Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: May 23

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1904 The southerners, with a score by black composer Will Marion Cook, is the first time an entire black choir has been used in a show with a white cast. Chief Eddie Leonard appears in blackface in the musical about the pre-war South. The New York Times is more impressed by the fact that the white cast members “mingled” with the black performers and that only some audience members shook in their seats during the curtain call, than by the production itself. same.

1921 “I’m Just Wild About Harry” is just one of Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle songs in shuffle along at the 63rd Street Music Hall in New York. Blake is on the piano for all 504 performances. In 2016, George C. Wolfe brought the musical back to Broadway with his show Shuffle Along, or the creation of the musical sensation of 1921 and all that followed.

1932 Lady Augusta Gregory dies in Galway, Ireland, aged 80. She was a strong supporter of the Irish drama movement and wrote several plays for the Abbey Theater, which she helped found. She co-wrote The pot of broth and Cathleen ni Houlihan with WB Yeats. His translation of Molierethe play is titled Kiltartan Moliere.

1946 A father tries to erase his son’s name in Terrence Rattiganit is Winslow Boy. The show plays 476 performances at the Lyric Theater in London.

1950 After a national tour, Elia Kazan’s original production of Tennessee Williams’ A tram called Désir returns to New York for a final limited engagement at the City Center. Uta Hagen stars as Blanche, opposite Anthony Quinn as Stanley.

1993 AR Gurneyit is later life opens Off-Broadway at Playwrights’ horizons. Don Cardin directs the comedy about two middle-aged people who meet at a cocktail party in Boston. Maureen Andermann, Charles Kimbrough, carol shellyand Antoine Heald star.

2000 David Aubrunit is Proof open to Manhattan Drama Club. Larry Brygman, Johanna day, Ben Shenkmanand Marie-Louise Parker star of the play which then extends to the Walter Kerr Theater on Broadway. It wins newcomer Auburn the Pulitzer Prize for Drama of the Year.

2001 Talent lives on: Five years later Lease composer Jonathan Larson is dead, his obscure musical from the early 1990s tick…tick…BOOM! gets a major Off-Broadway revival at the Jane Street Theater. It is then recorded and embarks on a national tour.

2016 Hadesville, Anaïs Mitchell’s folk opera about Orpheus’ mythical quest to defeat Hades and find his one true love Eurydice, opens Off-Broadway at the New York Theater Workshop. Rachel Chavkin directs the immersive production, which stars Nabiyah Be, Damon Daunno and Patrick Page. After additional tours in Canada and London, it opened on Broadway in 2019.

Today’s birthdays: james gleson (1882-1959); Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939); betty garrett (1919-2011); Barbara Barrie (born in 1931); Joan Collins (born in 1933); Charles Kimbrough (b. 1936); Randy Graf (born in 1955).

Watch the Musical’s Best Moments of 2016 Shuffle Along, or the creation of the musical sensation of 1921 and all that followed:


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