Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: January 29

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In 1966, Gwen Verdon plays in Sweet Charityopening at the Palace Theater on Broadway.

1860 Birthday of Anton Chekhov, one of the fathers of modern theater, whose relatively small oeuvre includes The Cherry Orchard, The Three Sisters, The Seagulland Uncle Vanya.

1917 Birthday of a tough leading man John Raitt, star of the Broadway original Carousel and The pajama gameand father of pop singer Bonnie Raitt.

1931 Birthday of the composer/lyricist Leslie Bricussewho collaborates with Anthony Newley on Stop the world – I want to get down, The Roar of Greasy Paint – The Smell of the Crowdand the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; and with Frank Wildhorn on Victor/Victoria and jekyll and hyde.

1943 The Patriots stands guard at the National Theater in New York. Sidney KingsleyThe play highlighted the struggles of the Founding Fathers and won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play. It features Raymond Edward Johnson, madge evansand Cecile Humphreys.

1947 All my sons, Arthur MillerThe drama depicting post-war America and the end result of choosing a father, is set at the Coronet Theater in New York City. Arthur Kennedy and Ed Begley are introduced as son and father. The play ran for 41 weeks and was Miller’s first hit on Broadway.

1957 What happened this afternoon at The potting shed? Graham GreenThe drama from New York’s Bijou Theater explores the power of faith. Sybil Thorndike and Robert Flemyng direct the cast.

1966 Opening night of the musical Sweet Charitydelivering another hit to the director Bob FosseStar Gwen Verdoncomposer Cy Colemanlyricist Fields of Dorothyand librettist neil simon. The production has 608 performances. The date is notable for another reason: it marks the reopening of the venerable Palace Theater in Times Square after a renovation. Once the pinnacle of vaudeville and a declining concert hall, it now serves as a regular Broadway theater.

1976 A bicentenary revival of Dion Boucicaultit’s Rip Van Winkle is staged at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Joshua Logan leads and Anthony Quayle stars.

1986 Maurice Hines designs the musical review, Uptown…it’s hot!, opening at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater. It contains songs such as “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”, “Tutti Frutti”, and “Stop in the Name of Love”.

1998 Disappointment reigns on Broadway with the opening of Paul Simonis the eagerly awaited first musical, The Capman, about a real murderer who seeks salvation and forgiveness. The music turns out to be fascinating, but the Nobel Prize winner’s book Derek Walcott turns out to be static, undramatic and unconvincing. Family members of murder victims hosted the opening night. The musical has 68 performances at the Marquis Theatre.

2002 Bea Arthurpersonal exhibition of, Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends begins performances at the Booth Theatre. The co-star of Mom and The Threepenny Operanot to mention televisions Maud and golden girls, wins a Tony nomination for his show.

More birthdays today Owen Davis (1874-1956). WC fields (1880-1946). Mary Eaton (1901-1948). “Professor” Irwin Corey (1914-2017). Victor Mature (1913-1999). Michael Higgins (1920-2008). Tom Selleck (born in 1945). Terry Kinney (born in 1954).

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Throwback to Sweet Charity on Broadway with Gwen Verdon


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