Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: April 29

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1899 Happy birthday Edward Kennedy Ellington, who, taking the surname “Duke”, becomes one of the most important musician-composers of the 20th century. He writes scores for Broadway musicals Beggar’s Holiday and Pousse-Caféand his songs were later used in the hit revue sophisticated ladiesand the twelfth night– inspired musical Play on!

1919 Celeste Holm was born in New York. She Never Says No as Teen Annie in the original 1943 production of Oklahoma! and acts in the movies as everyone’s witty and wise best friend.

1940 Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne direct the cast Robert E. Sherwoodit’s There will be no night. The drama describes the courage of the Finns recently invaded by the Russian invaders. It played 181 performances at the Alvin Theater on Broadway and won the Pulitzer Prize.

1966 Paula Strasberg, one of the first members of the Actors Studio (along with her husband Lee) and drama coach, dies at 55.

1968 It is the dawn of the “Age of Aquarius” when Hair opens on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre. James Rado and Gerome Ragni wrote the book and the lyrics to the Galt MacDermot musical. The production lasted four years, for a total of 1,750 performances.

1992 William Finn and James Lapine team up March of the Falsets and falsettoland into a musical, which they call Falsettos. Opening on Broadway at the John Golden Theatre, it stars Stephen Bogardus as Whizzer, Michael Rupert as Marvin and Chip Zien as Mendel. Finn wins the Tony Award for Best Score, and Finn and Rabbit win Best Book. It has 486 performances.

1996 It’s “No Day But Today” for the cast of the Broadway sensation To rentopening at the Nederlander Theatre. Michael Greif directs the musical that makes names for actors such as Antoine Rapp, AdamPascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Taye Diggand Idina Menzel. Written by Jonathan Larson, the show played 5,123 performances on Broadway and won numerous awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Larson sadly never saw the success his musical brought, having died in January 1996 of an aortic aneurysm.

1997 Leonard Bernsteinit’s music Candid is revived on Broadway by director Harold Prince. The show, based on the 1759 novel Candid by Voltairecharacteristics Jim Dale, Andrea Martinand Harolyn Blackwell. Unlike Prince’s long-running 1974 Broadway revival, this production ran for only 104 performances.

2001 Two-time Pulitzer winner August Wilson continues its epic chronicle of 20th century African-American life when King Hedley II opens on Broadway. Two Tony-winning musical comedy stars play dramatic roles in the play: Brian StokesMitchell and Leslie Uggams.

2002 Broadway and television comedian carol burnet made his debut as a playwright when Hollywood Weaponsco-written with his daughter Carrie Hamilton, opens at the Goodman Theater in Chicago. It transferred to Broadway in October 2002.

2006 To rent celebrates its 10th anniversary on Broadway with a reunion event at the Nederlander Theatre.

2009 The first Broadway revival of Samson Raphaelson1934 romantic comedy Focus on youth opens at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater. David Hyde Pierce features a playwright who is inspired by a pretty young secretary of the Manhattan Drama Club production, directed by Daniel Sullivan.

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