Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: June 25

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1887 Anniversary of legendary director George Abbott, whose long life (107 years) and colossal catalog (more than 110 Broadway shows, sometimes also as a producer, screenwriter, or even actor) remains unparalleled. Among his projects were the original productions of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, In Town, Wonderful Town, Once Upon A Mattress, Fiorello!, Damn Yankees, On Your Toes, The Pajama Game, Where’s Charley, Pal Joeyand literally dozens more.

1952 Harold Romeit’s musical wish you were Hereset in the world of mountain resorts, opens a series of 598 performances at the Imperial Theater. Jack Cassidy, larry blydeand Sheila Bond star, and Bond later won a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Musical. The show is memorable for featuring a swimming pool on stage.

1973 The Theater Development Fund’s TKTS booth opens on Broadway and 47th Street. The booth is a landmark in the New York theater world by offering audiences same-day tickets to many performances, both on Broadway and Off, at discounted prices.

1979 After delaying the start of previews twice – and opening night once –Got You Go Disco finally opens on Broadway at the Minskoff Theatre. The musical about a disco-hating saleswoman who becomes queen of her local dance club ends a week later, after eight performances. At the time, it was the most expensive musical ever staged on Broadway.

1980 Gus Weil’s play bury a cousinfirst saw the stage in 1967. It is now getting an Off-Broadway revival at the Cherry Lane Theatre, where it is directed by Philip Oesterman and features Harry Goz and Diane Tarleton.

1990 Robert Louis Stevenson is rocking and rolling Off-Broadway like its jekyll and hyde is turned into a rock musical, courtesy of the composer Michel Skloffwith a book and lyrics by David Crane and Marta Kauffman. Seven years later, Frank Wildhorn dabbles in Broadway’s split-personality drama.

1991 Two couples find themselves celebrating the 4th of July together on Fire Island when Terrence McNallyit’s play Lips together, teeth apartopens at Manhattan Drama Club downtown. The stars of the game Nathan Lane and Swoosie Kurtzand Christine Baransky and Antoine Heald, like the two married couples. Following a successful engagement, the production moved to Off-Broadway’s Lucille Lortel Theater for commercial release in January 1992.

1998 Warren Leightit’s playing sideways man opens at Roundabout Theater Company‘s Stage Right Auditorium as a last minute replacement production. Under the direction of Michael Mayer is a cast including Franck Bois, Wendy Makkenaand Robert Saddle. As it closes at the roundabout, the jazz-themed comedy-drama takes place for an open-ended commercial at the John Golden Theater on Broadway, starring the movie star christian slater replacing Sella as narrator, Clifford. In June, the play, which has now been cited as a Pulitzer Prize finalist, won Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Featured Actor for Wood, as the sideman himself.

2004 Musical Theater Works, the Off-Broadway nonprofit that has created and developed new musicals for 21 years, announces it will be closing immediately.

2009 A musical production of Shakespeare in the Park by twelfth nightfeaturing Raul Esparza, Anne Hathaway, audra mcdonaldand austere sands, opens at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Directed by Daniel Sullivanit features an original score by Brooklyn-based folk-rock band Hem.

2013 A new musical version of Roald Dahlit is Charlie and the chocolate factorywith a score of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, opens in London at the Theater Royal, Drury Lane. The production is led by Sam Mendesand stars Douglas Hodge like Willy Wonka. A revised version of the musical, directed by Jack O’Brien and starring Christian Borle, opened on Broadway four years later.

2018 by David Ireland Cyprus Avenue, starring Stephen Rea, opens Off-Broadway at the Public Theater. In it, Rea plays a “non-negotiable British” Belfast Unionist who sees an uncanny resemblance between his newborn granddaughter and Irish Republican leader Gerry Adams.

2018 The world premiere of Log cabin, by Jordan Harrison, opens at Playwrights Horizons, directed by Tony winner Pam MacKinnon. In her, a group of gay and lesbian friends view the new mainstream through the eyes of their transgender friend. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Phillip James Brannon, Cindy Cheung, Ian Harvie, Talene Monahon and the star of Dolly Wells.

More birthdays from today: Charlotte Greenwood (1890-1977). Peter Lind Hayes (1915–1998). Sidney Lumet (1924-2011). Marie-Beth Peil (born in 1940). Lee Wilkoff (born in 1951). Jean Benjamin Hickey (born in 1963). Hunter Foster (born in 1969). Brandi Burkhardt (born in 1979). Killian Donnelly (born in 1984). Annaleigh Ashford (born in 1985).

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From Glinda to Dot: see Annaleigh Ashford on stage


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