Playbill Vault is today in theater history: August 17

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1871 Birthday of playwright Jesse Lynch Williams. During the 1917-1918 theatrical season, Williams’ play, Why get married, won the very first Pulitzer Prize for theater.

1893 Mae West was born. Although a 1930s movie star is best remembered, West started out in vaudeville, later becoming a stage actor and Broadway playwright. On stage, West has appeared in many plays which she also wrote. Among these were Small Diamond (1928), Man of pleasure (1928), and The constant sinner (1931). At the curtain speech of his 1944 play Catherine was awesome, West explained that “Catherine had 300 lovers. I did my best within hours.”

1920 Musical comedy Tickle me opens at the Selwyn Theater (now American Airlines Theater). It contains a book and lyrics by Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II and Frank Mandel, as well as music by Herbert Stothart. The comic book Frank Tinney stars, employing his usual way of speaking to the audience during the show. The plot follows a company of actors who travel to Tibet to shoot a movie.

1955 A Broadway cover of Thornton wilder‘s The skin of our teeth stars Georges abbott and Helene hayes as Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus, and Mary martin like Sabine. The production, initially staged in Paris as part of the “Salut à la France” project, takes place for a limited engagement of 22 performances.

1999 The Provincetown Repertory Theater presents the Macabre Illustrator and Author’s World Premiere Edouard Gorey, entitled Goreyphobia. Tony Award-winning conductor and orchestrator Pierre Matz composed the music, under the direction of Daniel Levans. The play of the “Master of Macabre”, known for his dark designs, turns into Gorey’s details, which opens Off-Broadway on October 16, 2000.

2006 Martin runs plays in “an improbable musical version of his life story” as Martin Short: Celebrity Becomes Me opens on Broadway at the Jacobs Theater. Designed by Short and Hair spray songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the cast also includes Brooks ashmanskas, Marie Birdsong, Capathia Jenkins, and Nicole parker.

2017 Disney’s pre-Broadway engagement Frozen The musical begins its performances at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Buell Theater. Caissie Levy plays Elsa opposite Patti Murin in the role of Anna. The couple reprized the roles when the production opened on Broadway in 2018.

2017 Neurosis opens at the DR2 Theater in a production directed by Andy Samberg, starring Jennifer Blood, two-time Tony Award nominee Joel Blum, Brennan Caldwell, Susan J. Jacks, Ian Michael Stuart, Morgan Weed and Kevin Zak. Musical comedy includes a book by Allan Rice, music by Ben Green and lyrics by Greg Edwards.

No more birthdays today Sidney michaels (1927-2011), Robert de niro (born 1943), Julian Fellowes (born 1949), Sean Penn (born in 1960).


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