/* Mobile Menu Retract ---------------------------------*/

Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: July 31

1948 The original Broadway production of Brigadoon closes after 581 performances at the Ziegfeld Theatre. Written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. Agnes de Mille won the 1947 Tony Award for Best Choreography for her work on the show—especially notable since the 1947 ceremony was the first Tonys in history. Brigadoon marks Lerner and Loewe’s third Broadway collaboration. The production stars David Brooks, Marion Bell, Pamela Britton, and Lee Sullivan and goes on to inspire the 1954 film starring Gene Kelly (which you can watch here). Separately, this date marked the closing of Strange Bedfellows, the play by Florence Ryerson (the last of hers to appear on Broadway) and Colin Clement.

1967 Judy Garland is At Home at The Palace for a four-week engagement at the famed theatre. Following a first act of vaudeville comic Jackie Vernon, soft-shoe and tap dancer John Bubbles, and juggler Francis Brunn, Garland performs a concert of signature songs including “The Man That Got Away,” “Rockabye Your Baby,” “Chicago,” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” During the performance, Garland also introduces “her proteges” Joey and Lorna Luft.

1969 Talk about a writer’s revenge! Josef Bush, who adapted De Sade Illustrated at Off-Broadway’s Bouwerie Theatre, wreaks havoc on the set, spreading white paint all over it. His reason: a nude scene he doesn’t approve of has been added.

1979 Brenda Braxton, Cleavant Derricks, Reginald Vel Johnson, and Lynn Thigpen are among the denizens of Wonderland in But Never Jam Today, Vinnette Carroll and Bob Larimer’s all-black adaptation of Lewis Carroll‘s classic Alice in Wonderland. The production opens on this day in history. However, it runs a short eight regular performances at the Longacre Theatre.

1985 A revised version of the musical revue What’s a Nice Country Like You…Doing in a State Like This? opens at Off-Broadway’s Actors’ Playhouse. Missy Baldino, Jane Brucker, Steve Mulch, Hugh Panaro, and Rob Resnick sing music by Cary Hoffman and lyrics by Ira Gasman. The show plays 252 performances before closing February 9.

2003 A musical in which puppets are the main characters? The PG-13-rated musical, Avenue Q, opens at the Golden Theatre, confounding skeptics with an eyebrow-raising run that brings it the 2004 Tony Award as Best Musical. It also marks the Broadway debut of now-double EGOT winner Bobby Lopez. It stays on Broadway for 2,534 performances before transferring to a commercial Off-Broadway run at New World Stages. The show is the first of its kind in the modern era to make the transfer from Broadway to Off-Broadway, leading the way for shows like Rock of Ages and Jersey Boys to do the same in the future.

2005 The Broadway revival of Steel Magnolias closes at the Lyceum Theatre, but the thing to note about the production was the Broadway debut of actor Lily Rabe—who earned a Tony nomination for her performance.

2009 Sheryl Lee Ralph, Barbara Walsh, and Karen Ziemba sing new songs by the legendary team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland in the new musical The First Wives Club. Opening at The Old Globe in San Diego, California, the musical inspired by the novel and film of the same name is directed by Francesca Zambello, and features a libretto by Rupert Holmes.

2016 A Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking musical Cats opens at the Neil Simon Theatre. Chart-topping British pop star Leona Lewis plays the role of Grizabella the Glamour Cat—the role originally created in London by Elaine Paige and subsequently on Broadway by Betty Buckley. On this same date, Fully Committed starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson closes at the Lyceum Theatre. Written by Becky Mode, the show earned the Drama Desk for Oustanding Solo Performanc.

2019 Domenica Feraud’s Rinse, Repeat officially opens July 31 at the Signature Theatre Off-Broadway. With the actor-playwright starring in the leading role of Rachel, the new play, directed by Kate Hopkins, traces a young woman’s struggles with an eating disorder. The cast also features Florencia Lozano (One Life to Live) as Rachel’s mother Joan, Jake Ryan Lozano (Mary Stuart) as Brody, Portia (Queen For a Day) as Brenda, and Michael Hayden (A View From The Bridge, When They See Us) as Peter.

