Today in Playbill Vault Theater History: September 17


1879 Daly’s Theater opens on Broadway and Thirtieth Street in New York City.

1894 Weapons and man opens at the Herald Square Theater. It stars Richard Mansfield, who himself describes the play as a “little satirical comedy without much weight”. This is the first American production of a George bernard shaw to play. The New York Dramatic Mirror claims that while the audience enjoyed it on press night, the language may be “too ironic to ever become popular with the average viewer.”

1900 The Garden Theater hosts the opening of Hamlet. The production stars one of Shakespeare’s rising stars of the time, EH Sothern, in the title role. His wife, Harassed virginie, co-stars like Ophélie.

1917 Playwright George S. Kaufman becomes the newest member of the New York Times drama department. His starting salary is $ 36 per week.

1917 Georges arliss and Marie hamlinthe drama Hamilton opens at the Knickerbocker Theater, with Arliss as founding father Alexander Hamilton. Almost a century later, Lin-Manuel Miranda uses the same title for his musical about the Pulitzer Prize-winning Founding Father. Learn more about the two different versions of Hamilton.

1951 The Yiddish Comedy Review Borscht Capades opens at the Royal Theater, featuring Mickey katz and his son Joel Kaye. Kaye, who made his Broadway debut in the production, later changed his name to Joel gray.

1959 John gielgud direct and play in A lot of noise for nothing on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater, for a limited engagement of 58 performances. Having played the role of Benedick in Shakespeare’s comedy on several occasions since his premiere in 1931 in the role at Sadler’s Wells Theater in London, Gielgud announces that this production will be his last in the role. With in front of Gielgud is Margaret leighton, who is nominated for a Tony Award for her performance as Beatrice.

1978 Scene favorite Nick Cordero was born in Hamilton, Canada. After making his Broadway debut in Rock of ages, he gets a Tony nomination for his second Main Stem release: the musical adaptation of Bullets on Broadway. He would continue to appear in Waitress and A tale from the Bronx. Cordero died on July 5, 2020, after a long battle with COVID-19. In the months leading up to his passing, his family, the Broadway community, fans and people across the country came together for his recovery with virtual night dancing to his song “Live Your Life”.

2000 The first Broadway cover of Gore Vidal1960 political drama The best man opens at the Virginia Theater. The production, which features Charles Durning, Spalding Gray, Chris Noth, Elizabeth ashley, and Christine Ebersole, is playing a limited series until December 31, ending after 121 performances. The production is memorable as it set up a voting booth in the lobby and let ticket holders “vote” for the president. Vice President Al Gore decisively defeats Governor George W. Bush, but the November general election holds a surprise.

2002 Seussic, the 2000-01 Broadway show that in one season became a critic’s favorite target, a musical theater fan’s heartbreak and a child’s dream come true, returned to the drawing board for the national tour starting today. Co-librettists Lynn ahrens (also the lyricist) and Stephen flaherty (also the composer) team up with the director Christophe ashley for the touring version, which features Cathy Rigby like the cat in the hat.

2013 Anne-Nicole, the opera by Mark-Anthony Turnage and Richard Thomas about tabloid and reality star Anna Nicole Smith, makes its US debut at Brooklyn Academy of Music. The cast features a mix of classic and Broadway artists, including Sarah Joy Miller as Anna Nicole, James barbour like daddy Hogan, Ben davis as Billy, Robert Brubaker as Old Man Marshall, and Marie testa like Aunt Kaye. A co-production with the New York City Opera, this is City Opera’s last production before filing for bankruptcy (he returns on stage three years later).

2021 that of David Byrne American Utopia opens second Broadway tour at the St. James Theater. The theatrical concert includes songs from the album of the same name, as well as songs from Talking Heads and his solo career.

Today’s birthdays: Dorothée Loudon (1925-2003). Roddy McDowall (1928-1998). Anne Bancroft (1931-2005). Ken kesey (1935-2001). John ritter (1948-2003). Rita rudner (born 1955). Baz Luhrmann (born 1962). Constantin Maroulis (born 1975). Danielle Brooks (born 1989). Mélanie Moore (born 1991).

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