Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: May 11


1903 In runaways, with a book by Addison Burkhardt and a score by Raymond Hubbell, the hero is transported to a tropical island and will be made king. The problem? He must marry the queen. The show runs for nearly 21 weeks at the Casino Theater on Broadway.

1920 American author, critic and playwright William Dean Howells dies in New York. In his review, he defended the work of James A. Herne and Clyde Fitch. His pieces include Yorick’s love, The Garrotersand The Mouse Trap (not to be confused with the play of the same name by Agatha Christie). He was 83 years old.

1938 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart contribute music and lyrics to I married an angel at the Shubert Theater on Broadway. George Balanchine choreographs the story of a banker who seeks Mrs. Right from above. Denis King and Vera Zorina are presented for the 42-week race.

1959 carol burnet begins the path to his Broadway debut as Once upon a time there was a mattress Off-Broadway premieres at the Phoenix Theater. George Abbott lead, and Mary Rodgers and Marshal Barer provide the songs. After a six-month run at the Phoenix, the production moved to the Alvin Theater on Broadway, earning Tony nominations for Burnett’s performance and for Best Musical.

1965 Liza Minnelli made her Broadway debut at the age of 19 in Flora, the red menace, opening at the Alvin Theater. Minnelli won a Tony Award for her performance in the title role in the musical, which has songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb, and directed by George Abbott.

1983 Alan Lay Lerner and Charles Strouse adapt the play by Robert E. Sherwood Fool’s Delight in the musical Dance a little closer, opening at the Minskoff Theater. Len Cariou, Liz Robertson and George Rose star. After 25 previews, it plays a single performance, ending on opening night.

1994 A musical comedy revival Fat opens on Broadway at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Featured in director-choreographer Jeff Calhounthe actors are Megan Mullally, Rosie O’Donnelland Billy Porter.

1999 A singer Gladys Chevalier joins the cast of the Leiber and Stoller magazine, Smokey Joe Coffee. She ends her stint in the stage show on May 22, but returns for another attempt on August 17-29.

2002 The original London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and TS Eliotit is Cats closes after a record-breaking 21-year run, on the anniversary of its opening night.

2005 West End opening night for a hit musical Billy Elliot. With a score of Elton John, the production won four Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical. It remained at the Victoria Palace Theater for nearly 11 years, playing a total of 4,600 performances.

2010 Doris Eaton Travisformer Ziegfeld Follies dancer who inspired 21st century audiences with her courage, good will and sophisticated footwork at 12 of 13 annual Easter Bonnet competition performances for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, dies at 106 year.

2012 Paul Big leads the cast of the world premiere of Jean Guareit is Are you there, McPhee? at the McCarter Theater in New Jersey. sam buntrock directs the play about a playwright who gets sucked into the tangle of lives of a pair of abandoned children.

2016 Bobby Steggert stars as legendary French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in new musical My Paris, opening at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Connecticut. Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, it has music and lyrics by Charles Aznavour, book by Alfred Uhry, and English lyrics and musical adaptation by Jason Robert Brown.

Today’s birthdays: Irving Berlin (1888-1989). Martha Graham (1894-1991). Phil Silver (1911-1985). Natasha Richardson (1963-2009). Death Sahl (born in 1927). Boyd Gaines (born in 1953). George Dvorsky (born in 1959). Charlotte of Amboise (born in 1964).

Watch Tony winner Billy Porter in the revival of Fat:

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