Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: October 8


1857 Edward Franklin Albee is born, who, along with BF Keith, controls one of the largest vaudeville circuits at the start of the 20th century. He is also the grandfather and namesake of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee.

1936 Hamlet opens at the Empire Theater. John gielgud in the title role totaled 132 performances, a record at the time for any Shakespeare play on Broadway. Guthrie McClintic directs the production, with sets by Jo Mielziner. Lillian gish is Ophélie and Judith Anderson is Gertrude.

1938 Beginning of Moss deer and George S. Kaufmanthe comedy The fabulous invalid, on Broadway egos. Note that the term for Broadway’s supposed ill health was common at a time now considered the golden age of American theater.

1946 Jose ferrer unveils its flagship production of Cyrano de Bergerac, featuring his winning performance of Tony in the title role (the first year the Tony’s were given away), which he later recreates on film.

1956 Composer Charles Strouse makes his Broadway debut with live music for the play Sixth finger in a five finger glove, opening at the Longacre Theater. It closes the next day. Strouse’s “Six Finger Tune” Reappears Weeks Later as Theme Song for New Game Show The price is right. Strouse is more successful with his second Broadway release, Goodbye Birdie.

1961 An evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May presents the two spirits during an evening of memorable skits at the John Golden Theater. He performs 306 performances.

1979 Mickey rooney and Anne Miller join forces for the Broadway burlesque style revue, Sugar babies, which manages 1,208 performances.

1980 Steve tesich opens his new play on the inhabitants of a Chicago building, Division Street, at the Ambassador Theater. Although the stars of comedy John lithgow and Christine lahti, he only performs 21 performances.

1998 Matthieu bourne delights and scandalizes Broadway with an all-male take on ballet Swan Lake, in a production that takes the central character to a club in London. Bourne wins the Tony Awards for Best Choreography and Best Direction in a Musical.

1999 At the Moscow Art Theater on October 26, 1899, Anton Chekhov‘s Uncle Vanya had its first. Almost 100 years later, in Los Angeles Geffen Playhouse, the pre-revolution Russian drama about a retired professor turned gentleman-farmer and his niece is celebrated with a production adapted by Vanessa Burnham.

2009 Manhattan Theater Clubthe rebirth of George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber‘s The Royal family opens on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater. Rosemary Harris, Jan Maxwell, John glover, and Ana Gasteyer featured in the 1927 classic comedy about a family of exaggerated Broadway actors.

2011 A revival of Terence rattiganthe 1963 character study, Man and boy, opens on Broadway at Roundabout theater company‘s American Airlines Theater. Frank Langella stars as an internationally renowned financier whose empire is falling apart, with Adam Pilot like his estranged son.

2015 Sam Shepard’s Broadway Premiere Crazy in Love, starring Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell, opens at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater. The play was previously seen in New York in a 1983 Off-Broadway production, starring Ed Harris and Kathy Baker.

More birthdays today: Nora Bayes (1880-1928). Peter Wood (1927-2016). Sigourney Weaver (born 1949). Eric Booth (born 1950). Anne-Marie Duff (born in 1970). Cameron Adams (born 1982). Max Crumm (born 1985).

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