Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 25

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 25
John Cameron Mitchell and Daisy Eagan in The Secret Garden.
John Cameron Mitchell and Daisy Eagan in The Secret Garden. Bob Marshak

1927 When a woman loves sailors so much she follows them all around the world, it's time to Hit the Deck. Vincent Youmans provides the score for Herbert Fields' book adapted from the play Shore Leave. The show sails through 352 performances.

1929 Patrick Hamilton's drama Rope stars Brian Aherne and Anthony Ireland as two Oxford roommates killing a boy for thrills. Reginald Denham directs at London's Ambassadors' Theatre. Years later, Alfred Hitchcock uses the script as the basis for his film of the same name.

1967 Little Murders happen at Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre. Jules Feiffer's black comedy about apathetic responses to violence has a little run of seven performances. The cast includes Barbara Cook, Elliott Gould, Heywood Hale Broun, and Ruth White.

1985 Big River opens on Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. The Tony Award-winning musical by Roger Miller, based on the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, runs 1,005 performances before closing Sep 20, 1987. Daniel H. Jenkins stars as Huck Finn; joining him are Ron Richardson, John Goodman, Bob Gunton, Reathel Bean, and Rene Auberjonois.

1991 Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman's musical adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic 1911 novel The Secret Garden opens on Broadway at the St. James Theatre. Susan H. Schulman directs a cast that includes Mandy Patinkin, Rebecca Luker, and Daisy Eagan. 11-year-old Eagan wins the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, making her the youngest female actor to win a Tony.

1999 That's The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm you hear. Brothers George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin's music and lyrics highlight the revue opening at the Longacre Theatre on Broadway. Mark Lamos stages and co-conceived the project with Mel Marvin. David Marques supplies the choreography. The cast includes Michael Berresse, Adriane Lenox, and Orfeh. Although the show runs for only 17 performances, producer Manny Kladitis remained proud to have "brought an unbeatable score to Broadway."

2001 Sir Peter Brook's acclaimed Paris production of Hamlet, starring Adrian Lester, has its American premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, en route to a U.S. tour.

2009 Tony and Emmy Award winner Bea Arthur, who began her career onstage but would later become better known as Maude (on TV's Maude) and Dorothy Zbornak (on The Golden Girls), dies at age 86. Ms. Arthur's Broadway career began in 1955 with the musical Plain and Fancy, and also included originating roles in Fiddler on the Roof (as Yente the matchmaker) and Mame (as Vera Charles).

2010 Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth play Chuck Baxter and Fran Kubelik in the first Broadway revival of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's hit 1968 musical Promises, Promises. The musical based on the Oscar-winning film "The Apartment," also features Katie Finneran, Tony Goldwyn, and Dick Latessa. It runs 289 performances at the Broadway Theatre.

2012 The Columnist, David Auburn's character study about the complexities and contradictions in the life and work of the late political journalist Joseph Alsop, opens in its Broadway world premiere at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. John Lithgow stars as the powerful writer in this fictionalized biography.

2013 Patina Miller invites audiences into the circus tent housed at the Music Box Theatre for the first Broadway revival of Roger O. Hirson and Stephen Schwartz's musical Pippin. Diane Paulus directs a cast that also includes Matthew James Thomas in the title role, and Andrea Martin as Berthe. The production wins four Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, and runs 709 performances.

2016 Jesse Tyler Ferguson stars in the Broadway premiere of Becky Mode's comedy Fully Committed at the Lyceum Theatre. The play was first seen Off-Broadway in 1999, where it ran nearly 700 performances. Ferguson plays 40 different characters, including a harried reservations clerk at an in-demand eatery, and a series of guests clamoring for a table.

Today's Birthdays: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky 1840. John Springer 1916. Jerry Leiber 1933. Al Pacino 1940. Jeffrey DeMunn 1947. Hank Azaria 1964. James Barbour 1966.

Watch highlights from the 2013 Broadway revival of Pippin:

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