Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: March 8


1920 Ziegfeld girls from 1920 enjoys a run at the New Amsterdam Roof Theatre. This review praises the talents of Fanny Brice and WC Fields.

1932 Bert Lahr and Lupe Velez star in Hot Cha! a musical by Marc Hellinger, Ray Henderson, and Lew Brown. It takes place at the Ziegfeld Theater. It is the last original musical produced by the impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, who died four months later.

1960 Alfred Hitchcock’s year psychology open star Anthony Perkins returns to the stage to make his musical debut in Frank Loesserit is green willow. The production takes place at the Alvin Theater on Broadway.

1961 Jean Kerr’s comedy Mary, Mary opens at the Helen Hayes Theatre. Barbara Bel Geddes and Barry Nelson play a divorced couple forced to spend the night together due to a snowstorm. It ran 1,572 performances, overlapping a 1963 film adaptation that starred Nelson opposite Debbie Reynolds.

1984 Nancy Marchand, Harry Hamlin, Benjamin Hendrickson and Frances McDormand star in a revival of Wake up and sing!, a family drama set in the Depression-era Bronx. Theodore Mann directs Clifford Odets’ play at the Circle in the Square Theatre.

1999 Everyone’s Ruby, Thulani Davis’ drama based on a true murder and writer, Zora Neale Hurston, who covered the trial, opens at the Joseph Papp Public/Anspacher Theatre. Phylicia Rashad stars, with a staging by Kenny Leon.

1999 Do not be afraid… The night must fall. Or maybe you should be. Matthew Broderick stars as the grinning, sinister Danny in the revival of Emlyn Williams1936 thriller. Judy Parfit and J. Smith-Cameron co-starred. John Tillinger conducts at the Lyceum Theater on Broadway.

2001 A star-studded production of Jon Robin Baitz’s new play Ten unknowns opens at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at the Lincoln Center Theater. Donald Sutherland returns to the New York scene for the first time in 20 years, alongside Julianna Margulies, Justin Kirk and Denis O’Hare.

2007 John Mahoney, Alan Tudyk and Annie Parisse star in Prelude to a kiss by Craig Lucas at Roundabout’s American Airlines Theatre. The play follows an old man and a young bride who accidentally switch bodies and eventually learn the true meaning of love.

2015 by Peter Morgan the audience, starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in imaginary meetings with each of her prime ministers, opens on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Mirren won a Tony Award for his performance, as did Richard McCabe for his performance as Harold Wilson.

2016 Musical by Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick Disaster!, a parody of 1970s disaster films, opens on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre. The cast includes Roger Bart, Kerry Butler, Kevin Chamberlin, Adam Pascal, Faith Prince, Rachel York and Jennifer Simard.

2016 Motown the Musical made its West End debut at the Shaftesbury Theater in London. Cedric Neal portrays Berry Gordy with Lucy St. Louis as Diana Ross, Charl Brown as Smokey Robinson and Sifiso Mazibuko as Marvin Gaye. The show is directed by Charles Randolph-White and designed by David Korins.

Today’s birthdays: Anna Held (1872-1918), Darell Fancourt (1886–1953), Victor Wolfson (1909–1990), Eileen Herlie (1918–2008), Douglas Wallop (1920–1985), Cyd Charisse (1922–2008), Joseph Hardy (b. 1929), Timothy O’Brien (b. 1929), Paul Shyre (1929-1989), David Cryer (born in 1936), Lynn Redgrave (1943-2010), Carole Bayer-Sager (born in 1947), Constanza Romero (born in 1958), Camryn Manheim (born in 1961), Robert Stanton (born in 1963), Ashley Spencer (born in 1985)

Watch highlights from Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick’s 2016 Broadway musical Disaster!:

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