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Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: August 3

1921 Composer Richard Adler is born. Alongside Jerry Ross, he writes two of the most influential musicals of the 1950s: The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees. He also writes the score to 1961’s Kwamina.

1943 Martin Vale‘s melodrama The Two Mrs. Carrolls opens on Broadway at the Booth Theatre. Elisabeth Bergner stars as a woman who finds out her husband (played by Victor Jory) is attempting to murder her. During the run, Bergner befriends a fan who waits for her nightly at the stage door, but turns out to be lying in an attempt to advance her own career. When Bergner tells her experience to Mary Orr, fiancée of the play’s director Reginald Denham, Orr uses it as the basis for her short story “The Wisdom of Eve,” which is later adapted into the classic movie All About Eve.

1973 In one of the greatest disasters in Off-Broadway history, the 1870-vintage Broadway Central Hotel at 240 Mercer Street collapses, taking with it the honeycomb of eight theatre spaces known as the Mercer Arts Center. Among the shows left homeless by the collapse are the long-running One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Proposition, and El Coca Cola Grande.

1978 Sammy Davis, Jr. stars as Littlechap in a Broadway revival of the Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley musical Stop the World - I Want to Get Off.

1998 For the first time since a Times Square construction accident shut down business on July 21, the Off-Broadway musical Smoke On The Mountain performs. The production, first produced Off-Broadway in 1990 at the Lamb’s Theatre, returns to its home, this time on the upstairs mainstage. Connie Ray and Alan Bailey’s musical starring Robert Olsen tells of a humble, religious family who make music for local church groups and socials.

2002 Avenue Q is presented as one of three in-development musicals at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s Music Theater Conference in Connecticut. Within a year, it gets an Off-Broadway production that leads to a Broadway transfer and the Tony Award for Best Musical.

2013 The world premiere of Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman‘s musical The Bridges of Madison County opens at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Bartlett Sher directs the Broadway-bound production, starring Elena Shaddow as Francesca and Steven Pasquale as Robert. Kelli O’Hara steps into the role of Francesca when the production opens on Broadway in 2014.

2017 The Off-Broadway debut of Bobby Goldman and Drew Brody’s musical comedy Curvy Widow opens at the Westside Theatre. In the lead role is Tony nominee Nancy Opel, who plays a widowed, 50-something woman who immerses herself in the modern dating scene.

2018 The stage adaptation of Baz Luhrmann‘s 2001 film Moulin Rouge! has its world premiere engagement at Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre. The production, directed by Alex Timbers with a book by John Logan, combines songs from the movie with newer pop hits like Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” Aaron Tveit and Karen Olivo star as poet Christian and courtesan Satine. The production opens on Broadway the following year.

More of Today’s Birthdays: Francis Byrne (1876–1923), Larry Haines (1918–2008), Maria Karnilova (1920–2001), Tony Bennett (b. 1926), Martin Sheen (b. 1940), Mamie Gummer (b. 1983)

Flip through photos from Curvy Widow Off-Broadway:

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