Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: October 13

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1903 by Victor Herbert Girls in Toyland opens on Broadway, featuring the songs “I Can’t Do the Sum”, “Go To Sleep”, “Toyland”, and “The March of the Wooden Soldiers”. The latter title is adopted as the title of a 1930s film version, featuring Laurel and Hardy.

1924 Ferenc Molnarthe comedy The guard opens on Broadway with Alfred Lunt, Lynn Fontanneand Dudley digs. It has 496 performances.

1955 Georges Axelrodsocial climbing comedy in the business world, Will success spoil Rock Hunter? opens on Broadway with a cast that includes Walter Matthau, Orson bean, Jayne Mansfieldand Tina Louise. It has 444 performances.

1958 Anne Bancroftstar of stage and screen, in fact auditioned for the Actor’s Studio last week. According to Leonard Lyon’s column, which ran today, “star or no star, she still had to audition. She made it.” Bancroft is remembered for her portrayal of both stage (1960) and film (1962) teacher Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker. She won both a Tony Award and an Academy Award for the role.

1962 Edward Albeeit is Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opens at the Billy Rose Theater (now the Nederlander). Uta Hagen, Arthur Hill, Melinda Dillonand George Grizzard are the actors who perform the three-and-a-half-hour show six times a week. The show is so difficult and long that a separate cast does matinee performances. Woolfabout two couples who reveal their personal secrets, staged 664 performances in New York before heading to London with Hagen and Hill in tow, where it staged 428 performances.

1964 Peter Brookthe production of Physicistsby Friedrich Durrenmatt, opens at the Martin Beck Theatre. The drama, about a group of scientists who hide out in an insane asylum, stars the husband and wife team Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn. The show has 55 performances.

1987 Terrence McNally gets a shiny moment at Manhattan Drama Club like his Frankie and Johnny in Moonlight opens. The story involves a middle-aged cook and waitress who sleep together one night and find themselves deciding whether or not to be involved. Kathy Bates stars with Kenneth Welsh in production, which works for 533 performance. The play was made into a film in 1991 with Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer, and finally arrived on Broadway in 2002 with Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci.

1998 Rarely produced william shakespeare cheek Pericles sees a production at Off-Broadway’s The public theater. The editing is led by Brian Kulick and the stars Viola Davis and Jay Gode. The Public also produced the last major New York production of the play in 1991, with Michael Greif direction Campbell-Scott in the title role.

1999 screen star Ally Sheedy reprises the title role in the rock musical Off-Broadway about a sex reassignment surgery gone wrong, Hedwig and the Angry Thumb. Sheedy’s portrayal of Hedwig is the first and last time a woman played the title role in the production. Sheedy stays with the show for only a few stormy weeks, until Matt McGrath takes office on January 6.

2005 British playwright Harold Pinter won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

2005 Former Cheech and Chong Comedian Cheech Marin made his Broadway debut with Latinologists, Rick Najeracollection of comedic monologues about the Latin American experience in America.

2007 Musical comedy Revenge of a Blonde premieres on MTV. It had been filmed live at the Palace Theatre, in its entirety, during the September 18 performance.

2010 America’s angsty teens go wild on Broadway as Alex Wood and Michael Friedmanit is Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson opens at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater. Benjamin Walker stars as the seventh president of the United States, portrayed as a rebellious rock star leading a nation through his troubled teens. The 90-minute musical is equal parts sketch comedy, underground rock concert and revisionist history lesson.

2011 Katori HallOlivier Award-winning drama The top of the mountainfeaturing Angela Bassette and Samuel L. Jackson, opens on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater. Set in a motel room in Memphis on April 3, 1968, the play reimagines the events leading up to the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

2012 George and Martha return to Broadway in a new production by Edward Albee Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?opening 50 years to the day from its Broadway premiere in 1962. This time, Tracy Letts and Amy Morton play the college town husband and wife, in the staging first seen in late 2010 at Steppenwolf Theater Companyis at home in Chicago. The production won three 2013 Tony Awards: best actor in a play (Letts), best direction in a play (Pam MacKinnon) and Best Revival of a Play.

2016 After a sold-out world premiere Off-Broadway, Simon Stephens Heisenberg opens on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater at the Manhattan Theater Club. Denis Arndt and Mary-Louise Parker reprise their roles as two strangers who embark on a journey that will change their lives.

Today’s birthdays: Lily Langtry (1853-1929). Cornel Wilde (1915-1989). Albert The Hague (1920-2001). Frank D. Gilroy (1925-2015). Lenny Bruce (1925-1966). Cliff Gorman (1936-2002). Anita Alvarez (born in 1920). Melinda Dillon (born in 1939). Paul Simon (born in 1941). George Lee Andrews (born in 1942). Karen Akers (born in 1945). John Patrick Shanley (born 1950).

Watch the best moments from the 2010 Broadway production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson:


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