Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: March 18


In 2012, the musical Once opens on Broadway.

1927 Birthday of composer John Kander, who composes scores for Broadway’s Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Woman of the Year, Zorba, and other musicals.

1952 George Tabori‘s Flight Into Egypt is staged by Elia Kazan at the Music Box Theatre. Zero Mostel, Jo Van Fleet, and Paul Mann are the Viennese refugees struggling to get to America.

1963 Using the play by Robert E. Sherwood and Jacques Deval, David Shaw devises Tovarich. Peter Glenville directs Vivien Leigh and Jean-Pierre Aumont. Songs are composed by Lee Pockriss and Anne Croswell. There are 264 performances.

1965 Elizabeth Allen plays a lonely woman desperate for love and wondering, Do I Hear a Waltz? Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim provide music and lyrics for Arthur Laurents‘ adaptation of his play, The Time of the Cuckoo. Sergio Franchi is the married man who comes into her life. There are 220 performances.

1966 The League of Resident Theatres is founded. LORT promotes community interests, raises funds, and renegotiates with labor unions every three years for regional professional theatres. Peter Zeisler is the first director.

1975 Two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster is born. Her Broadway appearances include starring roles in Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Drowsy Chaperone, Anything Goes, and Violet.

1993 At the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, Wendy Wasserstein‘s The Sisters Rosensweig opens after an Off-Broadway run at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. The comedy-drama stars Jane Alexander, Robert Klein, and Madeline Kahn who wins a Tony for Best Actress in a Play.

1999 Playwright David Hare makes his Broadway acting debut at the Booth Theatre in a solo play written by and about himself. Via Dolorosa (Way of Sadness) about the Arab-Israeli conflict, runs through June 13.

2012 Once, the stage musical based on the film about an Irish singer-songwriter named Guy, who meets a muse in the person of a Czech immigrant named Girl, opens at Broadway’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. A company of 13 actor-musicians—led by Steve Kazee as Guy, and Cristin Milioti as Girl—performs all roles and serves as the on-stage orchestra. The production wins eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It runs 1,168 performances.

2014 Angela Lansbury opens in Noël Coward‘s Blithe Spirit at the West End’s Gielgud Theatre, marking her first London stage appearance in nearly 40 years. Lansbury reprises the role of Madame Arcati that she previously played in a Tony-winning performance on Broadway in 2009.

More of Today’s Birthdays: Rose Coghlan (1851–1932). Vanessa Williams (b. 1963). Christopher J. Hanke (b. 1976). Eva Noblezada (b. 1996).

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