Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 8

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 8
Original Broadway cast of The Addams Family (l-r): Adam Riegler, Jackie Hoffman, Bebe Neuwirth, Nathan Lane, Kevin Chamberlin, Krysta Rodriguez and Zachary James.
Original Broadway cast of The Addams Family (l-r): Adam Riegler, Jackie Hoffman, Bebe Neuwirth, Nathan Lane, Kevin Chamberlin, Krysta Rodriguez and Zachary James. Joan Marcus

1904 New York City bids adieu to Longacre Square, which had no particular reputation, and says hello to Times Square, which soon develops quite a reputation indeed. Mayor George B. McClellan (son of the Civil War general) announces the official name change. "Times" is, of course, drawn from The New York Times, the newspaper which recently moved into a building perched on a traffic triangle in the middle of the square. The daily, which lobbied hard for the name change, soon moves to larger quarters on nearby 43rd Street, where it stays until 2007.

1907 Two of The Boys of Company "B" are John Barrymore, who joined the cast as a replacement, and Mack Sennett, father of film's Keystone Kops. Rida Johnson Young's comedy runs three months at New York's Lyceum Theatre.

1939 Actor Bertha Kalich dies in New York City at age 65. She made her reputation in Yiddish theatre playing in A Doll's House and Fedora.

1958 Drama critic George Jean Nathan, 70, dies in New York City. He contributed to Newsweek and the Journal-American. He championed many playwrights including William Saroyan, Eugene O'Neill, and Sean O'Casey. He wrote more than 30 books.

1954 Shirley Booth leads the cast in By the Beautiful Sea at the Majestic Theatre. Dorothy and Herbert Fields provide the book. Dorothy Fields penned the lyrics to Arthur Schwartz's music.

1992 Five Guys Named Moe, Clarke Peters' musical revue based on the music of Louis Jordan, opens at Broadway's Eugene O'Neill Theatre. The rhythm and blues show is directed and choreographed by Charles Augins.

1999 A star-powered UK production of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh opens at Broadway's Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Staged by Howard Davies, the revival plays a limited engagement of 91 performances and feature London cast originals Tim Pigott-Smith, James Hazeldine, Patrick Godfrey, and, of course, Kevin Spacey.

2001 Gary Sinise stars in a Broadway revival of Dale Wasserman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The production later wins the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.

2002 Suzan-Lori Parks' play Topdog/Underdog wins the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, making Parks the first African-American woman to win the coveted award. The announcement comes mere hours after the play's Broadway opening night.

2008 Shakespeare's murder-filled tragedy Macbeth, opens at the Lyceum Theatre with Patrick Stewart in the title role. The Chichester Festival Theatre production, directed by Rupert Goold and starring his wife Kate Fleetwood as Lady Macbeth, transferred to Broadway following critically praised engagements at BAM and in the West End.

2010 The Addams Family, a musical based on the macabre characters of illustrator Charles Addams, opens on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. With music by Andrew Lippa, and book and lyrics by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, the production stars Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth as Gomez and Morticia Addams. It runs 722 performances.

2015 Vanessa Hudgens makes her Broadway debut in a revival of Lerner and Loewe's Gigi at the Neil Simon Theatre. The cast also includes Victoria Clark, Corey Cott, Dee Hoty, and Howard McGillin.

Today's Birthdays: Walter Connolly 1887. Mary Pickford 1892. E.Y. "Yip" Harburg 1896. Jo Swerling 1897. Fred Ebb 1928. Michael Bennett 1943. Ann Hould-Ward 1954. Stephanie Pope 1964.

Watch highlights from the 2010 Broadway production of The Addams Family:

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