Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: May 13

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1907 Writer-playwright Daphné du Maurier was born to actors Gérald and Muriel du Maurier. Daphne later adapts her novel Rebecca in a play.

1919 Saint-Jean d’Ervinedrama illustrating life in Ireland, Jean Fergusonis the first success of the Theater Guild. Augustine Duncan directs and plays the main role. It organizes 177 performances at the Garrick Theater on Broadway.

1924 Composer Louis Hirsch dies in New York. He composed the music for three of The follies of Ziegfeld and The Honeymoon Express, among others. He was 37 years old.

1954 The pajama game opens on Broadway at the St. James Theatre. The score by Jerry Ross and Richard Adler includes “Hey There”, “Hernando’s Hideaway” and “Steam Heat”. George Abbott and Jerome Robbins direct, and Bob Fosse choreographs. It organized 1,063 performances and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

1964 english actor Diana Wynyard died in London at the age of 58. She made her professional debut in London in 1925. In 1932, she made her Broadway debut in the devil passes. She was the director’s first wife caro reed.

1973 Christopher Plumer sneaks into the Palace Theater via a musical version of Cyrano. the Michael J. LewisAnthony Burgess show won Plummer a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical.

1999 John Rando directed Erin Dilli and Clea Lewis in Things you shouldn’t say after midnight. Three couples find themselves in a tormented relationship at 3 a.m. in Peter Ackerman’s comedy at Off-Broadway’s Promenade Theater.

2006 Joan Diener, the actor who vigorously played Aldonza/Dulcinea in the original Broadway production of Man from La Manchadied of cancer at age 76.

2011 Pam’s Gemswho found plays in the lives of people as diverse as French singer Edith Piaf and English painter Stanley Spencer, dies at 85. His plays included queen christina, Piaf, Stanleyand Marlene.

More birthdays from today: Sir Arthur Sullivan 1842. Maxine Sullivan 1911. Bea Arthur 1922. Theodore Mann 1924. Zohra Lampert 1937. Harvey Keitel 1939. Zoe Wanamaker 1949. Hunter Parris 1987.

Watch highlights from the 2011 Broadway revival of divine spell, with Hunter Parrish as Jesus:


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