Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: September 1


1898 Birthday of one of Broadway’s most endearing performers of the 1920s, Marilyn Miller, whose vehicles include Sally, Sunny, Rosalieand As thousands cheer.

1924 John Colton and Clemence Randolph adapt W. Somerset Maugham’s story “Miss Thompson” as a hit play Rain, about tough prostitute Sadie Thompson (Jeanne Eagels), who battles a cult missionary in the scorching jungle. It lasts 648 performances and has been adapted into film several times.

1927 Barbara Stanwyck and Oscar Levant in the musical Burlesquewhich gave 372 performances at the Plymouth Theatre.

1997 The performance of the Actors Fund of A doll’s house is the latest revival of the Tony winner. Janet McTeer won a Tony Award for her performance as Nora Helmer in Henrik Ibsen’s late 19th century drama, as did Owen Teale for her husband Torvald. The limited engagement was originally scheduled to end on July 26, but following its positive reception from critics and audiences, that date was pushed back six weeks.

1998 The Broadway production of Art gets its second casting, as British actors Brian Cox, Henry Goodman and David Haig take over from the recently deceased Alan Alda, Victor Garber and Alfred Molina. Yasmina Reza’s play, which focuses on three men whose friendship is tested when one buys a “white” painting, has two more castings before it closes on August 8, 1999. Judd Hirsch, George Wendt and Joe Morton took on the roles in December 1998, while Buck HenryGeorge Segal and Wayne Knight follow in April 1999.

1998 Closing out its summer season in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company offers a solo adaptation of A room of one’s own. The play is adapted by Patrick Garland from Virginia Woolf’s famous 1929 essay, in which the writer informs a group of female students that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she wants to write fiction “.

2002 The Best Unorthodox But Tony Award-Winning Musical Contact closes after a two and a half year run on Broadway. The final performance is broadcast live on PBS.

2003 A rare (but not unprecedented) confluence of events leaves Broadway with just one non-musical play on stage, Tony winning take me out.

2004 Amid the Republican National Convention in New York, which nominated President George W. Bush for a second term, British playwright David Hare begins performances of his criticism of Bush’s first term, things happen, at the National Theater in London. Meanwhile, back in New York, former President George HW Bush attends a matinee performance of hair spray with former First Lady Barbara Bush.

2012 The London production of the musical by John Kander, Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse Chicago, the West End’s longest-running revival, ends after 15 years. The production, which won the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production in 1998, opened at the Adelphi Theater on November 18, 1997 and transferred to the Cambridge Theater in April 2006 and then to the Garrick Theater in November 2011.

2015 Dean Jones, the comedic actor who made his mark in a string of Disney films but earned a place in Broadway history for originating the role of hesitant bachelor Bobby in Stephen Sondheim Companydies at 84.

2019 The 2015 Broadway musical‘s UK debut concert Doctor Zhivago is presented at Cadogan Hall in London with a cast led by Tony nominee Ramin Karimloo (Wretched) as Yurii Andreyevich Zhivago and Celinde Schoenmaker (Light in the Square, Barnum) as Lara Guishar. Based on the Nobel Prize-winning novel by Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago has a book by Michael Weller, music by Lucy Simon, and lyrics by Michael Korie and Amy Powers.

More birthdays from today: Guy Standing (1873-1937); Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950); Yvonne DeCarlo (1922-2007); Martin Pakledinaz (1953-2012); Lily Tomlin (born 1939); Carolee Carmello (born 1962); Jay Armstrong Johnson (born in 1987).

Watch highlights of Carolee Carmello’s Tony Award-nominated performance in Outrageous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson:

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