Playbill Vault is Today in Theater History: May 11

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1903 In Runaways, with a book by Addison Burkhardt and a score by Raymond Hubbell, the hero is transported to a tropical island and will become king. The trap ? He must marry the queen. The show runs for almost 21 weeks at the Casino Theater on Broadway.

1920 American author, critic and playwright William Dean Howells dies in New York. In his review, he championed the work of James A. Herne and Clyde Fitch. His pieces include Yorick’s love, tourniquets, and The mousetrap (not to be confused with the play of the same name by Agatha Christie). He was 83 years old.

1938 Richard rodgers and Lorenz Hart contribute music and lyrics to I married an angel at the Shubert Theater on Broadway. Georges balanchine choreographs the story of a banker who searches for Mrs. Right from above. Dennis king and Vera zorina are presented for the 42 week race.

1959 Carol burnett begins the path of his Broadway debut as Once upon a time there was a mattress Off-Broadway premieres at the Phoenix Theater. Georges abbott directs, and Marie rodgers and Marshal Barer provide the songs. After a six-month tour of the Phoenix, the production moved to the Alvin Theater on Broadway, earning it Tony nominations for Burnett’s Performance and Best Musical.

1965 Liza Minnelli made her Broadway debut at the age of 19 in Flora, The Red Menace, opening at the Alvin Theater. Minnelli wins a Tony Award for his performance in the title role of the musical, which features songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb, and staging by George Abbott.

1983 Alan Lay Lerner and Charles Strouse adapt Robert E. Sherwood’s play The idiot’s delight in the musical Dance a little closer, opening at the Minskoff Theater. Len Cariou, Liz Robertson and George Rose are the stars. After 25 previews, he plays a single performance, ending on the opening night.

1994 A revival of the musical Fat opens on Broadway at the Eugene O’Neill Theater. Featured in director-choreographer Jeff Calhounthe actors are Megan Mullally, Rosie O’Donnell, and Billy Porter.

1999 Singer Gladys Chevalier joins the cast of Leiber et Stoller magazine, Smokey Joe’s Coffee. She finishes her stint in the stage show on May 22, but returns for another attempt from August 17 to 29.

2002 The original London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and TS Eliot‘s Cats closes after a record-breaking 21-year race on the anniversary of its opening night.

2005 West End opening night for the smash musical Billy Elliot. With a score of Elton john, the production won four Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical. He remained at the Victoria Palace Theater for almost 11 years, performing a total of 4,600 performances.

2010 Doris Eaton Travis, the former Ziegfeld Follies dancer who inspired 21st-century audiences with her courage, goodwill, and sophisticated footwork at 12 of the 13 annual performances of the Easter Bonnet Competition for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, dies in the age of 106.

2012 Paul Gross directing the cast of the world premiere of Jean Guare‘s Are you there, McPhee? at the McCarter Theater in New Jersey. Sam buntrock directs the play about a playwright who is drawn into the tangle of the lives of a couple of abandoned children.

2016 Bobby Steggert plays legendary French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in new musical My Paris, opening at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Connecticut. Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, it has music and lyrics by Charles Aznavour, a book by Alfred Uhry, and English lyrics and musical adaptation by Jason Robert Brown.

Today’s birthdays: Irving Berlin (1888-1989). Martha graham (1894-1991). Phil Silver (1911-1985). Natasha Richardson (1963-2009). Death Sahl (born in 1927). Boyd Gaines (born 1953). George dvorski (born 1959). Charlotte d’Amboise (born 1964).

Watch Tony winner Billy Porter in the cover of Fat:


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