Today in Playbill Vault Theater History: September 11

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1912 Jane Cowl becomes a star playing in In law by Bayard Veiller. The play is about a woman wrongly accused of theft. It is also the first production at the new Eltinge Theater on 42nd Street.

1918 Report praises new military camp musical from Irving Berlin, Yep, yep, Yaphank. The musical, which premiered at the Century Theater on August 19, features 350 soldiers from Camp Upton and Berlin itself. The report applauds the Berlin spectacle because it gives the impression that the life of a soldier is not so bad. One of the themes of the musical is that “the life of a soldier is happy after all”. Among other things, the show features blackface drag soldiers singing “Mandy”, while Berlin itself sings “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning”. The classic Berlin song, “God Bless America”, was originally written for Yaphank but abandoned because he felt it was too “sticky” for production. The song did not resurface until 1938, when Kate smith presents it on the radio.

1940 After missing it for a decade, the Broadway scene is seeing again Al jolson. He shares the limelight with Martha raye in Hold on to your hats at the Shubert Theater.

1959 The now emblematic statue of the man of song and dance George M. Cohan is unveiled in Times Square, opposite the Palace Theater.

2001 On a sunny Tuesday morning, terrorists fly two commercial airliners into the “Twin Towers” of New York’s World Trade Center and a third into the Pentagon in Washington, DC, causing massive death, destruction and chaos in the two cities. All theatrical performances are canceled for the next two days in the United States. Over the following years, the event inspired many plays, including Guys, Omnium Gatherum, Portraits, and Recent tragic events.

2002 On the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks, many Broadway and Off-Broadway shows are canceling or rescheduling performances, leaving their theaters in darkness for the day.

2004 Fred ebb, the lyricist half of Kander and Ebb’s Broadway songwriting team, who produced classic musicals such as Cabaret and Chicago, dies at 71.

2006 Joseph hayes, playwright, novelist and producer who won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1955 for his suspenseful melodrama The desperate hours, died in St. Augustine, Florida at the age of 88.

2009 Larry Gelbart, the two-time Tony Award-winning librettist who was also a playwright and screenwriter for television and film, dies at the age of 81. Considered a master of sitcom and one-liners, Gelbart won the Tonys for Best Book by a Musical for A funny thing happened on the way to the forum, which he co-wrote with Burt Shevelove, and City of Angels. He also developed the Robert altman movie MASH POTATOES in the hit television series, co-wrote the script for the Hollywood comedy Tootsie, and wrote the Broadway plays Sneaky fox (based on Ben jonson‘s Volpone) and Mastergate.

2011 Sweet and sad, the world premiere drama of Richard Nelson on the tenth anniversary of September 11, has a timely Off-Broadway opening night at the public theater. Nelson revisits the Apple family (first seen in his 2010 play That Hopey Changey Thing) as they reflect on America a decade after the events of September 11.

2011 The Select (The sun also rises), the dramatic look of the elevator repair department on Ernest Hemingwaypost-war classic, opens Off-Broadway at New York theater workshop. ERS founder John Collins directs the three-hour and fifteen-minute ensemble work that reduces the novel to much of Hemingway’s dialogue.

2014 The Broadway premiere of Kenneth lonerganthe drama of 1996 This is our youth, featuring Michel Cera, Kieran culkin, and Tavi gevinson, opens at the Cort Theater.

Today’s birthdays: DH Laurent (1885-1930). Georges Metaxa (1899-1950). Henderson Forsythe (1917-2006). Alan bergman (born in 1925). Lee richardson (1926-1999). Gérôme Ragni (1935-1991). Jennifer Tipton (born 1937). Reed Birney (born 1954). Adriane lenox (born in 1956). Harry Connick Jr. (born in 1967).


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