Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: November 29

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1895 Birthday of legendary film choreographer Busby Berkeley, whose career was launched by an explosion of creativity of 12 Broadway shows between late 1926 and early 1930 (including A Connecticut Yankee and Good boy) before being taken to Hollywood to make movies like 42nd street. His Broadway swan song dates from 1971 No, no, Nanette.

1926 Ethel Barrymore stars in W. Somerset Maugham‘s The constant woman, which remains for 295 constant performances at the Maxine Elliott Theater.

1932 Cole porter Gay divorce opens at the Ethel Barrymore Theater on Broadway with Fred Astaire making his final Broadway appearance in the cast. Best known for presenting Porter’s “Night and Day”, the work will then be adapted for the big screen as The divorced gay in 1934 with Astaire and Ginger Rogers, their second duo on screen.

1939 Swingin ‘the dream, with a cast including Louis armstrong, Mabley moms, and McQueen Butterfly opens at the Center Theater in New York. Erik Charell directs his and Gilbert seldes‘musical, a swing version of William Shakespeare‘s A Midsummer Night’s dream. Among its most whimsical elements are sets based on Walt Disney cartoons.

1943 Lovers and friends through Dodie smith opens for a week of 21 at the Plymouth Theater. The stars are Catherine cornell and Raymond Massey, with the direction of Guthrie McClintic.

[1945[1945 Strange fruits flourishes under the guidance of Jose ferrer. Lillian smith adapts her own novel, with the help of her sister. The cast of the Théâtre Royale includes Eugenie Rawls, Murray Hamilton, and Ralph meeker.

1956 Judy Holliday, playing an answering service employee, is in love with a plaza-O-double-four-double-three man like Bells are ringing opens at the Shubert Theater on Broadway. Written by Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Jule Styne, the musical won a Tony Award in 1957 for Holliday for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical. She will recreate the performance for the 1960 film adaptation.

1958 Birthday of composer Frank Wildhorn, who writes sheet music for Broadway musicals, including Jekyll & Hyde, The scarlet chickweed, and Bonnie and Clyde.

1992 Tyne Daly leads a star-studded cast, including Danny Burstein, Ethan Hawke, Laura Linney, Maryann Plunkett, Tony Roberts and Jon Voight, in a cover of Chekhov. The Seagull at the Lyceum Theater on Broadway.

1997 Lyric Opera of Chicago presents the world premiere of Amistad, by composer Anthony davis. Tony award winner George C. Wolfe directs a cast that includes Mark S. Doss and Thomas Young. The opera, based on an 1839 slave uprising aboard a ship chartered by Cuba, predates Steven Spielberg’s film version of the same story (also titled Amistad), which opens on December 10.

2001 Tom jones and Harvey schmidtis musical Side of the road open to York Theater Company. They briefly have two musicals on the New York stages: Both Side of the road and their long-lasting phenomenon The Fantastic close a few weeks apart in early 2002.

2006 Director John Doyle brings his signature actor-musician touch to Stephen Sondheim and George Furth Society, opening today at the Ethel Barrymore Theater. Raúl Esparza stars as the perpetual single Bobby in a production that will win the Best Cover of a Musical at the Tony Awards 2007 and will be filmed for commercial release.

2012 Norbert Léo Butz and Katie holmes co-starred in the Broadway premiere of Therese Rebeckblack comedy Dead accounts, opening at the Music Box Theater. Jack o’brien directs the play about a family in Ohio whose prodigal son returns full of money and secrets. The cast also includes Judy Greer, Josh hamilton, and Jayne Houdyshell.

2017 Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key, Laura Benanti and Jeremy Shamos star in Meteor shower, the first work of playwright and comedian Steve Martin on Broadway. The Absurd Look at Love and Marriage opens at the Booth Theater on Broadway.

More birthdays today: Louisa may alcott (1832-1888). Trixie Friganza (1870-1955). Chester Erskin (1905-1986). Anne Corio (1909-1999). Raoul Pene Du Bois (1914-1985). Michel Kermoyan (1921-1994). Franck Galati (born in 1943). Battle of Hinton (born in 1956). Frank Wildhorn (born 1959). Jackie Hoffman (born in 1960). Andrew McCarthy (born 1962).


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