Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: November 17

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1901 Birthday of actor/director/producer/teacher/coach Lee Strasberg in Austria-Hungary. As founder of the Group Theater and artistic director of the Actors Studio, he is the godfather of the “Method” style of acting and influences actors in the second half of the 20th century.

1902 American novelist Winston Churchill (no relation) shoots his best-selling novel, Crisis, in a play in four acts. James K. Hackett plays, directs and produces at Wallack’s in New York.

1903 Guillaume Gillet stars in James M. Barrieit is The Admirable Crichton at the Lyceum Theater for 144 performances.

1921 In addition to its popularity Follies, Florenz Ziegfeld open the naughtiest Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic at the New Amsterdam Roof Theatre, which he renamed Dance of Follies. It features Leon Errol, Will Rogers, and the dance crew of Carlos and Inez.

1930 things are soft and low for Fanny Brice in the revue, produced and with lyrics by her husband Billy Rose. Arthur Traitor and George Jessel are also in the cast.

1960 advice and consent, Allen Drurypolitical bestseller, is adapted for the stage by Loring Mandel. Franklin Schaffner leads a cast that includes Ed Begley, Richard Kiley, Kevin McCarthy, and Bernard Hughes.

1962 Sid Caesar stars in little me, a parody of the memoir of a poor ambitious girl by Patrick Dennis, adapted for the stage by neil simon. The songs are from Cy Coleman and Caroline Leigh. Virginia Martin and Nancy Andrews are part of the cast dancing on Bob Fossethe choreography of. The show has 257 performances. little me was later revived on Broadway in productions featuring Victor Garber (1981) and Martin runs (1998).

1991 The wide-eyed, blue-faced madness starts like The Blue Man Band: Hits opens at the Astor Place Theatre. The show features stunts, comedy skits, and loud music of Blue Man’s own creation. Described by Variety as “Mummenschanz on acid”, the show attracted large, acclaimed and sold-out audiences and later opened productions in Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas and Orlando.

1994 Glenn Close gets rave reviews in sunset boulevard, new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical opening at the Minskoff Theatre. She plays forgotten movie star Norma Desmond as she lives her later life. Alain Campbell plays the writer who takes a very unlucky turn in his life, with Georges Hearn playing his servant. Betty Buckley and Elaine Paige were the next Normas. The show ended in 1997 after 977 performances. In February 2017, Close returned as Norma Desmond for a limited Broadway run.

2002 Mark LinnBaker and Jay Gode play the title roles in the children’s musical, A year with frog and toad, opening at the New Victory Theater in Times Square. The unlikely hit went so well that it moved to Broadway and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical in 2003.

2003 Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn stars in a solo adaptation of Allan Gurganusthe best seller of Oldest Confederate widow tells all. Unfortunately, she can only say it once, because it ends on opening night.

2004 Oskar Eustis landed one of the most influential positions in community theatre, that of artistic director of The public theater/New York Shakespeare Festival. The artistic director of Trinity Rep of Rhode Island, Eustis is only the fourth person to hold the position of public theater since its founding in the 1950s, following founder Joseph Dad, JoAnne Akalaitis, and George C. Wolfe.

2005 Mary Friedman recreates his London performance in the lead role of the gothic musical The woman in white, with a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Zipel. Revolutionary computerized ensemble projections are by William Dudley. The show has 109 performances at the Marquis Theatre.

2008 John Leguizamo, Cedric the animator, and Haley Joel Osment star in a Broadway revival of David Mametit is American buffalo at the Belasco Theater. robert falls tells the story of a group of petty crooks who plot to steal a valuable collection of coins. The production lasts only one week and ends on November 23 after 20 previews and 8 regular performances.

2011 A revival of Cowardly Christmasthe 1930 comedy Private life, featuring that other the theatre’s famous balcony scene, opens on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre. Kim Cattrall and Paul Big featured, edited by Richard Eyre.

2013 Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvakit’s music A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, featuring Jefferson May as eight different members of the doomed D’Ysquith family, opens on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Directed by Darko Tresnjak, the cast also includes Bryce Pinkham, Lisa O’Hare, Lauren Worsham. It won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and had 905 performances.

2014 Bill Condonthe reinvented production of Bill Russell and Henri Kriegerthe short-lived 1997 musical side show opens on Broadway at the St. James Theatre. Erin Davie and Emilie Padget star as conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton. The show once again failed to attract an audience and ended after 56 performances.

2019 The Legacy, Playwright Matthew Lopez’s Olivier Award-winning exploration of gay history officially opens at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Loosely inspired by EM Forster End Howards, the two-part play is set in New York a generation after the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 80s and 90s, as a group of queer people struggle to connect with the past and retain a sense of history. Reprising their performances, original London cast members Andrew Burnap as Toby Darling, John Benjamin Hickey as Henry Wilcox, Paul Hilton as Morgan/Walter, Samuel H. Levine as Adam/Leo and Kyle Soller (who won the Olivier Award for his work in the play) as Eric Glass.

More birthdays from today: Frank Fay (1897-1961). Peter Cook (1937-1995). Brent Carver (1951-2020). Martin Scorsese (born in 1942). rick elice (born in 1956). Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (born in 1958).

Watch the best moments from the 2014 Broadway production side show:


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