Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: July 28


1920 Two of Broadway’s greatest songwriting talents make their Main Stem debut: lyricist Lorenz Hart, 25, and composer Richard Rodgers, 18, open their first musical, Poor little girl from the Ritz, at the Central Theatre. The couple had missed the show’s out-of-town trial and were surprised to find during the New York opener that producer Lew Fields had cut half of their score and inserted new songs by Alex Gerber and Sigmund Romberg.

1998 An Evening with Jerry Herman opens at the Booth Theater on Broadway. With the composer himself, as well as Florence Lacey and Lee Roy Ramesthe musical review highlights some of Herman’s greatest songs from his musicals, shows that were hits (Hello Dolly!, Mom, La Cage Aux Folles) and those that were not (Mac & Mabel and Dear world). However, after failing to find an audience during the sluggish summer months, the show was forced to close at the end of August, about a month earlier than originally planned.

1999 Second Stage Theater present Cheryl L. Westit is Jar the ground in its new space on Eighth Avenue. The play’s cast on four generations of African-American women features Regina TaylorIrma P. Hall, and Lynne Thigpen. Marion McClinton directs the Off-Broadway production.

2000 Jesus jumped train A by Stephen Adly Guirgis opens on the center stage of Off-Off-Broadway. the LAByrinth Theater Companyproduction featuring John Ortiz alongside David ZayasElizabeth Canavan, Sal Inzerillo and Ron Cephas Jones is led by Philip Seymour Hoffmanfresh off his Broadway stint true west. The “jail/courtroom/comedy drama” moved to Off-Broadway’s East 13th Street Theater later that year.

2005 Seaside Music Theater in Daytona Beach, Florida presents the first major American professional production of Moby-Dick! Musical comedy. Cameron Mackintosh originally produced the original show – in which students from an all-girls school performed a musical based on the Herman Melville novel – in London’s West End in 1993. The show is by Robert Longden and Hereward Kaye.

2012 The world premiere of All thePulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkandramatization of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s first year in office, opens at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The cast includes Jack Willis as LBJ, Kenajuan Bentley as Martin Luther King Jr., and Pierre Frechette like Senator Hubert Humphrey. The play debuted on Broadway in 2014, starring Bryan Cranston in the lead role, winning Tony Awards for Best Play and Actor in a Play.

Today’s birthdays: Joe E. Brown (1892-1973). Rudy Vallee (1901-1986). Daryl Hickman (born in 1931). Jacques of Amboise (born in 1934). Sally Struthers (born in 1947). Georgia Engel (1948-2019). Michael Hayden (born in 1963). Stephen Lynch (born in 1971). John Michael Hill (born in 1985).


Production photos: Bryan Cranston in All The Way

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