Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: February 7

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1812 Author’s birthday Charles Dickens, whose A Christmas Carol has been adapted for the stage dozens of times. Other big stage hits adapted from his work include The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, The Edwin Drood Mystery, Pickwickand Olivier !

1883 composer’s birthday Eubie Blake, one of the first black composers to write a Broadway musical. His scores include shuffle along, Lew Leslie’s Blackbirdsand Swing it. His life and songs are the subject of the bestselling 1978 revue Eubie! He also appears as a character in George C. Wolfe’s 2016 musical Shuffle Along, or the creation of the musical sensation of 1921 and all that followed.

1922 Florence Eldridge stars in The cat and the canary. John WillardThe melodrama runs for 43 weeks at the National Theater in New York.

1923 Oscar Eagle directs Edith Day in the musical Wild flower. Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II designed the plot; Herbert Stothart and Vincent Youman wrote the music. Oscar Eagle steps.

1957 Cyril Ritchard plays a strange visitor to a Virginia home who pretends to be an alien judging Earth in Gore Vidalit is A visit to a small planet. The comedy has 388 performances at the Booth Theatre.

1959 Plays premiere at Joe Cino’s Caffe Cino in New York’s Greenwich Village. The space opened as a bar in December 1958 and became the birthplace of the Off-Off-Broadway movement under Cino’s flamboyant leadership. His productions examine subjects that no commercial producer of the time would tackle, particularly those with homosexual themes, and provide a launching pad for the early works of Sam Shepard, Lanford WilsonJean-Claude van Italy, Tom Eyen, and many other playwrights. After Cino’s suicide in 1967, his associates found Off-Broadway’s Circle Rep.

1968 Two estranged brothers reunite to settle their father’s estate to Arthur Miller The price at the Morosco Theater. Pat Hingle, Kate Reid, Harold Gary and Arthur Kennedy star. It has 429 performances.

1971 The trial of the Catonsville Nine, Saul Levitt and Daniel Berrigan’s play about the Berrigan brothers’ anti-war protest trial, opens at the Good Shepherd Faith Church in New York. The stars of the production Ed Flanders and Michael Kane and eventually transferred to the Lyceum Theater on Broadway.

1976 Philadelphia’s Shubert Theater, acquired by the Academy of Music in 1972, reopens with a revival of my lovely lady.

1980 movie star Janet Gaynor made his Broadway debut in Harold and Maud at the Martin Beck Theater. The production was panned by critics and ended two days later.

2002 movie star Kevin Bacon stars on Broadway as a former minister suffering from a crisis of faith in An almost holy image.

2012 A revival of Terrence McNallythe biographical drama embraced by music Master classstarring Tyne Daly as late-career diva Maria Callas, opens at the Vaudeville Theater in the West End. Stephen Wadsworth is once again directing Daly in the role, having done so in 2010 at the Kennedy Center and in 2011 on Broadway.

More birthdays from today: George Ade (1866-1944). Eddie Bracken (1915-2002). Pete Postlethwaite (1946-2011). Jack Viertel (1949). James Spader (born in 1960). David Bray (born in 1962). Eddie Izzard (born in 1962). Chris Rock (born in 1965). James Snyder (born in 1981). Tom Glynn-Carney (born in 1995). Matthew Gumley (born in 1997).

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A look at Audra McDonald, Billy Porter and more in Shuffle Along on Broadway


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