Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 20

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 20
 
Stark Sands, John Gallagher, Jr., and Michael Esper in American Idiot.
Stark Sands, John Gallagher, Jr., and Michael Esper in American Idiot. Paul Kolnik

1908 The four Cohans (George, Helen, Jerry, and Josephine) are the stars of The Yankee Prince. George M. Cohan wrote, directed, and co-produced the musical at Broadway's Knickerbocker Theatre. It runs 119 performances.

1915 There's Nobody Home, but there's a Jerome Kern score with a book by Guy Bolton and Paul Rubens. The musical nests at Broadway's Princess Theatre—and later Maxine Elliott's Theatre—for 135 performances.

1927 Russian-born Sam Levene makes his Broadway debut in Wall Street at the Hudson Theatre. He studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Art. He later originates the role of Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls.

1951 Davis Snow's The Long Days aren't very. Frances Starr plays a domineering mother who drives her husband and three sons to drink. She tossed her meddlesome daughter-in-law into an asylum and one night accidentally kills the one lush who was loyal to her. It runs three performances at the Empire Theatre on Broadway.

1997 Charles Durning and Julie Harris star in a revival of The Gin Game. It runs 145 performances at the Lyceum Theatre. The production is Harris' final Broadway appearance.

1999 Emlyn Williams' Night Must Fall, which opened in March 8 at the Lyceum Theatre, reopens at the Helen Hayes Theatre. The production was scheduled to close April 11, but star Matthew Broderick decided to stay on with the show, making the transfer viable. The thriller focuses on a psychopathic bellboy and the spell he casts on several women in an English country house.

2001 Maria Karnilova, who created memorable Broadway roles including Golde in Fiddler on the Roof (Tony Award), Tessie Tura in Gypsy, and Madame Hortense in Zorba, dies at age 80.

2010 American Idiot, the musical based on the Grammy Award-winning rock album by Green Day, and featuring direction by Michael Mayer, opens at the St. James Theatre. John Gallagher, Jr., Michael Esper, and Stark Sands star as three friends who attempt to escape from lives in suburbia.

2011 Following a 2009 London premiere, the musical stage adaptation Sister Act—featuring a score by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater—opens in New York at the Broadway Theatre. Patina Miller makes her Broadway debut as Deloris Van Cartier, a singer on the run who transforms the lives of a convent full of nuns when she hides out among them.

2014 Two shows previously seen Off-Broadway in the 1990s, make their Broadway debuts today: Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley's musical Violet, starring Sutton Foster in the title role, opens at the American Airlines Theatre; and Michael Grandage's production of Martin McDonagh's play The Cripple of Inishmaan, starring Daniel Radcliffe, opens at the Cort Theatre.

2015 Opera star Renée Fleming makes her Broadway debut in Joe DiPietro's comedy Living on Love, opening at the Longacre Theatre. The production is short-lived, running only 16 performances.

Today's Birthdays: Señor Wences 1896. Nina Foch 1924. Jessica Lange 1949. Billy Magnussen 1985.

Watch highlights from the 2011 Broadway musical Sister Act:

LOVE BROADWAY? CHECK OUT THE NEW ARRIVALS AT THE PLAYBILL STORE!

More Today in Theatre History