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Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: September 3

1827 Birthday of John Drew Sr., patriarch of the Drew and Barrymore acting dynasties that includes Georgiana Drew Barrymore; siblings Ethel Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, and John Barrymore; and today’s movie star (and namesake) Drew Barrymore.

1864 Joseph Jefferson opens at the Olympic Theatre in Rip Van Winkle.

1910 The Stuyvesant Theatre, which opened in 1907, is renamed the Belasco.

1910 Kitty Carlisle is born Catherine Conn in New Orleans, Louisiana. She appears in seven Broadway shows including White Horse Inn, Anniversary Waltz, and the 1983 revival of On Your Toes (as a replacement). She also appears in films with the Marx Brothers and Bing Crosby, and as a regular panelist on the television game show To Tell the Truth.

1923 Opening night of Poppy, the first book musical that stars comedian W.C. Fields. It runs 346 performances at Broadway’s Apollo Theatre.

1924 Opening night of the popular Maxwell Anderson and Laurence Stallings drama What Price Glory about two tough-as-nails soldiers who are perpetual rivals in war and love. The play runs 435 performances at the Plymouth Theatre.

1929 Opening night of the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II operetta Sweet Adeline, starring Helen Morgan in the title role. It runs 234 performances at Hammerstein’s Theatre and introduces the song “Why Was I Born?”

1969 George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan opens in revival at London’s Mermaid Theatre.

1998 Bill Irwin, David Shiner, and the Red Clay Ramblers put some finishing touches on the second revival of their 90-minute performance piece, Fool Moon, at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre. In November, the production transfers to Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre. The work is, for the most part, similar to the 1993 and 1995 incarnations: a series of sketches and stunts “featuring two grandmasters of physical lunacy in an evening of sly humor, chaos and music.”

2002 Ted Ross, the big-voiced actor who won a Tony Award for playing The Cowardly Lion in the Broadway musical, The Wiz, a performance he later recreated in the film, dies at age 68.

More of Today’s Birthdays: Sally Benson 1897. Anne Jackson 1926. Irene Papas 1926. Eileen Brennan 1932. Caryl Churchill 1938.

Watch highlights from Bill Irwin and David Shiner’s 2013 collaboration, Old Hats:

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