Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: January 23
Happy birthday, Chita Rivera!
1933 Happy birthday, Chita Rivera—born today in Washington, D.C. The Tony-winning singer-dancer-actor stars in Cancan, West Side Story, goodbye birdie, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Visit, and plays Velma in the original Chicago. In 2005, she told the story of her stage career in the Broadway bio Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life.
1941 The unlikely combination of Kurt Well, Ira Gershwin, Gertrude Laurentand Danny Kaye make a hit of the musical lady in the dark, the psychological profile of a female business executive. It organizes 467 performances at the Alvin Theater.
1943 American drama critic Alexander Woollcott dies in New York. He has been a drama critic for The New York Times, The Herald and The Sun. Woollcott appeared as an actor in short time by SN Behrman and would have been the model for the character of Sheridan Whiteside in The man who came to dinner by George S. Kaufman and foam deer. His books include Mr. Dickens goes to the game, Enchanted Alleysand as you were. Woollcott was 56 years old.
1958 Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick make their Broadway debut as a team with the opening of their musical The beautiful body. There are only 60 performances, but the team returns with scores at fiddler on the roof, Fiorello!and She loves Me.
1964 Arthur Miller explores his failed marriage to Marilyn Monroe in his drama After the fallwhich opens at the ANTA Washington Square Theater, where it runs 208 performances. Jason Robards, Jr. and Barbara Loden star.
1975 Greg Antonacci sends a group of New York types in search of the elephant king of memory in his surreal Dance with Me, which transfers to Broadway from Off-Broadway. It organized 396 performances at the Mayfair Theatre.
1986 Jerome Kern goes to Hollywooda musical revue featuring the music of Jerome Kern, opens at the Ritz Theater and runs only 13 performances. The characteristics of the cast Elaine Delmar, Liz Robertson, Scott Holmesand Elizabeth Welch.
2005 Louisa May Alcottthe novel Little woman becomes a Broadway musical, with a score of Jason Howland and Mindi Dickstein and book by Allan Knee. Sutton Foster plays the role of Jo, with Maureen McGovern like Marme. It offers 137 performances.
2014 The world premiere of John Patrick Shanleyit is Outside Mullingar opens on Broadway at Manhattan Drama ClubSamuel J. Friedman Theater. Debra Messing and Brian F. O’Byrne star in the romantic comedy about a woman from rural Ireland who is determined to start a romance with the man who lives on the farm next door.
2019 The Broadway premiere of Great Horizons, a new play by Bess Wohl, opens at the Hayes Theater, directed by Leigh Silverman and presented by Second Stage Theatre. Featuring Jane Alexander and James Cromwell as a couple who abruptly decide to divorce, the play also features Michael UrieBen McKenzie, Priscille LopezMaulik Pancholy and Ashley Park.
More birthdays from today: Mary Phillips (1901-1975). Irene Sharaff (1910-1993). Swen Swenson (1930-1993). James Rado (born in 1932). Chita Rivera (born in 1933). Arlene Golonka (1939-2021). David Patrick Kelly (born in 1951). James L. Nederlander (b. 1960). Sean Palmer (born in 1973).