Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: January 6


1768 Birthday of John Durang, identified by scholars as one of the first American-born professional dancers and actors. He became known for his “Dwarf Dance”, “Sailor’s Hornpipe”, and circus appearances, as well as acting roles in Philadelphia (then America’s theater capital), New York, and touring the early states. -United. Durang is also a puppeteer, clown, singer and tightrope walker. He is a distant ancestor of author and performer Christopher Durang.

1902 The Toreador is actually a fired servant who tries his hand at bullfighting, gets involved in the plot of a bomb-crazed anarchist, and sings too! The musical plays the Knickerbocker Theater arena for 146 performances. Music is provided by Ivan Caryl and Lionel Moncton. Francois Wilson is the man behind the cape.

1930 An American soldier on leave meets a chorus girl on Waterloo Bridge. Robert E. Sherwooddrama stars Glenn Hunter and june walker. Winchell-Smith directs all 64 performances.

1937 walter huston stars in othello at the New Amsterdam Theater in New York. Director Robert Edmond Jones designed the Central City, Colorado Opera production before overseeing its East Odyssey.

1950 Burgess Meredith stars in the musical fantasy opening night Happy as Larry, which had been a big hit in London, but suffered a three-performance flop on Broadway.

1954 twelfth night directed by Denis Carey is at the Old Vic in London. The cast includes John Neville, Claire Bloom, and Richard Burton.

1963 Lionel Bart’s hit musical in the West End Olivier ! arrives in New York at the Imperial Theatre. A cast including Georgia Brown (Nancy), Clive Revill (Fagin), Barry Humphries (Mr. Sowerberry) and a pre-Monkees Davy Jones (The Artful Dodger) present Broadway audiences with songs like “Where Is Love?” “Consider yourself” and “As long as he needs me”. The production has 774 performances.

1974 Liza Minnell opens its 23-performance concert engagement at the Winter Garden Theatre. The evening is directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, features original musical material written by Fred Eb and John Kander, and includes Marvin Hamlisch as music coordinator.

1975 Bill Gunnit is Black Picture Show runs at the Vivian Beaumont Theater for 41 performances.

1983 Kate Nelligan plays the role of a former member of the French resistance who searches for meaning in his post-war life in David Harethe drama, Many, which opens at the Plymouth Theater and runs 92 performances.

1990 Michael Shawn, choreographer for Diamond Legs, receives a $175,000 settlement from the Dutch. Shawn claimed he was fired because he tested positive for the AIDS virus.

2005 Richard Foreman, the respected midtown Manhattan theater author, unveils his latest cerebral vaudeville, The gods are pounding my head (Lumberjack messiahs) at the Off-Off-Broadway Ontological Theater. The theater says it will be the last in a series that dates back to the 1960s.

2017 Harold Prince conducts a revival of Leonard Bernstein’s musical Candid for the New York City Opera, with Linda Lavin, Gregg Edelman and Jay Armstrong Johnson. Prince once won a Tony Award for directing a Broadway revival of the musical in 1974.

More birthdays from today: bonnie franklin (1944-2013). Rowan Atkinson (born in 1955). Cara Seymour (born in 1964). AR Rahman (born in 1966). Geneviève O’Reilly (born in 1977). Eddie Redmayne (born 1982).


See Jay Armstrong Johnson and Linda Lavin in NY City Opera’s production of Candide

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