Playbill Vault Today in Theater History: November 16

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1889 Playwright and director George S. Kaufman was born in Pittsburgh. Former journalist, Kaufman imposes himself with comedy Dulcy in 1921, and continued to write dozens of comedies, dramas and musicals, two or three per year until the 1940s, often in collaboration with Moss Hart and Edna Ferber. He won the Pulitzer Prize twice, for his work on I sing about you and You can’t take it with you, and wins his only Tony Award for directing the original Guys and dolls. His pieces include Coconuts and Animal Crackers (both for the Marx Brothers), Merton from the movies, the royals, I’d rather be right, once in a lifetime dinner at eight, and The man who came to dinner.

1908 Actor’s birthday Burgess Meredith, whose long Broadway career includes the original productions of High Tor, Winter cover, She don’t love me, and The remarkable Mr. Pennypacker. He also creates two memorable on-screen roles: the umbrella-wielding villain The Penguin in the TV series. Batman, and the hardened boxing coach who literally egg Sylvester stallone to glory in Rocky.

1922 A revival of Hamlet opens at the Sam Harris Theater. John barrymore in the title role is “the new and enduring Hamlet,” says The New York Times. The production, which was produced and directed by Arthur hopkins with sets by Robert edmond jones-perform 101 performances, smashing Edwin standlong-standing record of 100 performances.

1931 Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne have one of their biggest hits in The Theater Guild production Robert E. Sherwoodthe romantic comedy of Meeting in Vienna. The story of former royals now forced to work as taxi drivers and such shows 268 in the depths of the Depression at the Martin Beck TheaterMouseclick- and go on a European tour.

1935 Giant in the transformed racetrack. Billy Rose paid $ 340,000 for a circus motif and live acts to fill the stage. Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur write the book, Richard rodgers and Lorenz Hart lyrics and music, Jimmy durante stars, but the race only pays back half of the investment. Durante delivers one of his most memorable lines: When the police catch the big-nosed comic trying to get the main character out of the circus, they demand to know where he thinks he’s going with the elephant. Durante stands in front of the enormous pachyderm and answers innocently: “What elephant?”

1959 The hills of the theater district are teeming with The sound of music, at the opening of the musical at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater. Mary martin and Theodore Bikel star in the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II classic, with book of Howard lindsay and Russel crouse. The story follows the Von Trapp family and the appearance of their new housekeeper, who helps the family regain their courage in a time of overwhelming challenges. The show features 1,443 performances and includes the classics “Do-Re-Mi”, “My Favorite Things” and “Edelweiss”. The production is tied for the award for best musical comedy 1960 with Fiorello! In 1965, Julie andrews stars in an Oscar-winning film adaptation for Best Picture.

1964 A musical version of the 19th century melodrama The drunkard, renamed The capricious way, opens at New Lyric, Hammersmith. Jim dale is in the cast.

1968 Opening night of Zorba, John kander and Fred ebbthe musical adaptation of Zorba the Greek. Once violin on the roof tracks Herschel Bernardi and Maria Karnilova reteam for the musical, which plays the Imperial Theater.

nineteen eighty one Stephen Sondheim and Georges furthis musical We ride happily opens on Broadway at the Alvin Theater. Realized by Harold Prince, he stars Jim walton like Franklin, Ann morrison like Marie, Lonny’s Price like charlie, Jason Alexander like Joe, Terry finn like Gussie, and Sally klein like Beth. Over the following years, We ride happily is revised several times for regional, Off-Broadway and London productions.

1989 A revival of Gypsy, featuring Tyne daly like Rose, opens at the St. James Theater. The show, which co-stars Crista moore like Louise, is Frank Rich from the New York Times favorite musical, so a review of him includes the words “spooky torrents of laughter and tears.” Other reviews are lukewarm, but Daly wins a Tony for his performance, and the show plays a comeback engagement at the Marquis Theater.

2000 British actress Janie Dee made her New York stage debut in the role that won her the Olivier, Evening Standard and Critics Circle awards from London, playing a futuristic robot-actor in Alan ayckbournblack comedy, Comic potential, Off-Broadway opening at Manhattan Theater Club. The play, which takes place in the future, offers a world where actors and “actoids” are indistinguishable. An aspiring screenwriter gets more than he expected when he finds himself in love with his almost human main wife.

2003 Priscilla Lopez, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Jimmy Smits to star in Nilo Cruz Anna in the tropics at the Royal Theater. The production won Tony nominations for Best Play and Best Featured Actress for Lopez, and won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

2006 Mary poppins, the life-changing musical about a magical flying nanny for a family named Banks, opens on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theater. Ashley Brown plays the title role immortalized on screen by Julie Andrews. The stage adaptation includes both the original songs from the 1964 Disney film, with music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, as well as new songs by Georges stiles and Anthony drewe. The production runs for 2,619 performances.

2014 Hugh Jackman returns to Broadway in Jez Butterworth’s River, opening at Circle in the Square. Laura Donnelly and Cush Jumbo co-star in the mystery drama about a man who brings his new girlfriend to a secluded cabin for a night of trout fishing.

2017 The MCC Theater celebrates the opening of Jocelyn Bioh’s play School girls; Or, average African girls play Off-Broadway. The world premiere, directed by Tony winner Rebecca Taichman, marks playwright and actor Bioh’s professional playwright debut. schoolgirls takes place at an exclusive boarding school in Ghana, where Paulina is the queen bee, and explores themes of beauty, colorism and adolescence. The MCC also presented a return pledge of the Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk Award winning play in 2018.

More birthdays today: Halliwell Hobbes (1887-1962), Donna McKechnie (born in 1940), Paula Vogel (born in 1951), Elizabeth perkins (born in 1960), Michele Pawk (born in 1961), Martha plimpton (born 1970).

Learn more about the history of The sound of music:


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