men opens at the Helen Hayes Theater. Armie Hammer, Kate Bornstein, Paul Schneider, Josh Charles and Ty Defoe all make their Broadway debuts in the production.

2019 Annie Golden is playing a has-been theater that gets a new role in her life as Broadway Bounty Hunter opens at the Greenwich House Theater on Off-Broadway. The crime comedy features a score by contestant Tony Joe Iconis, who co-wrote the book with his Be cooler collaborator Jason SweetTooth Williams and Lance Rubin.

Today’s birthdays: Montague Glass (1877-1934). Arthur Traitor (1894-1975). Helene martin (1909-2000). Larry shue (1946-1985). Woody harrelson (born 1961). Philippe Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014). Michelle Williams (born 1979). Krysta Rodriguez (born 1984). Daniel radcliffe (born in 1989).

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