Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: October 29


1882 Birth of the French playwright Jean Giraudoux, author of The madwoman of Chaillot, Ondine, Intermezzo, Tiger at the gates, and Amphitryon 38.

1891 Birth of the actress Fanny Borach, better known as Fanny Brice, star of the The follies of Ziegfeld, whose shtick is mostly about making fun of your own look. His timeless character of “Baby Snooks” continued until a career in radio in the 1930s. His signature tune is the melancholy “My Man”. His life is the basis of the musical Funny girl.

1894 Opening night for Réginald De Kovenpopular operetta, Rob Roy.

1932 Mildred Natwick debuted on Broadway in Frank McGrath‘s Country of transport at the Biltmore Theater.

1936 Jimmy durante and Ethel Merman (or is it Ethel Merman and Jimmy Durante?) Cole porter musical Red, Hot and Blue!, memorable mainly for the PR battle in which the two stars demand first place. Management ended up compromising by crossing their names on the marquee of the Alvin Theater. He performs 183 performances (with Bob the hope pay the third bill).

1941 Cole Porter’s Musical Let’s face it! opens at the Imperial Theater. This is the first chance that Danny kaye must prove he is a leading man. Her co-stars for the evening include Eve arden, Viviane Vance, and Nanette Fabray. Jose ferrer takes over from Danny Kaye for the duration of the show, i.e. 547 performances. A film version was released in 1943.

1946 After seven years of delay during WWII, Noël Coward’s semi-autobiographical play Present laughter premieres today at the Plymouth Theater on Broadway, starring frequent Coward player Clifton Webb, a narcissistic actor in the throes of a midlife crisis. The work would become a Broadway favorite, receiving covers in 1958 (with Coward himself), 1982, 1996, 2010 and 2017.

1952 The public is held in suspense as a husband hires a man to kill his wife in Dial “M” for murder, opening at the Plymouth Theater for a 552-performance run.

1958 Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer star in Leslie stevensThe wedding round trip, opening at the Plymouth Theater. The subject of the play is sex and marriage. Julie newmar is also in the cast.

1960 Celeste Holm stars in Arthur Laurents The Sleeping Beauty-inspired comedy Invitation to a walk, opening at the Music Box Theater. Eileen Heckart and Jane Fonda are also part of the cast. The stage music is by Stephen Sondheim.

1967 Hair opens at Astor Library, the new home for Joseph Papi‘s New York Shakespeare Festival. This is the first time the company has charged entry to one of its shows, although the ticket price is only $ 2.50. The show transfers to Broadway in 1968, stopping first at a nightclub on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The Broadway race accumulates 1,742 performances.

1977 After a disastrous test tour, the John kander and Fred ebb musical The act opens at the Majestic Theater. Liza Minnelli is in the lead role, which earned her the 1978 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical (she had already won in 1956 for Kander and Ebb’s Flora, The Red Menace, and received an Honorary Tony in 1974). The story of a nightclub singer recalling her rocky romantic and professional life will feel more like an autobiography over the years. The show has 233 performances.

1984 The Old Globe Theater in San Diego, California suffers its second arson in six years. This costs $ 500,000 at the theater.

2002 Sherie René Scott plays the title role in Debbie does Dallas, a musical based on the pornographic film of the same name. After a sold-out engagement at the New York International Fringe Festival in the summer of 2002, the naughty tuner begins a regular Off-Broadway run at the Jane Street Theater. It continues until February 2003.

2003 After many other teams of actors competed for the role, Marc Hamill and Polly bergen opened on Broadway in the two-man comedy by Richard Alfieri, Six dance lessons in six weeks. The play is about an elderly woman whose life has resumed when she begins to take dance lessons. Sadly, the show is exhausted and doesn’t last as long as the title, ending after just 30 performances.

2009 Finian’s rainbow, the 1947 musical about an Irishman and his daughter who come to America on a magical quest, opens in a Broadway revival starring Jim norton, Chuck cooper, Kate baldwin, Christophe fitzgerald, Cheyenne jackson, and Terri Blanc. The production at the St. James Theater is the first Broadway cover of the classic Burton Street/Fred saidy/EY Harburg show since 1960.

2012 Due to Hurricane Sandy and the suspension of the New York City transit system, all Broadway shows are canceled tonight. Performances were also canceled on October 28 and do not resume until October 31.

2015 Keira Knightley makes her Broadway debut in the Roundabout Theater Company‘s Broadway revival Therese Raquin at Studio 54. The cast also includes Gabriel Ebert, Matt Ryan and Judith Light.

More birthdays today: Akim Tamiroff (1899-1972). Robert nemiroff (1929-1991). Melba moore (born 1945). Ken billington (born 1946). Richard Dreyfuss (born 1947). Rufus Sewell (born in 1967). Gabrielle Union-Wade (born 1972). Ben Foster (born 1980).

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