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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).

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