Playbill Vault's Today In Theatre History: April 15

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today In Theatre History: April 15
Alice Ripley, Aaron Tveit and J Robert Spencer in Next to Normal.
Alice Ripley, Aaron Tveit and J Robert Spencer in Next to Normal. Joan Marcus

1929 In The Camel Through the Needle's Eye, Miriam Hopkins plays a poor woman who discovers the hard way that money can't buy happiness. This drama will run six months.

1960 Actress Lillah McCarthy died in London today. George Bernard Shaw wrote Fanny's First Play for her. At one time she was married to Harley Granville-Barker. She was 84 years old.

1969 Peter Foy obtains a U.S. patent for a flying apparatus in which both vertical and lateral motion of the performer can be controlled.

1974 Edward J. Moore wrote and stars opposite Conchata Ferrell in The Sea Horse, a Circle Repertory transfer at the Westside Theatre. Marshall W. Mason stages the four-month run of this tale of a lonely barmaid and the man who wants to marry her.

1987 Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy opens at the John Houseman Theatre with Dana Ivey, Ray Gill and Morgan Freeman. The Playwrights Horizons production that explores racism through the relationship between a Southern white woman and her black chauffeur is directed by Ron Lagomarsino. Driving Miss Daisy will finally debut on Broadway in 2010, in a production starring James Earl Jones, Vanessa Redgrave and Boyd Gaines.

1999 If you want to understand her you've got to see things from Amy's View. Judi Dench won the Tony Award for her role in David Hare's drama about an actress and her relationship with her daughter and her career. Richard Eyre directs this National Theatre production at Broadway's Barrymore Theatre, which ran for a limited engagement of 115 performances, closing on July 18, 1999.

2008 Two stars make their Broadway debuts today. Television star Mario Lopez takes over the role of Zach in the revival of A Chorus Line at the Schoenfeld Theatre. Actor and model Boris Kodjoe steps into the role of Brick in the revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Broadhurst Theatre, while Terrence Howard takes a three week hiatus from the role.

2009 Alice Ripley plays a suburban woman battling mental illness in Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s musical, Next to Normal, which opens on Broadway at the Booth Theatre. Directed by Michael Greif, the cast also includes J. Robert Spencer, Aaron Tveit and Jennifer Damiano. Ripley will win a Tony Award for her performance, and the musical will win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

2012 The origins of Peter Pan, his nemesis Captain Hook and the enchanted island of Neverland come to life in Peter and the Starcatcher, the wildly imaginative stage production helmed by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers. Christian Borle, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Adam Chanler-Berat star in the music-filled play at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. The production will go on to win five Tony Awards, including one for Borle's performance as devious pirate Black Stache.

2013 Late 1930's New York and the twilight of the burlesque era come to life as the world premiere of Douglas Carter Beane's The Nance opens on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre. Nathan Lane stars as Chauncey Miles, a headline nance performer in New York burlesque who also happens to be a homosexual.

2015 Finding Neverland, the musical that tells the tale of how Peter became Pan — starring Matthew Morrison as famed author J.M. Barrie — opens on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Diane Paulus directs a cast that also includes Kelsey Grammer, Laura Michelle Kelly and Carolee Carmello.

More of Today's Birthdays: Henry James 1843. John Williams 1903. Merle Louise 1934. Bjorn Ulvaeus 1945. Caissie Levy 1981. Madeleine Martin 1993.