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Photos: Broadway Unlocked Presents THE LADIES OF FREESTYLE LOVE SUPREME ACADEMY Live at the Waldorf

Broadway Unlocked presents Live at the Waldorf, an innovative hybrid experience that kicked off on Monday, August 23, 2021 with Live at the Waldorf The Ladies of Freestyle Love Supreme Academy featuring Aneesa ‘Young Nees’ Folds Freestyle Love Supreme, Sistas The Musical, Kaila ‘Kaiser Ros’ Mullady Freestyle Love Supreme, Beatbox World Champion, and more, leading the lineup.

Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: August 31

1897 John Drew and Billie Burke (in her Broadway debut) are the stars of the new play, My Wife, opening at the Empire Theatre. There are 129 performances.

1897 Actor Fredric March is born. He creates many memorable stage roles in landmark plays, notably Mr. Antrobus in The Skin of Our Teeth and James Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

1899 Playwright Lynn Riggs is born in—where else?—Oklahoma. His plays like Roadside, Big Lake, Russet Mantle, and Green Grow the Lilacs, capture the simple life on what used to be frontier America. Green Grow the Lilacs is adapted by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II as one of the greatest hits of the American musical theatre, Oklahoma!.

1916 It’s opening night for one of the biggest hits in the history of Broadway’s huge Hippodrome Theatre. The extravaganza The Big Show opens a 425-performance run featuring Dixie Gerard, Dippy Diers, and The Metzetti Brothers.

1918 Alan Jay Lerner, son of the founder of Lerner stores, is born in New York City. Lerner becomes a Broadway lyricist and collaborates with Frederick Loewe on such Broadway classics as Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, and Camelot. Together they also write the score for the Academy Award-winning film Gigi.

1942 Alec Coppel’s I Killed the Count opens at the Cort Theatre. The production is staged by Frank Carrington and Agnes Morgan.

1953 A revival of Oklahoma! opens at City Center, bringing the number of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals running simultaneously on Broadway to four. To celebrate the occasion, New York Mayor Vincent R. Impellitteri designates August 31 to September 6 as “Rodgers and Hammerstein Week.” The other three Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals also on Broadway at the time are the original productions of The King and I, Me and Juliet, and South Pacific. The cast for the five-week limited engagement of Oklahoma! includes Florence Henderson as Laurey and Barbara Cook as Ado Annie.

1998 Boys’ Life, the play that gave playwright Howard Korder a name in the field when it was produced in 1988 at Lincoln Center, receives a 10th anniversary revival at Off-Broadway’s Judith Anderson Theatre. The drama, which was nominated for the 1988 Pulitzer Prize, examines three friends on the verge of adulthood as they maneuver their way through the sexual mores of 1980s America.

1999 After they “brought in” ‘da Noise and ‘da Funk, the bucket drummers of the 1996 Broadway musical return to the New York stage to Keep Bangin’. The new show at Off-Broadway’s Players Theatre features the urban percussionists from Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk once again in collaboration with the show’s star, Savion Glover. However, this time Glover takes the helm as director.

2011 A revised staging of George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Dorothy Heyward, and DuBose Heyward‘s American folk opera Porgy and Bess—starring Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis—opens at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The production later transfers to Broadway and wins Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical (McDonald) and Best Revival of a Musical.

2019 Performances begin at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park for the Public Theater’s Public Works’ musical adaptation of Hercules, with Jelani Alladin in the title role. Krysta Rodriguez co-stars as Meg with Roger Bart as Hades plus memorable turns by Jeff Hiller, James Monroe Iglehart, Ramona Keller, Tamika Lawrence, and Rema Webb. The production, directed by Lear deBessonet, also featured over 200 New Yorkers from all five boroughs. Using Disney film’s beloved score—as well as five new songs—by the film’s composer Alan Menken and lyricist David Zippel, Hercules featured a new book by Kristoffer Diaz and choreography by Chase Brock.

More of Today’s Birthdays: DuBose Heyward (1885–1940), Dore Schary (1905–1980), Sanford Meisner (1905–1997), William Saroyan (1908–1981), Richard Basehart (1914–1984), Buddy Hackett (1924–2003), Thomas L. Miller (1940–2020), Timothy Meyers (1945–1989), Richard Gere (b. 1949), Stephen McKinley Henderson (b. 1949), Jonathan Cake (b. 1967), Deborah Gibson (b. 1970), Sara Ramirez (b. 1975).

Watch highlights from Hercules, starring Jelani Alladin and Krysta Rodriguez:

Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: August 29

1899 The Girl From Maxime’s, one of Georges Feydeau‘s most sparkling farces, has its U.S. premiere at the Criterion Theatre.

1921 Loew’s State Theatre opens a block south of the Palace in Times Square. It has appearances by W.C. Fields, David Warfield, and Frank Fay, among others.

1922 George Kelly‘s comedy The Torch Bearers opens a 135-performance run at the 48th Street Theatre.

1934 George Abbott directs Harry Madden and Philip Dunning‘s comedy Kill That Story, opening at the Booth Theatre for a run of 117 performances. The play about a reporter who foils a plot by two villainous publishers to buy an honest newspaper for a political boss, stars Buford Armitage, James Bell, Matt Briggs, William Foran, William Lynn, and Claire Carleton.

1990 Sandy, the canine companion of the title character in the original Broadway production of Annie, dies at the age of 16. Once an abused puppy, he was bought from the Connecticut Humane Society for $8 on the day he was to be put to sleep. The pooch, who was named for the part he played in the production, only missed 14 performances of the 2,377, having booked a Las Vegas gig with the show’s original star Andrea McArdle.

1999 Tony Award-winning actor Roger Rees dons his directorial hat as he helms William Shakespeare‘s The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Old Globe in California. Dakin Matthews stars as Falstaff.

