Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: September 2


1918 A stage adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s popular Penrod stories proves a bust. Opening at the Punch and Judy Theatre, it offers only 48 performances.

1924 The operetta Rose mary opens at the Imperial Theater. Rudolf Friml and Herbert Stothart wrote the music, and Oscar Hammerstein II and Otto Harbach the book and lyrics. It organizes 557 performances and enjoys a long life in tours and regional productions.

1948 don’t listen ladies opens at the St. James Theater in London. Constance Cummings and Denholm Elliott lead the cast. It lasts almost seven months.

1958 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill to create a National Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Later the center is named The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

2000 Bernadette Peters, who won a Tony Award for the title role of Annie Oakley in Irving Berlin’s classic musical, Annie Take your gun, hangs up her case as she steps down from the role she’s played since the revival opened on March 4, 1999. Its leading man, Tom Wopat, also steps down as Frank Butler. They are replaced by Cheryl Ladd and Patrick Cassidy, then country singer Reba McEntire and Brent Barrett.

2003 The successful Paris/Monaco musical bio of the artist Pablo Picasso, The life in blue, has its US premiere at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia. Jeffrey Coon plays the role of Picasso.

2014 Andrea Martin, who won the 2013 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for her performance as Berthe in the Tony Award revival Pippin apple, returns to the role for a limited 24-performance engagement.

Today’s birthdays: Jean Dalrymple (1902-1998); Marge Champion (b. 1919); Dominic Chianese (b. 1934); PJ Benjamin (b. 1951); Caroline O’Connor (born 1962); Chad Kimball 1976. Joshua Henry (born 1984).

Watch the highlights of Tony Award-nominated Chad Kimball’s performance in Memphis:

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