Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: March 8


In 2015, Helen Mirren stars on Broadway in The Audience.

1920 Ziegfeld Girls of 1920 enjoys a run at the New Amsterdam Roof Theatre. This revue boasts the talents of Fanny Brice and W.C. Fields.

1932 Bert Lahr and Lupe Velez star in Hot-Cha! a musical by Mark Hellinger, Ray Henderson, and Lew Brown. It runs at the Ziegfeld Theatre. It’s the last original musical produced by impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, who dies four months later.

1960 In the year Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho opens, star Anthony Perkins returns to the stage to make his musical debut in Frank Loesser‘s Greenwillow. The production runs at Broadway’s Alvin Theatre.

1961 Jean Kerr‘s comedy Mary, Mary opens at the Helen Hayes Theatre. Barbara Bel Geddes and Barry Nelson star as a divorced couple who are forced to spend the night together because of a snowstorm. It runs 1,572 performances, overlapping with a 1963 film adaptation that stars Nelson opposite Debbie Reynolds.

1984 Nancy Marchand, Harry Hamlin, Benjamin Hendrickson, and Frances McDormand star in a revival of Awake and Sing!, a family drama set in the Depression-era Bronx. Theodore Mann directs the Clifford Odets play at Circle in the Square Theatre.

1999 Everybody’s Ruby, Thulani Davis’ drama based on a true murder and the writer, Zora Neale Hurston, who covered the trial, opens at the Joseph Papp Public/Anspacher Theater. Phylicia Rashad stars, with staging by Kenny Leon.

1999 Don’t be afraid… Night Must Fall. Or maybe you should be. Matthew Broderick stars as Danny, smiling and sinister, in the revival of Emlyn Williams‘s 1936 thriller. Judy Parfitt and J. Smith-Cameron co-star. John Tillinger directs at Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre.

2001 A star-studded production of Jon Robin Baitz’s newest play Ten Unknowns opens at Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. Donald Sutherland returns to the New York stage for the first time in 20 years, alongside Julianna Margulies, Justin Kirk and Denis O’Hare.

2007 John Mahoney, Alan Tudyk, and Annie Parisse star in Prelude to a Kiss by Craig Lucas at Roundabout’s American Airlines Theatre. The play follows an old man and young bride who accidentally switch bodies and end up learning the true meaning of love.

2015 Peter Morgan‘s The Audience, starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in imagined meetings with each of her Prime Ministers, opens on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Mirren wins a Tony Award for her performance, as does Richard McCabe for his performance as Harold Wilson.

2016 Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick‘s musical Disaster!, a parody of 1970’s disaster movies, opens on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre. The cast includes Roger Bart, Kerry Butler, Kevin Chamberlin, Adam Pascal, Faith Prince, Rachel York, and Jennifer Simard.

2016 Motown the Musical makes its West End debut at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London. Cedric Neal stars as Berry Gordy with Lucy St. Louis at Diana Ross, Charl Brown as Smokey Robinson, and Sifiso Mazibuko as Marvin Gaye. The show is directed by Charles Randolph-White and designed by David Korins.

Today’s Birthdays: Anna Held (1872–1918), Darrell Fancourt (1886–1953), Victor Wolfson (1909–1990), Eileen Herlie (1918–2008), Douglass Wallop (1920–1985), Cyd Charisse (1922–2008), Joseph Hardy (b. 1929), Timothy O’Brien (b. 1929), Paul Shyre (1929–1989), David Cryer (b. 1936), Lynn Redgrave (1943–2010), Carole Bayer Sager (b. 1947), Constanza Romero (b. 1958), Camryn Manheim (b. 1961), Robert Stanton (b. 1963), Ashley Spencer (b. 1985)

Watch highlights from Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick’s 2016 Broadway musical Disaster!:

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