Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: December 23

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1893 dancer birthday Ann Pennington, who flaunts her legendary dimpled knee in numerous editions of The follies of Ziegfeld and The George White Scandals from 1913 to 1928.

1908 Eddie Foy plays a circus performer somehow drafted in at the last minute to play Shakespeare’s Melancholy Dane in the musical Mr. Hamlet from Broadway, which offers 54 performances at the Théâtre du Casino.

1913 David Belasco produces and directs The secret through Henry Bernstein. The 143 performances at the Belasco Theater star Frances Star, Robert Warwick, and Basil Gill.

1915 very good eddi, one of the earliest smash hits among the Princess Theatre’s intimate shows, opens a run of 341 performances. Jerome Kern and Schuyler Green wrote the score for the musical about newlyweds who get into trouble aboard a Hudson River cruise.

1921 Engaged couples travel The road to Dover for an overview of married life. This A. A. Milne comedy with the stars of the Théâtre Bijou Charles Cherry and crosses the season and beyond.

1935 English actor-manager Robert Lorraine dies at the age of 59 in London. He acted with people like Tree Herbert Beerbohm and George Alexander. D’Artagnan’s role in The three Musketeers was one of his greatest hits.

1944 The Comedy Team of Olsen & Johnson star in the goofy musical revue Laffing room only, to music by Burton Street. It opens at the Winter Garden and remains for 232 performances.

1958 A party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green brings together the famous writers of On the city, wonderful city, Bells are ringing, Peter Pan, and more at the John Golden Theater on Broadway to perform many of their classic songs and discuss their careers. The production ran for 82 performances and returned to Broadway in 1977.

1963 Vida Hope, British director of Sandy Wilsonit is The boyfriend, died at the age of 43.

1982 Eva Le Gallienne ends her seven-decade acting career on Broadway, appearing as the White Queen in a recreation of her 1932 hit, Alice in Wonderland. It only offered 21 performances at the Virginia Theater. Kate Burton plays Alice.

2007 Michael Kidd, 92, a theater and film choreographer and director who has won five Tony Awards and an honorary Oscar and whose choreography credits include guys and dolls on stage and on screen, died of cancer at his home in Los Angeles.

2016 American costume designer Willa Kim dies aged 99. She won the Tony Awards for her creations of The follies of Will Rogers and sophisticated ladies, and won nominations for his work on good times charley, Dance, sing and dance, and Diamond Legs.

More birthdays from today: burn the mantle (1873-1948). Buzz Miller (1923-1999). Carol Haney (1924-1964). Harry Guardino (1925-1995). Susan Lucci (born in 1946). Jeremy Davidson (born in 1971). Rory O’Malley 1980.

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Tony nominee Rory O’Malley kicks off pub crawl in autobiographical show at Joe’s Pub


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