Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: December 17


1926 Beatrice Lily and Charles Winner are featured in the musical review Oh please at the Fulton Theatre. It organizes 75 performances.

1927 Sirocco was memorable for being one of Cowardly Christmas‘s less successful businesses. London’s Daly’s Theater is hosting just 28 performances of the drama, with Ivor Novello, Georges Coloris, and Ada King in the cast.

1952 Geraldine McEwan and Leslie Phillips swear For better for worse… at the Comedy Theater in London. Arthur Watkyn’s playful look at a young couple looking for a home during a housing shortage has 607 performances. John Counsell conducts.

1953 Your Franchot plays the role of a psychoanalyst who becomes comically entangled with his patients in Oh man! Oh women! Written and directed by Edward Chodorov, with a cast that includes Anne-Jackson, larry blyde, Betsy von Furstenberg, and young concert, the show ran for nearly 48 weeks at Henry Miller’s Theatre.

1980 Broadway opening night for Amedee, Peter Shaffer‘s drama about the tragic difference between talent and genius. Tim Curry plays Mozart and Ian McKellen plays Salieri in the play, which opens at the Broadhurst Theater and runs 1,181 performances. The 1984 film version won eight Oscars including Best Picture.

1998 The new musical Parade, directed by Hal Prince, opens, featuring Carolee Carmello and the end Brent Carver. Jason Robert Brown composed the music and lyrics, and Alfred Uhry wrote the book. The plot concerns the true story of Leo Frank, a Jewish man wrongfully accused of murder and lynched by an angry Atlanta mob in 1915. Parade won Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Book of a Musical. It was named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics Circle, but only ran 85 performances.

2008 Emmy Award Winner Jeremy Piven abruptly leaves the acclaimed Broadway revival of David Mametit is Accelerate the plow, citing high levels of mercury. The vacant role of Bobby Gould is filled first by Norbert Leo Butz and then William H. Macy.

2009 Martin Crimp’s adaptation of Moliereit is The Misanthrope, with Oscar nominee Keira Knightley, opens at the Comedy Theater in the West End. Directed by Thea Sharrock, the production transports the action from 17th century Paris to modern-day London.

2017 Shakespeare’s Globe production of Claire van Kampen Farinelli and the King opens on Broadway at the Belasco Theater. Mark Rylance stars as King Philip V of Spain, who, suffering from insomnia, enlists the castrato Farinelli to comfort him with song.

Today’s birthdays: Tree Herbert Beerbohm (1852-1917). Erwin Piscator (1893-1966). Katina Paxinou (1900-1973). Tommy Steel (born in 1936). Susan Watson (born in 1938). New Nelson (1939-2017). Eugène Lévy (born in 1946). Bill Pullman (born in 1953). Sarah Paulson (born in 1974).

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