Today’s Birthdays: Vernel Bagneris (b. 1949), Eve Best (b. 1971), Geraldine Chaplin (b. 1944), Daniel Evans (b. 1973), Richard Griffiths (1947–2013), Don Murray (b. 1929), Peter Nichols (1927–2019), J.K. Rowling (b. 1965), Sab Shimono (b. 1943), Wesley Snipes (b. 1962).

Watch highlights from the 2016 Broadway revival of Cats:

Tonya Pinkins, Condola Rashad, Steven Boyer, More Set for Playing on Air Season

Plays by Alan Zweibel, Rachel Bonds, Cassandra Medley, and David Ives will stream as part of Playing on Air‘s August mini-season. The podcast series of audio dramas will feature four short works, each followed by a conversation with the artists.

The August lineup follows:

August 2: Happy by Alan Zweibel
Starring Frankie Faison and Scott Adsit, directed by Fred Berner
A baseball fan shows up at the home of his childhood hero, George “Happy” Halliday. Has the stranger come to pay his respects or to throw a curveball?

Condola Rashad Bruce Glikas / Manhattan Theatre Club

August 9: Anniversary by Rachel Bonds
Starring Sarah Sokolovic, Michael Esper, Sue Jean Kim, and Steven Boyer, directed by Linsay Firman
Through a haze of gin, mediocre roast beef, and horrible apartment parties, a grieving New Yorker finds herself drawn to a quirky, flirtatious friend-of-a-friend.

August 16: Cell by Cassandra Medley
Starring Tony winner Tonya Pinkins, Condola Rashad, and Melanie Nicholls-King
When a jaded guard at an immigrant detention center finds jobs for her sister and niece, family tensions erupt into a battle over home and homeland security.

August 23: St. Francis Preaches to the Birds by David Ives
Starring Carson Elrod, Julie Halston, and Matthew Saldivar with cameos by Lois Smith and Ives
In the middle of the desert, two vultures find their lunch interrupted by a man of faith. Now, they have a bone to pick with Saint Francis of Assisi.

READ: Why Horror Had to Be the Genre of Tonya Pinkins’ Directorial Film Debut Red Pill

For more information, click here.

Click Here for Playbill’s Theatre Coverage,
Resources, and More During
the Coronavirus Shutdown

Harlem9 Will Present 48Hours in…Harlem Digitally Due to Coronavirus

Harlem9, the collaborative producing organization composed of a group of Black theatre professionals, will present its annual theatre festival online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 48Hours in…™Harlem will stream August 20–24, beginning at 7 PM ET each evening on Veeps.com.

The festival brings together six playwrights, six directors, and 18 actors, including A Strange Loop star Larry Owens and choreographer Raja Feather Kelly. Penning the pieces are playwrights are Keith Josef Adkins, Brittany K. Allen, Tracey Conyer Lee, Nadine Mozon, jeremy o’brian, and L. Trey Wilson. Kelly directs one piece, as do Marjuan Canady, nicHi douglas, Malika Oyetimein, Logan Pitts, and Dominique Rider.

The roster of performers includes Owens, Mikayla LaShae Bartholomew, Eric Berryman, Kaaron Briscoe, Ashley Bufkin, Brandon E. Burton, Shavanna Calder, Broderick Clavery, Rasheda Crockett, Patricia R. Floyd, Freddie Fulton, Ashley N. Hildreth, Manu Kumasi, April Matthis, Javon Q. Minter, AK Murthadha, David Ryan Smith, and D. Woods.

The new plays were written in 48 hours July 17–19, then rehearsed and recorded during an additional 48-hour period July 24–25.

For this year’s festival, playwrights were inspired by the same six Black plays from 48 Hours in..‘s. inaugural year: Zooman and the Sign, The Colored Museum, Day of Absence, Funnyhouse of a Negro, Dutchman, and Black Terror.

Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: July 27

1982 Little Shop of Horrors begins a 2,209-performance run at Off-Broadway’s Orpheum Theatre. Based on the Roger Corman cult classic about a man-eating plant, the Alan MenkenHoward Ashman musical stars Lee Wilkof and Ellen Greene. The 1986 film version of the musical, directed by Frank Oz, stars Rick Moranis, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, John Candy, and Greene reprising her stage role as Audrey.

2000 Nathan Lane stars as Sheridan Whiteside opposite Jean Smart as Lorraine Sheldon in a revival of the Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman play, The Man Who Came to Dinner, opening at the Roundabout Theatre Company‘s new Broadway house, the American Airlines Theatre.

2000 Martin McDonagh’s A Skull in Connemara opens at Seattle’s ACT Theatre in its first American staging. Part of the playwright’s Leeanne Trilogy, the work follows a gravedigger who comes across the remains of his late wife, dredging up memories and rumors about her mysterious death several years ago. The play goes on to receive an Off-Broadway staging from Roundabout Theatre Company at The Gramercy in 2001.

2001 Alan King plays legendary film producer Samuel Goldwyn in Mr. Goldwyn at New York Stage and Film in Poughkeepsie, New York. Marsha Lebby and John Lollos’ play transfers Off-Broadway the following year.

2004 A production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd opens at London’s new Trafalgar Studios with a cast of actor-musicians performing the bloody tale of revenge and meat pies.

2006 Patrick Swayze makes his long-awaited West End debut in the production of Guys and Dolls as Nathan Detroit at the Piccadilly Theatre.

2008 I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, which opened Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre on August 1, 1996, plays its final performance. The musical revue played a total of 20 previews and 5,003 regular performances, making it the second longest-running musical in Off-Broadway history.

2009 The world premiere of Lila Rose Kaplan’s Wildflower, starring Nadia Bowers, Ron Cephas Jones, Quincy Dunn-Baker, Jake O’Connor, and Renée Felice Smith opens at Second Stage Uptown at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre.

2011 A Latin-themed adaptation of The Wizard Of Oz takes the stage when The Yellow Brick Road opens at Off-Broadway’s Lucille Lortel Theatre. The production is directed by Devanand Janki and choreographed by Janki and Robert Tatad, starring Virginia Cavaliere as Dora, Natalie Toro as La Bruja, and Ryan Duncan as Scarecrow.

2015 Fernanda Coppel’s King Liz officially opens Off-Broadway at Second Stage Uptown, starring Karen Pittman as sports agent Liz Rico who fights to stay on top in a man’s industry. Directed by Lisa Peterson, the cast includes Michael Cullen, Jeremie Harris, Russell G. Jones, Caroline Lagerfelt, and Irene Sofia Lucio.

2016 Richard Strand’s Civil War-set historical dramedy Butler opens at 59E59. Inspired by real-life historical events, the play follows the story of Benjamin Butler and Shepard Mallory, an escaped slave who seeks sanctuary at Butler’s fort. Directed by Joseph Discher, the cast features Ames Adamson, John G. Williams, David Sitler, and Ben Sterling.

2018 The world premiere of Tom Kitt, Thomas Meehan, and Nell Benjamin‘s musical Dave, based on the 1993 film of the same name, opens at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Drew Gehling stars as Dave Kovic, a high school teacher (and presidential lookalike) who is hired by the Secret Service as a stand-in for the Commander-in-Chief. Directed by Tina Landau, the cast also includes Mamie Parris as the First Lady, and Douglas Sills as Chief of Staff.

Today’s Birthdays: Alexandre Dumas, fils (1824–1895), Miles White (1914–2000), Keenan Wynn (1916–1986) Beatrice Pearson (1920–1986). Maureen McGovern (b. 1949), Simon Jones (b. 1950),.

Watch Little Shop of Horrors composer Alan Menken talk about the musical: