Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: January 8

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1900 Blanche Bates, who will play Cho-Cho San in Lady Butterflystars of David Belasco Naughty Anthony. Olive Redpath co-starred in the comedy at the Herald Square Theatre.

1906 Thomas Dixonthe racist and historical revisionist drama of The clansman opens on Broadway, painting a sympathetic picture of the Ku Klux Klan. The drama has 51 performances, ironically at the Liberty Theater. It was later adapted for film by DW Griffith as The birth of a nation.

1911 Louise sings “I wonder how old am I?” in Gypsyand here is the answer: Born today in Seattle, Washington is Rose Louise Hovick, later known as Stripper Supreme Gypsy Rose Lee. She appeared on Broadway in star and garter, Ziegfeld Follies of 1936and other shows, and she [largely fictionalized] memory inspires musical Gypsy.

1912 José Ferrer was born in Puerto Rico. He plays many roles and directs many shows on Broadway, but is best known for his 1946 Cyrano de Bergerac.

1913 A good little devil adapted by austin fort of the French version by Rosemonde Gerard and Maurice Rostandplayed at the Théâtre de la République for 131 performances. Mary Pickford and Lilian Gish are overall.

1928 lighting designer Tharon Musser was born in Roanoke, Virginia. Musser’s work accents Shin Alley and Birthday’s partyamong others.

1959 It is Eighty in the shade at the Globe Theater in London. Sybil Thorndike stars in the Clemence Dane drama, directed by Lionel Harris.

nineteen eighty one Wilford Leachingthe hilarious and original staging of The Penzance Pirates moved to Broadway after a successful summer run at the Delacorte Theatre. Featuring Kevin Kline, Linda Ronstadt, George Rose, Rex Smith, Estelle Parsonand Tony Azitothe production ran to 787 performances, a Broadway record for Gilbert and Sullivan.

1989 42nd street ends on Broadway after 3,486 performances – the longest run ever by a producer David Merrick. The musical featuring the music of Harry Warren and Al Dubin opened in 1980 and received the Tony Award for Best Musical.

2005 A BBC broadcast from Jerry Springer: The Opera attracts 45,000 complaints, but also a respectable 1.8 million viewers in Britain.

2006 A Tony nominee fiddler on the roof the revival ends at the Minskoff Theater. At the farewell party Rosie O’Donnell (Golde) helps the co-star Harvey Fierstein (Tevye) shaves off the beard he grew for the role.

2012 Elton John and Lee Hallfor Best Musical at the 2009 Tony Awards, Billy Elliot, ends on Broadway after 1,304 performances. The four young actors who star in the title role each play a section of the final performance. At the curtain call, they are joined by the first three Billy Elliots (David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, Kiril Koulish) as well as several other past Broadway Billys.

2017 Cate Blanchett makes her Broadway debut in the Sydney Theater Company production The present at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Andrew Upton adapted Anton Chekhov’s play Platonov.

2019 Tarell Alvin McCraney’s choir boy opens Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater. The music-filled piece, which debuted Off-Broadway in 2013, follows the hopes and dreams of young singers at the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys, an institution dedicated to educating strong black men and ethics. The cast includes Jeremy Pope, chuck cooper, and Austin Pendleton.

More birthdays from today: Stanley Prager (1917-1972). larry stork (born in 1923). Giorgio Tozzi (1923-2011). Sales Soupy (1926-2009). Elvis Presley (1935-1977). Graham Chapman (1941-1989). david bowie (1947-2016). Harriet Harris (born in 1955). Jacquelyn Piro Donovan (born in 1965). Pierce Cravens (born in 1986). Cynthia Erivo (born in 1987).

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PHOTO RECAP: Billy Elliot’s Last Broadway Arc


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