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Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: July 13

1940 Patrick Stewart is born in England. A Shakespearean-trained actor, Stewart’s Broadway appearances include a solo adaptation of A Christmas Carol, William Shakespeare‘s The Tempest and Macbeth, Arthur Miller‘s The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, and Samuel Beckett‘s Waiting for Godot. Stewart is known to television and film audiences around the world as Captain Picard from the popular 1990s television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and several Star Trek films.

1977 A massive power failure blacks out New York City around 9:30 PM, halting the second acts of many Broadway shows. Power is restored the following morning, neighborhood by neighborhood, but that is not be enough to save the July 14 evening attendance numbers from decreasing so sharply that many brokers sell tickets for that night at face value.

1999 Scottish playwright Sharman Macdonald’s The Brave begins performances at Off-Broadway’s Atlantic Theater. The play is about a Scottish housewife who, on a trip to North Africa to reunite with her estranged sister, kills a Muslim man who attempted to rape her. The production is helmed by Dave Mowers.

2000 Cousins Robbie and Steve Fox premiere their new musical The Gift at the Tiffany Theatre in Hollywood. The show, about five thirty-something guys who face their own mortality when an exotic dancer at a bachelor party brings an unexpected gift, is directed by Andy Fickman. The cast features Alicia Witt, Robert Torti, James Barbour, and Burke Moses.

2003 London rockers The Heather Brothers bring Off-Broadway back to the 1960s in their new musical Café a Go Go, directed by John Hadden with choreography by Susan Dibble.

2004 Emmy winners Jimmy Smits and Kristen Johnston star in the Shakespeare in the Park summer production of Much Ado About Nothing at the Delacorte Theatre.

2010 Jeff Goldblum and Mercedes Ruehl open in a West End production of Neil Simon‘s The Prisoner of Second Avenue at the Vaudeville Theatre. Directed by Terry Johnson, the black comedy depicts a New York couple enduring the trials and tribulations of city life.

2010 Two grand dames of the stage, Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch, take over as Desirée Armfeldt and her worldly-wise mother Madame Armfeldt, respectively, in the 2009 revival of A Little Night Music at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

2011 The hippies from the national tour of Hair turn their psychedelic bus around for a special engagement on Broadway at the St. James Theatre. The 10-week run is a summer stop on the musical’s U.S. tour, which launched in the fall of 2010.

2012 Henry V opens July 13 at Stratford Festival in Canada, directed by Tony winner Des McAnuff in his final production as the artistic director of the summer theatre series. The Bard’s war play stars Aaron Krohn in the title role.

2016 The Off-Broadway return of Bess Wohl’s Small Mouth Sounds, directed by Rachel Chavkin, officially opens at the Signature Theatre. The new play, about a group of urbanites struggling to find quiet and peace of mind, was originally produced by Ars Nova the year prior and played a sold-out, twice-extended run.

2017 Oscar Isaac stars as Hamlet in The Public’s modern-dress production of Shakespeare’s beloved drama. Sam Gold directs with a cast featuring Keegan-Michael Key, Gayle Rankin, Charlayne Woodard, and Anatol Yusef.

2019 Broadway goes dark when a blackout interrupts a wide swath of the New York City’s theatre district. As fans waited to find out if Saturday evening performances would go on, the casts of Hadestown, Come From Away, and more provided impromptu performances outside the theatres. While the curtain rises for a few shows, that night many return the following day for Sunday matinees.

More of Today’s Birthdays: William J. Hurlbut (1883–1957). Despo (1916–2004). David Storey (1933–2017). Didi Conn (b. 1951). Jason Danieley (b. 1971). Deborah Cox (b. 1974).

Watch Elaine Stritch sing “Liaisons” from A Little Night Music.

Author: Webmaster