Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: November 3


1916 A new play by a new playwright opens at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village, New York, away from Broadway and Times Square, but the play and the author will soon revolutionize American theater. The game is Heading east for Cardiff, the first for author Eugene O’Neill, to eventually become the only American playwright to win the Nobel Prize.

1927 The Richard rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical A Connecticut Yankee, based on Mark Twain time travel story A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court, opens at the Vanderbilt Theater on Broadway for a series of 421 performances, one of the team’s longest. William gaxton stars like the Yankee. The score features “Thou Swell” and “On a Desert Island”.

1950 Actor Lynn Fontanne, on her way to the theater in Portland, Maine, where she and her husband Alfred Lunt appear in I know my love, falls on the steps of his hotel, breaking his wrist. She continues anyway.

1953 The journey to Bountiful, a new piece of Horton foote, opens at Henry Miller’s Theater. Lillian gish, Jo Van Fleet and Eva Marie Saint are part of the cast of the play, which is directed by Vincent J. Donehue. It only features 39 performances, but is made into an Oscar-winning film starring Geraldine Page in 1985, and received critically acclaimed Off-Broadway covers in 2006 with Lois Smith, and on Broadway in 2013 featuring Cicely tyson.

1960 Tammy grimes is the title character in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, which opens at the Winter Garden Theater. Meredith willson contributes music and lyrics to Richard Morris‘book in the musical, directed by Dore Schary. Pierre Gennaro choreographies. The show receives mixed reviews, but features 532 performances.

1982 Critics of the broadcast media are rejected by the New York Drama Critic’s Circle as they vote against a proposal allowing them to vote for the NYDCC Awards. The policy is still in effect.

2002 Carol channing, John cullum, Jane connell, Gordon connell, and a host of other theater legends gather at the Players’ Club in New York City to salute Playbill’s Louis Botto on the publication of his Broadway history book, In this theater, based on its Playbill column.

2004 A theatrical adaptation of the musical White christmas opens at the Curran Theater in San Francisco with Brian d’Arcy James, Anastasia Barzee, Jeffry Denman, and Meredith Patterson sing and dance the Irving Berlin classics edited by Walter Bobbie. The production hit Broadway in 2008, with a cast directed by Patterson, Stephen Bogardus, Kerry O’Malley, and Jeffry Denman.

2004 James H. Binger, 88, president and co-founder of Jujamcyn Theaters, which operates Broadway theaters including the Al Hirschfeld and the St. James, dies at his home in Minneapolis.

2005 Michel Cerveris and Patti LuPone star in an unusual revival of Sweeney todd. Under the direction (soon to be a Tony winner) of John doyle, the 10 cast members also serve as the orchestra. LuPone wows audiences with his tuba talent.

2010 Jerry Bock, who composed the indelible score of violin on the roof, and collaborated with a longtime creative partner, the lyricist Sheldon harnick, on many other shows in 15 prolific years from 1956, died at the age of 81. Fiddler, Musical credits from Bock on Broadway included Mr. Wonderful, Fiorello!, Net, She loves Me, The Apple tree, and The Rothschilds.

2011 Jon Robin Baitz‘s Other desert towns– featuring Stockard Channing, Stacy keach, Rachel griffiths, Judith Lumiere, and Thomas sadoski– opens on Broadway at the Booth Theater. The acclaimed drama about a wealthy Republican family plagued by their past has already sold out on Broadway Lincoln Center Theater under the direction of Joe mantello, who is returning for the Broadway production. Light wins a Tony Award for her performance as acidic alcoholic aunt Silda.

2013 Downtown Encores’ Cotton club parade hit broadway like After midnight, a celebration of Duke Ellington’s years at the Cotton Club using his original arrangements. The production will feature a series of special guests, starting with Fantasia Barrino and later including Patti LaBelle, Vanessa Williams, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Toni Braxton and kd lang. The production will be nominated for seven Tony Awards 2014, with Adriane Lenox nominated for Best Actress in a Musical and Warren Carlyle winning Best Choreography.

2014 Celia Keenan-Bolger stars as a mother who finds out her son is a reincarnated great Buddhist teacher at the world premiere of Sarah ruhl‘s The oldest boy, Off-Broadway opening at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater.

2016 Lynn Nottage’s New York Premiere Sweat opens Off-Broadway at the Public Theater. The play about factory workers worried about layoffs in their Pennsylvania hometown moved to Broadway the following year and won the Pulitzer Prize for theater.

More birthdays today: Bert released (1919-1994). Ken berry (1933-2018). Terrence McNally (1939-2020). Lois Smith (born 1930).

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