Playbill Vault's Today In Theatre History: April 17

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today In Theatre History: April 17
Tony Shalhoub and Santino Fontana in Act One.
Tony Shalhoub and Santino Fontana in Act One. Joan Marcus

1917 John Barrymore stars in Gerald DuMaurier's Peter Ibbetson at Broadway's Republic Theatre. Lionel Barrymore, Constance Collier, Madge Evans, and Laura Hope Crews are also in the cast. There will be 71 performances.

1922 At the Shakespeare Festival at Stratford-upon-Avon there will a special production of The Taming of the Shrew by the boys of All Saints Choir School, London. The role of tempestuous Kate is filled by Laurence Olivier.

1939 This time as a leading man, Laurence Olivier stars opposite Katharine Cornell in No Time for Comedy at New York's Ethel Barrymore Theatre. S. N. Behrman's comedy about a playwright in the throes of writer's block will run 185 performances.

1994 Two years after the infamous riots following the Rodney King verdict in Los Angeles, Anna Deavere Smith's Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 opens on Broadway at the Cort Theatre. The text of this solo show is taken from interviews she had with people directly or indirectly involved in the case. The play premiered at the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum and also ran Off-Broadway at the Public Theater prior to its Broadway run.

2000 The London revival of Tom Stoppard’s play, The Real Thing, that deals with love, marriage and adultery from varying perspectives, officially opens at the Barrymore Theatre. Stephen Dillane and Jennifer Ehle will both win Tony Awards for their portrayals, and the show, directed by David Leveaux, wins the Best Revival Tony.

2006 Henderson Forsythe, 88, the character actor who won a Tony Award playing the Texas sheriff in Broadway's The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, dies in Williamsburg, VA.

2007 Kitty Carlisle Hart, 96, the longtime stage and film actress who served as chairperson of the New York State Council of the Arts for 20 years and was a staple of the performing arts community, dies of pneumonia at her home in Manhattan.

2008 Harvey Fierstein is librettist and co-star of A Catered Affair, a musical adaptation of the Paddy Chayefsky film, with music and lyrics by John Bucchino. Faith Prince, Tom Wopat, Leslie Kritzer and Matt Cavenaugh co-star in this show about a working class couple trying to stage a grand wedding for their only daughter. Directed by John Doyle.

2011 Wonderland, the musical that reinvents "Alice in Wonderland" for the 21st century and features a score by Frank Wildhorn and Jack Murphy, opens on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre. Janet Dacal stars as a modern-day Manhattan mom named Alice who konks her head and is transported to a subterranean, pop-pastiche fantasyland. Following a largely unenthusiastic reception from critics, the production will close after 33 performances.

2013 The world premiere of Richard Greenberg's The Assembled Parties, a Manhattan-set family drama starring Judith Light and Jessica Hecht, opens at Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. The limited engagement will run 119 performances, and earn Light a Tony Award for her performance.

2014 Act One, James Lapine's adaptation of playwright, director and lyricist Moss Hart's memoir, opens on Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater's Vivian Beaumont Theater. Santino Fontana, Tony Shalhoub and Andrea Martin star.

Today's Birthdays: Irene Castle 1893. Thornton Wilder 1897. Rebecca Luker 1961.