Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: February 18

playbill-vault’s-today-in-theatre-history:-february-18

In 1982, Cher, Sandy Dennis, and Karen Black star in Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.

1859 Sholem Yakov Rabinowitz is born in Ukraine. Under the pen name Sholem Aleichem he writes many stories in Yiddish, several of which are adapted for the stage, most notably Fiddler on the Roof.

1915 Blossom Seeley, Nora Bayes, and Joe Jackson are Maid in America. Music to the war-oriented show is provided by Sigmund Romberg and Harry Carroll.

1930 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart collaborate with comedian Ed Wynn on a musical-comedy vehicle called Simple Simon, which runs 135 performances at the Ziegfeld Theatre. The score includes “Ten Cents a Dance.”

1948 Mister Roberts, Thomas Heggen‘s portrait of life aboard a WWII military ship, opens a 1,157-performance run, starring Henry Fonda and David Wayne. It wins the 1948 Tony Award for Best Play.

1954 Audrey Hepburn stars with husband Mel Ferrer in the medieval romance Ondine, directed by Alfred Lunt. It runs 157 performances at the 46th Street Theatre.

1964 It’s Any Wednesday or any of the 982 days the comedy runs at the Music Box Theatre. Don Porter stars as a pompous businessman balancing a wife and mistress. Sandy Dennis, Rosemary Murphy, and Gene Hackman are in the cast.

1982 Ed Graczyk‘s Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean opens at the Martin Beck Theatre. Robert Altman directs stars Sandy Dennis, Cher, Karen Black, Kathy Bates, Marta Heflin, and Sudie Bond for the production, which runs 52 performances.

1999 The Mineola Twins opens at the Roundabout Theatre Company‘s Off-Broadway Laura Pels Theatre. Paula Vogel, who won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for How I Learned to Drive, penned the play which stars Swoosie Kurtz as identical twins Myrna and Myra. Joe Mantello stages.

2003 Off-Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons christens its new $27 million West 42nd Street mainstage with the first preview of My Life With Albertine, Ricky Ian Gordon and Richard Nelson‘s musical adaptation of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past.

2016 Following an acclaimed Off-Broadway run the previous fall, Stephen Karam’s family ensemble drama The Humans opens on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre. The production runs 365 performances and wins four Tony Awards, including Best Play, Best Featured Actor in a Play (Reed Birney), and Best Featured Actress in a Play (Jayne Houdyshell).

2019 After a 2017 Broadway opening, Come From Away makes its way to London, opening in the West End.

2020 Alice Birch’s Anatomy of a Suicide makes its U.S. premiere, opening at Atlantic Theatre Company. The Susam Smith Blackburn Prize-winning play explores mothers and daughters across three generations, as their lives play our simultaneously on stage.

More of Today’s Birthdays: Billy DeWolfe (1907–1974). Jack Palance (1920–2006). Mary Ure (1933–1975). Sinead Cusack (b. 1948). John Travolta (b. 1954). Jayne Atkinson (b. 1959). Matt Dillon (b. 1964). Molly Ringwald (b. 1968). Christopher Sieber (b. 1969). Susan Egan (b. 1970). Rupert Goold (b. 1972).

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