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Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: June 11

1974 The World of Lenny Bruce opens at the Players Theatre. Frank Spieser‘s solo play, in which he impersonates satirist Lenny Bruce, runs for 17 weeks.

1985 Neil Simon‘s The Odd Couple gets a revised and reversed revival at the Broadhurst Theatre. Gene Saks directs Rita Moreno as Olive Madison and Sally Struthers as Florence Unger in the play that was originally written for men. The production plays 295 performances before closing on February 23 of the following year.

2000 Tony takes its toll as two shows close one week following the Awards: Elaine May‘s Taller Than a Dwarf, which did not receive any Tony nominations, and Michael John LaChiusa‘s The Wild Party, which received seven noms, but zero wins.

2002 Thomas McCormack’s Endpapers first bows at the Variety Arts Theatre Off-Broadway ahead of a June 23 opening. Tim Hopper leads a cast that also includes Shannon Burkett, William Cain, and Beth Dixon.

2002 Beth Leavel shadow-waltzes center stage in 42nd Street, officially taking over as Dorothy Brock from Christine Ebersole in the Broadway revival. She’d go on to play the role full-time for nearly two years before going on to star in The Drowsy Chaperone, earning her a Tony Award.

2003 After appearing in various Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, Thirtysomething star Polly Draper makes her NYC playwriting debut with Getting Into Heaven, beginning performances at Off-Broadway’s Flea Theater. She also stars alongside Barbara eda-Young, Gretchen Egolf, James Badge Dale, and Cooper Pillot.

2012 The world premiere of John Patrick Shanley‘s Bronx-set Storefront Church—the third play of his trilogy that began with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Doubt—opens Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company‘s Linda Gross Theater. Directed by the playwright, the play tells the story of a Bronx borough President (Giancarlo Esposito) who is forced by the mortgage crisis into a confrontation with a local minister (Ron Cephas Jones).

2013 Two world premieres open Off-Broadway: the MCC Theater production of Neil LaBute‘s Reasons to Be Happy opens at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, and the Atlantic Theater Company production of John Guare‘s 3 Kinds of Exile opens at the Linda Gross Theater.

2019 Inspired by his own experience as a prop handler on a TV commercial set, Rob Ackerman debuts his play Dropping Gumballs on Luke Wilson, which begins at A.R.T./New York Theatres. Theresa Rebeck makes her Off-Broadway directorial debut with the production, which stars Dean Nolen, Reyna De Courcy, George Hampe, and Ann Harada.

Today’s Birthdays: Ben Jonson (1572–1637); Richard Strauss (1864–1949); Peter Foy (1925–2005); Athol Fugard (b. 1932); Gene Wilder (1933–2016); Daniel Sullivan (b. 1940); Adrienne Barbeau (b. 1945); Matt McGrath (b. 1969).

Watch highlights from Athol Fugard’s The Road to Mecca, starring Rosemary Harris:

Author: Webmaster