Playbill Vault's Today In Theatre History: April 12

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today In Theatre History: April 12
Faith Prince as Ella Peterson in <i>Bells Are Ringing</i>.
Faith Prince as Ella Peterson in Bells Are Ringing.

1905 The colossal Hippodrome Theatre opens on Broadway today. The inaugural production is the colorful extravaganza A Yankee Circus on Mars. It will run 176 performances.

1943 Birthday of Charles Ludlum (1943-1987) outrageous playwright (The Mystery of Irma Vep and many others), performer, director and founder of the Off-Off-Broadway Ridiculous Theatrical Company.

1944 In The Searching Wind, playwright Lillian Hellman ponders some of the causes of World War II. The cast includes Dudley Digges, Cornelia Otis Skinner and Montgomery Clift. This drama will run nearly ten months at the Fulton Theatre in New York.

1959 Actor, playwright and producer James Gleason dies today in Woodland Hills, California. With George Abbott he wrote the comedy The Fall Guy. He was 73 years old.

1975 Performer Josephine Baker died today. Leaving America at a time when black perfomers rarely broke free from falsely stereotyped roles, she become a tremendous success in Paris with the Folies-Bergere. She was 68 years old.

1978 London's National Theatre has Plenty. David Hare's play comes to life with Kate Nelligan and Julie Covington in the cast.

1992 Tennessee Williams' immortal character Stanley Kowalski is reborn in the form of Alec Baldwin as a revival of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Amy Madigan and Jessica Lange also star in the production, directed by Gregory Mosher.

1994 Edward Albee once again wins the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Three Tall Women. He won the award previously in for A Delicate Balance in 1967 and for Seascape in 1975. This win ties him with playwright Robert E. Sherwood, making them both one shy of the four-timer Eugene O'Neill.

2001 Faith Prince stars as the charmingly meddlesome answering service operator Ella Peterson in the first Broadway revival of Betty Comden, Adolph Green & Jule Styne's Bells Are Ringing, which opens tonight.

2015 A stage version of the classic Gershwin film An American in Paris opens on Broadway at the Palace Theatre. Directed and choregraphed by Christopher Wheeldon, it stars Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope.

More of Today's Birthdays: Ann Miller 1923. Alan Ayckbourn 1939. Dan Lauria 1947. David Cassidy 1950. Claire Danes 1979.