2015 Kyle Jean-Baptiste, who made history as the youngest actor and first African-American to play the role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables on Broadway, dies at age 21.

Today’s Birthdays: John E. Ince (1878-1947). Preston Sturges (1898-1959). Barry Sullivan (1912-1994). Ingrid Bergman (1915-1982). Sono Osato (1919-2018). Dick O’Neill (1928-1998). Patricia Conolly (b. 1933). Elliott Gould (b. 1938). Frances Ruffelle (b. 1965). Carla Gugino (b. 1971). Lea Michele (b. 1986).

Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: August 28

1917 Jerome Kern, Guy Bolton, and P.G. Wodehouse open their romantic musical-comedy Leave It To Jane at the Longacre Theatre. The score includes “Just You Watch My Step,” “The Siren’s Song,” “Cleopatterer,” and the title number.

1930 Stage and film actor Ben Gazzara is born in New York. Broadway credits will include Hughie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Duet, A Hatful of Rain, Shimada, and the 1976 revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1939 Dancer-producer-director George White opens the 13th and last edition of his George White’s Scandals revues with an eclectic cast that includes Ann Miller, Ella Logan, and The Three Stooges. It runs 120 performances at the Alvin Theatre.

1985 Actor-writer Ruth Gordon dies of a stroke at age 88. With such stage successes as Seventeen, Serena Blandish, and Ethan Frome, Gordon was one of Broadway’s brightest stars during the 1920s and 1930s. She married stage actor Gregory Kelly who died suddenly in 1927 of a heart attack. She later married again, in 1942, to the playwright Garson Kanin, with whom she collaborated on many projects, including the stage work Years Ago and screenplays for Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Notable movie acting appearances include Harold and Maude and Rosemary’s Baby.

2011 Day two of New York City’s shut down under the threat of Hurricane (later downgraded to Tropical Storm) Irene. All Broadway and most Off-Broadway shows are canceled, and there is a system-wide shut down of New York City mass transit. Theatre and transit both resume on Monday, August 29.

2016 Fuerza Bruta, the popular, fast-paced show from Buenos Aires, ends its nine-year run Off-Broadway. Combining live music, projections, and aerial displays, with scenes set above the audience, it played 3,0004 performances at the Daryl Roth Theatre.

Today’s Birthdays: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). Charles Boyer (1899-1978). Sam Levene (1905-1980). Nancy Kulp (1921-1991). Jo Sullivan Loesser (1927-2019). Donald O’Connor (1925-1933). Elizabeth Seal (b. 1933). Peter Bartlett (b. 1942). Alice Playten (1947-2011). Wayne Cilento (b. 1949). Jennifer Coolidge (b. 1961). Andy Karl (b. 1974). Armie Hammer (b. 1986).

In the News: Rich + Tone Talauega Join MJ Creative Team, Denise Gough Tapped for FX Crime Series With Andrew Garfield

Read on for more theatre headlines you may have missed in today’s news.

Rich + Tone Talauega Join the Creative Team of MJ the Musical
Choreographer brothers Rich and Tone Talauega have been tapped for the creative team of the upcoming Broadway musical MJ. The pair, who began their careers on Michael Jackson’s HIStory World Tour, will focus specifically on the title character’s movement in the show. “Working with Rich and Tone over the last three years of our developmental process has been exceptional and I am so thrilled to announce them,” said director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. “It has been very exciting to have them as a part of my team as their first-hand knowledge both of Michael’s life on tour and movement languages is invaluable and informed the authenticity of our show.” The Talauegas have previously choreographed multiple numbers in the two shows produced by the Michael Jackson Estate and Cirque du Soleil, Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour and Michael Jackson ONE, a resident show in Las Vegas. MJ begins previews December 6 with newcomer Myles Frost in the title role.

Denise Gough Reunites with Andrew Garfield for FX series
Two-time Olivier winner Denise Gough will join her Angels in America co-star for FX’s limited series Under The Banner Of Heaven, Deadline reports. The series is based on Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction crime drama surrounding a 1984 murder committed by extremist members of the LDS church. Garfield stars as Pyre, a church elder, alongside Daisy Edgar-Jones, the murder victim Brenda Lafferty. Gough joins the cast with Sam Worthington, Wyatt Russell, Seth Numrich (Travesties) and Rory Culkin, all who play members of the Lafferty family. Production is currently underway on the series, which will be available on FX on Hulu.

The Broadway Women’s Alliance and YesAnd Productions Collab for Docu-Series
Through interviews, first-hand accounts, on-site coverage, and self-submissions, the docu-series Here’s To The Ladies Who will chronicle the stories of the women working on the business side of Broadway, focusing on their journeys and the industry, and how they adapted during the pandemic. “As we emerge from the shutdown, we’re hearing stories from women who have dealt with the uncertainty of job loss, held companies together through sheer will, pivoted careers and pivoted back again. These women are leading the charge on rebuilding the future of Broadway and beyond,” said Jennifer Isaacson, a co-founder of Broadway Women’s Alliance. The series is directed by Heather Arnson, executive produced by Catherine Markowitz, and line produced by Arielle Cohen, Anna Mack, and Holly Sutton. The series is expected to premiere in early 2022. Story submissions can be made here.

Marry Murder F*&%k - A Ballroom Comedy Will Play The Flea Theater
Playwright Candace H. Caplin will star opposite her ballroom instructor Ronny Dutra in her new comedy premiering September 24 at The Flea Theater. Marry Murder F*&%k centers on Rae Applebaum, who comes home to find her mother in the arms of a half-naked dance teacher. Also in the cast are Audrey Rose Young and Gary Wolf. The play is co-written by Kim St. Leon, who also co-directs with Dutra. The limited engagement runs through October 3. For ticketing, click here.