Playbill Vault is in theater history today: July 8

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1913 Birthday of theater critic Walter Kerr, namesake of the Walter Kerr Theater on Broadway. In addition to his career as a critic, which took him from the New York Herald-Tribune to the New York Times and a Pulitzer Prize for Critics in 1978, he has also directed or written books and / or lyrics for six performances by Broadway, including Goldilocks and Put on and take off. His wife, playwright Jean Kerr, based his book and film Please don’t eat the daisies about their life together in the suburbs of Larchmont, New York.

1964 The Public Theater presents Shakespeare’s Othello on the Delacorte Stage as part of his Shakespeare in the Park season (then known as the New York Shakespeare Festival) in Central Park. Directed by Gladys Vaughan, the first woman to direct a New York Shakespeare Festival production (Richard II in 1961), the production starred James Earl Jones in the title role, with Mitchell Ryan as Iago and Julienne Marie as Desdemona. Jones would go on to play Othello in a Broadway production in 1982, opposite Christopher Plummer as Iago and Dianne Wiest as Desdemona.

1969 The audience presents Gerald Freedman’s adaptation of Pair Gynt, by Henrik Ibsen, at the Delacorte. The New York Shakespeare Festival production, directed by Freedman, featured music by John Morris and Freedman, choreography by Joyce Trisler, and a cast including Stacy Keach, Olympia Dukakis, Estelle Parsons and Judy Collins.

1980 Twenty years after being crowned King Arthur for Julie andrews‘Guinevere, Richard burton takes over the role in a revival of Camelot. The musical by Alan jay lerner and Frédéric loewe performs at Lincoln Center’s New York State Theater and co-stars Christine ebersole as the Lady of the King of Burton.

1982 A theatrical adaptation of the musical Seven wives for seven brothers opens up to withering criticism on Broadway. The actors bite the New York Times, but to no avail. The production ends after just five performances. Featured in the cast are Debby boone and David Carroll.

1991 Second Stage Theater presents Kevin Kling’s monologue At home and away at the Ginn-Cazale Theater, directed by David Esbjornson.

2000 New play by playwright Rob Ackerman Table top which deals with the very turbulent business of television commercials begins the Off-Off-Broadway performances. The Working Theater presentation received critical and audience approval and then moved on to an Off-Broadway run at the American Place Theater.

2002 Harlem song, George C. WolfeThe revue, tracing the social and musical history of New York’s Harlem neighborhood, opens at the legendary Apollo Theater on 125th Street.

2004 Guillaume finn and Rachel Sheinkin collaborate on a new musical that debuts at Barrington Theater Company. During this year, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Contest moved to Off-Broadway, then to Broadway, where he won the Tony Awards for Best Book in a Musical and Best Actor in a Musical (Dan Fogler).

2020 In a digital shift due to the pandemic, The Public Theater broadcasts the world premiere of Line. Co-written by Coal country writers Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, the play is based on first-person testimonials from New York City first responders during the COVID-19 crisis.

More birthdays today: Harry von tilzer (1872-1946). Pamela Brun (1917-1975). Anne Thomas (1920-1989). Barbara loden (1932-1980). Alison Fraser (born 1955). Kevin bacon (born 1958). Billy Crudup (born 1968).


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