Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: August 15

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1879 The legendary Barrymore family has one more to add to their list with the birth of Ethel Barrymore. Her father is actor Maurice Barrymore and her brothers are John and Lionel. Barrymore’s triumphant career spanned nearly five decades and included leading roles in plays such as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet (like Ophélie), A doll’s house, and The second Mrs. Tanqueray. Barrymore gives several of his best-received performances later in life, most notably as Gran in the 1938s Whiteoaks and as Miss Moffat in the 1940 play Emlyn Williams, Corn is green. A theater named in his honor is located at 243 West 47th Street on Broadway.

1880 Jacob J. Shubert, one of Shubert’s three producer brothers, was born. Along with Sam and Lee, Shubert is responsible for some of Broadway’s most popular entertainment, musical and non-musical, during the first half of this century. While his brothers insist on the commercial side of the business, it is JJ, as Jacob is called, who oversees most of the actual productions.

1885 Playwright and novelist Edna Ferber was born in Michigan. With George S. Kaufman, Ferber collaborates with The Royal family and Dinner at eight. Ferber’s novel Show boat is the basis of the inauguration Oscar Hammerstein IIJerome Kern musical of the same name.

1988 Nell Carter and André De Boucliers renaissance star of I don’t behave badly, the 1978 musical review of Waller greasesmusic. Co-designer Richard Maltby, Jr. directs the production, which opens on Broadway at the Ambassador Theater. The show lasts 176 performances.

1997 The Marx brothers‘”All Talking & Sung Musical Hits” Coconuts is relaunched at the American Place Theater on Off-Broadway. The musical with the book by George S. Kaufman and the music and lyrics by Irving Berlin is adapted by Richard Sabellico for the American Jewish Theater production.

2002 Hair spray, a scenic musical adaptation of John Waterscult film, opens on Broadway at raves. He went on to win the lion’s share of the 2003 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book, and Best Actor and Actress in a Musical for the lead roles. Harvey Fierstein and Marissa Jaret Winokur. It remains at the Neil Simon Theater for 2,642 performances.

2006 Justin vivan bond and Kenny Mellman earning a Tony nomination for the special theatrical event as alcoholic cabaret star Kiki and Herb, his pianist (and only living friend), in Kiki & Herb: Living on Broadway.

2013 Eric Anderson stars in Soul Doctor, a musical about the life and music of controversial Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, opening on Broadway at Circle in the Square. The production receives mixed to negative reviews and ends after 66 performances.

More birthdays today: Wendy hiller (1912-2003). Ring Lardner, Jr. (1915-2000). Huntz Room (1919-1999). Janice rule (1931-2003). Jim dale (born in 1935). Jill haworth (1945-2011). eljko Ivanek (born in 1957). Ron Bohmer (born 1961). Michel Berresse (born 1964). Debra Messing (born 1968).


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