Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 22

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 22
The cast of the 2004 Broadway production of Assassins.
The cast of the 2004 Broadway production of Assassins. Joan Marcus

1895 Broadway debut of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, starring Henry Miller as Jack Worthing.

1912 The Vaudeville team of Ed Gallagher and Al Shean make their debut in The Rose Maid at Broadway's Globe Theatre. Shean's nephews follow in his footsteps into showbiz as The Marx Brothers.

1952 After touring, Olivia de Havilland opens on Broadway in George Bernard Shaw's Candida. Herman Shumlin stages the 31 performances.

1969 Michael Simone directs a triple-bill of Luigi Pirandello's The Man with the Flower in His Mouth, The License, and The Jar Off-Broadway at the Sheridan Square Playhouse. Mitchell Jason and Danny DeVito are in the cast.

1993 Pete Townshend's rock opera The Who's Tommy opens on Broadway at the St. James Theatre. Michael Cerveris stars in the title role, originally played by Roger Daltrey in the 1975 film. The production wins five Tony Awards, including Best Score for Townshend (in a tie with Kander and Ebb's Kiss of the Spider Woman) and Best Direction of a Musical for Des McAnuff.

1999 Frank Wildhorn, Gregory Boyd, and Jack Murphy bring The Civil War back to life. This saga, with music by Wildhorn and staging by Jerry Zaks, opens tonight at Broadway's St. James Theater. The 26 member ensemble is led by Michel Bell, Matt Bogart, and Gilles Chiasson. The show closes after only 61 performances despite a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical.

2003 Tony winner Leslie Uggams returns to Broadway as Muzzie in the long-running musical Thoroughly Modern Millie. Uggams won the Best Actress in a Musical Tony for Hallelujah, Baby!.

2004 The stage of Studio 54 turns into the underbelly of a carnival roller coaster—complete with shooting gallery, spinning wheel, and unattainable prizes—as Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's 1990 musical Assassins premieres on Broadway. Directed by Joe Mantello, the cast includes Michael Cerveris, Neil Patrick Harris, Marc Kudisch, and Denis O'Hare. The production wins five Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical.

2007 Anne Pitoniak, 85, the self-effacing actor who received a Tony Award nomination for originating the title role in Marsha Norman's 'night, Mother, dies at her home in Manhattan.

2008 Gone with the Wind, a new musical version of Margaret Mitchell's epic novel with music and lyrics by Margaret Martin, opens at the West End's New London Theatre. Directed by Trevor Nunn, the musical co-stars Darius Danesh as Rhett Butler and Jill Paice as Scarlet O'Hara.

2010 Sondheim on Sondheim, a unique musical that is part video documentary and part starry Broadway revue, opens at Studio 54, offering the life story of Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Director James Lapine conceived the show, enlisting a cast that includes Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams, Tom Wopat, Leslie Kritzer, Norm Lewis, Euan Morton, Erin Mackey, and Matthew Scott.

2012 Blair Underwood and Nicole Ari Parker have a volatile date with destiny in a multi-ethnic Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire at the Broadhurst Theatre. The cast is led by Underwood as Stanley, Parker as Blanche DuBois, and Daphne Rubin-Vega as Stella Kowalski.

2013 Irish novelist Colm Tóibín's The Testament of Mary, starring Fiona Shaw as Mary, the mother of Jesus, opens on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Despite receiving three Tony nominations, including Best Play, the production closes after only 16 performances.

2014 The Broadway premiere of John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask's rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, starring Neil Patrick Harris, opens on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre. The hit production wins four Tony Awards, including ones for Harris, co-star Lena Hall, and Best Revival. Future actors to take on the title role in the production include Andrew Rannells, Michael C. Hall, Darren Criss, and Hedwig creator John Cameron Mitchell.

2015 Wayne Kirkpatrick, Karey Kirkpatrick, and John O'Farrell's musical Something Rotten! opens on Broadway at the St. James Theatre. Brian d'Arcy James and John Cariani star as two brothers, desperate to write a hit play of their own in Shakespeare's shadow, who end up creating the world's first musical. Christian Borle wins a Tony Award for his performance as Shakespeare. The production runs 708 performances.

Today's Birthdays: Eddie Albert 1906. Jan De Hartog 1914. Charlotte Rae 1926. Jason Miller 1939.

Watch highlights from the 2015 Broadway production of Something Rotten!:

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