Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: March 10
In 2019, be cooler opens on Broadway.
1925 Ernest Truex is The fell guy for a group of dealers. The James Gleason-George Abbott comedy runs at the Eltinge Theater for almost three months.
1926 East Lynne, based on the popular novel of the same title, opens at the Greenwich Village Theatre. It only ran 35 performances, but a 1930s film adaptation received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.
1940 playwright’s birthday David Rabewhich recounts the anguish of the Vietnamese era in Banners and Pavlo Hummel’s basic training and returns to the 1980s with a searing vision of the outskirts of Hollywood in Hurlyburly.
1953 A revival of the Gershwins Porgy and Bess opens a run of 305 performances at the Ziegfeld Theater that lasts longer than the 1935 original. The revival stars Leontyne Price, Irving Barnes, Uryle Leonardand Calloway Cabin.
1954 A posthumous revival of Kurt Wellit is The Threepenny Opera turns out to be his greatest success. The revival of the Théâtre de Lys, translated by Marc Blitzstein and led by Carmen Capalbo, originally ran for 96 performances. Due to popular demand, the production returned to the same theater the following year and ran for seven years, becoming Off-Broadway’s longest-running show (a record eventually surpassed by The Fantastic). Production stars include Bea Arthur, Lotte Lenya, Scott MerrillJoSullivan, John Astinand Charlotte Rae.
1959 Sweet bird of youth plays at the Martin Beck Theater in New York. Geraldine Page plays the role of an aging actor with Paul Newman as his paid escort alongside Torn tear, Diana Hylandand Sidney Blackmer. The Tennessee Williams plays for 375 performances. Elia Kazan steps.
1965 by Neil Simon The odd couple opens on Broadway at the Plymouth Theatre. Art Carney and Walter Matthau play mismatched roommates Felix and Oscar. It runs for 966 performances and is later turned into a hit film and TV series.
1974 Director Hal Prince turns Leonard Bernstein’s 1956 operatic musical based on Voltaire’s short story into a hit with a new adaptation that includes an edited tracklist (with cuts and new songs added) and a new book by Hugh Wheeler. After a well-received Off-Broadway run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Candid opens at the Broadway Theater in a raucous production that transforms the traditional proscenium stage into a black box with play spaces throughout the theatre. Prince’s revision of the musical would become the model upon which most future productions of the now beloved work would be built.
1975 Critics and audiences don’t know what to make of Richard O’Brien‘s London import, a bizarre sci-fi musical titled The Rocky Horror Show. It offers only 45 performances at the Belasco Theater. Tim Curry, Meatloafand O’Brien also star in the film version, which becomes one of the all-time hit cult classics.
1999 Richard Chamberland and Laura Benanti join the cast of The sound of music rebirth as new Captain Von Trapp and Maria Rainer, following the departures of Michael Siberry and Rebecca Luker. They close the production, which ends on June 20 after 533 performances.
2000 Performances begin at Michael John La Chiusabroadway musical The Wild Party featuring Toni Collette, Mandy Patinkinand Eartha Kitt. Coincidentally, this is the second New York musical this season to be based on this 1928 poem by Joseph Moncure Mars. Off Broadway Manhattan Drama Club scenic composer-lyricist-librettist Andre Lippathe version with the same title.
2002 Edward Albeecontroversial drama The goat or who is Sylvia? opens on Broadway. The story of a man who destroys his marriage and his life when he falls in love with a goat wins the 2003 Tony Award for Best Play.
2014 Robert Askin‘ irreverent comedy hand to god opens Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theater. Steven Boyer stars as Jason, a soft-spoken Christian Puppet Ministry student, who is possessed by his rude sock puppet. The production transfers to Broadway the following year.
2016 Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams star in David Harrower’s Broadway debut Blackbird at the Belasco Theater. Joe Mantello directs the play about a 27-year-old woman who finds and confronts the man who sexually assaulted her when she was 12. The play was previously seen in New York in a 2007 Off-Broadway production, also directed by Mantello, with Daniels opposite Alison Pill.
2019 Musical by Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz be cooler opens at the Lyceum Theatre. The show is coming to Broadway with a cult following, thanks to the popularity of the cast recording of its world premiere in 2015 at New Jersey’s Two River Theater. Will Roland stars as Jeremy, an average teenager who takes a pill that’s supposed to make people more—you guessed it—chiller.
2019 by Tori Sampson So pretty hurts, ugly must be a muhfucka premieres at Playwrights Horizons, directed by Leah C. Gardiner and choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly. A Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist, the piece is a contemporary riff on a West African fable brimming with live music and dance. In the village of Affreakah-Amirrorkah, no one doubts that Akim is the only true perfect beauty, not even his jealous classmates. But they will be damned before they let her be the leading lady in this story.
More birthdays from today: Barry Fitzgerald (1888-1961). Sam Jaffe (1891-1984). Claire Boothe Luce (1903-1987). Heywood Hale Brown (1918-2001). David Rabe (born in 1940). Luba Lisa (1941-1971) Marc Lamos (born in 1946). Jasmine Guy (born in 1962). Edie Brickell (born in 1966). Anna D. Shapiro (born in 1966). Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (born in 1976). Adam Blanshay (born in 1981). Rafe Spall (born in 1983). Olivia Wilde (born in 1984).