Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: December 30

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1907 In The Comet, Alla Nazimova plays a woman who falls in love with her former lover’s son, who ends up committing suicide. Owen Johnson’s first play, it lasts seven weeks.

1926 ChicagoMaurine Dallas Watkins’ story of a fast-living wife who shoots her husband, runs at the Music Box Theater for 22 weeks. George Abbott and Francine Larrimore are in the cast. Forty-nine years later, Bob Fosse puts the story to music John Kander and Fred Eb.

1948 alfred drake and Patricia Morisson refresh their Shakespeare in Kiss me, Kate, Cole Porterthe musical opening of at the New Century Theatre. Songs include “Wunderbar”, “I Hate Men”, “Bianca”, “Always True To You (In My Fashion)”, and “Too Darn Hot”. The following year, it won the first-ever Tony Award for Best Musical.

1953 The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker knowledgeable of the geography of Pennsylvania; he keeps a family in Wilmington and one in Philadelphia. Burgess Meredith plays the well traveled man in the Liam O’Brien to work.

1975 The runner stumbles exposes the doomed affection of a lonely priest and a loving nun. Austin Pendleton directs the world premiere of Milan Stittat the Hartman Theater in Stamford, Connecticut. The production Broadway transfers the next year.

1979 Composer Richard Rodgers dies at 77. He collaborated with Lorenz Hart on shows like Girls in arms, The Boys of Syracuseand Friend Joey; with Oscar Hammerstein II on shows including Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, the sound of music, and The king and me; and Stephen Sondheim on the musical Do I hear a waltz? In 1990, the 46th Street Theater was renamed in his honor.

1999 Jackie Masonit’s Much Ado About Everything opens at the John Golden Theatre. It’s written and directed by Mason, who also stars in comedy. The show lasts 186 performances.

2001 Two long-running Broadway revivals—Kiss me, Kate and The music man-Close. Both had struggled since the September 11 attacks reduced attendance.

2003 Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick reprise their roles as Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom in Mel Brooks‘ Tony Award Winning Musical The producersquickly restoring the show to SRO status.

Today’s birthdays: Michael Allinson (1920-2010). Joseph Bologna (1934-2017). Sheryl Lee Ralph (born in 1956). Tracey Ullman (born in 1959).

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