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Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: November 28

1923 Lionel Barrymore stars in David Belasco‘s Laugh, Clown, Laugh!, the Pagliacci-like story of a middle-aged clown who adopts a young girl, but later, as she grows into womanhood, finds his feelings for her are growing into love, just as she is falling for a boy her own age. The classic weeper runs 133 performances at the Belasco Theatre and is made into a film with Lon Chaney.

1934 Libby Holman introduces the Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz standard “You and the Night and the Music” in the musical Revenge with Music, co-starring Georges Metaxa.

1951 John Van Druten‘s play I Am a Camera stages the story of Sally Bowles, the Berlin cabaret singer first introduced in Christopher Isherwood‘s stories, who is later musicalized in Cabaret. Julie Harris stars as Sally in the non-musical drama which runs 214 performances at the Empire Theatre.

1957 Anthony Perkins plays the sensitive young man in Ketti FringsLook Homeward, Angel, which opens at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, and runs 564 performances.

1962 For two weeks only Ahab chases Moby Dick. Orson Welles‘ adaptation of the Herman Melville novel, featuring Rod Steiger, lasts just that long at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

1968 Morning, Noon and Night, three avant-garde plays by Israel Horovitz, Terrence McNally, and Leonard Melfi respectively, opens at the Henry Miller Theatre. Theodore Mann directs the 52 performances. The cast includes Robert Klein and Sorrell Booke.

1972 Via Galactica opens at the new Uris Theatre with a $900,000 price tag. The musical, set on “a forgotten asteroid called Ithaca” in the year 2972, is directed by Peter Hall, and has a score by Galt MacDermot. It runs for seven performances.

1978 What are Porno Stars at Home like? Leonard Melfi‘s play highlights a birthday party with imaginary guests from that industry. It runs two months Off-Broadway at the Courtyard Playhouse.

2000 In a collaboration, Moisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project traveled to Laramie, Wyoming to interview folks about the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard. The resulting show, The Laramie Project, is presented in Laramie for the first time, following runs at the Denver Center Theatre Company and Off-Broadway’s Union Square Theatre. Gay university student Shepard was beaten to death on the outskirts of town. The crime sparked outrage, debate, and mourning around the world. Many residents are represented in the show and are expected to show up to see how Kaufman, his co-writers, and actors present them.

2007 A settlement is reached in a 19-day stagehands’ strike against most Broadway shows, which is estimated to have cost the theatre industry and the New York economy nearly $40 million.

2012 My Name Is Asher Lev, Aaron Posner’s play based on Chaim Potok’s best-selling novel, opens at Off-Broadway’s Westside Theatre. Ari Brand stars in the title role, opposite Mark Nelson and Jenny Bacon as parents Aryeh and Rivkeh. The production runs for 341 performances.

More of Today’s Birthdays: John Willard 1885. Randy Newman 1943. Ed Harris 1950. S. Epatha Merkerson 1952. Colman Domingo 1969.

Watch highlights from a 2014 concert presentation of Randy Newman’s Faust:

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