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MUSICAL THEATRE ARCHIVES

Here is some musical theatre trivia about events that happened during THIS month in the past:
December 24, 1893    Harry Warren, composer for most of the iconic movie musicals of the 1930s – including 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, 1935, and 1937, and Go Into Your Dance, all written with lyricist Al Dubin – was born today. He died in 1981, a year after his music was immortalized on Broadway in 42nd Street.

December 6, 1896    Lyricist Ira Gershwin was born today. On Broadway, he worked almost exclusively with his brother George on shows like Lady Be Good, Funny Face, Oh Kay!, and Rosalie. After George’s premature death, he also collaborated with Kurt Weill on Lady in the Dark and The Firebrand of Florence. For the movies, he also collaborated with Jerome Kern and Harold Arlen.

December 9, 1897    British comedienne Hermione Gingold, who stole scenes in the musical movies Gigi and The Music Man and received a Tony Award nod at the age of 75 for A Little Night Music, was born today. (She also appeared in Harold Prince’s ill-fated film version of …Night Music.)

December 2, 1914    Ray Walston, who appeared in Me and Juliet and House of Flowers before originating the role of a lifetime as Applegate in Damn Yankees – and winning a Tony Award for it – was born today.

December 8, 1925    Rat-packer Sammy Davis, Jr., who starred on Broadway in Mr. Wonderful, a revival of Stop the World – I Want to Get Off, and Golden Boy (for which he received a Tony Award nomination, was born today. A dancer since the age of five, he also made movie musicals, including Sweet Charity and Porgy & Bess.

December 26, 1931    Of Thee I Sing, a depression-era musical satire of American politics, opened on Broadway to rave reviews and terrific box office numbers. Penned by Moss Hart and George and Ira Gershwin, it became the first musical to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

December 1, 1945    Bette Midler, the recording and film star who began her career playing Tzeitel in the original Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof, was born today

December 23, 2005    Broadway theatre going more-or-less returned to normal following a two-day New York City Transit Workers strike. It was the first such transit strike in New York in 25 years.

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