Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 9

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 9
 
Richard Burton in Hamlet.
Richard Burton in Hamlet. Friedman-Abeles / The New York Public Library

1926 Actor-manager Henry Miller dies in New York at age 66. He acted opposite many of the leading ladies of the time, including Helena Modjeska. As a leading man with the Empire Stock Company he starred in many productions including Pasteur. In 1918 he opened his own theatre in New York City.

1928 Mae West writes, stages, and stars in Diamond Lil. Lil helps a Salvation Army captain break up a white slavery ring. The salvationist is also a police captain. What next for Lil? There are 323 performances at the Royale Theatre on Broadway to find out.

1954 Uta Hagen plays an advertising executive whose trials and tribulations highlight The Magic and the Loss. Julian Funt's drama also stars Robert Preston and Charles Taylor. There are 27 performances at the Booth Theatre on Broadway.

1964 John Gielgud directs Richard Burton in Hamlet on Broadway, which runs for 137 performances. Also in the cast: Alfred Drake, George Rose, Barnard Hughes, John Cullum, Hume Cronyn, Gerome Ragni, and Gielgud himself as the Ghost.

1972 From the movie that made men turn into mush over Marilyn Monroe and made Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon turn into...women, comes the musical Sugar. The 1959 film Some Like It Hot, in which Monroe played a girl named Sugar, is remade for the stage with the help of Jule Styne and Bob Merrill. The show opens at the Majestic Theatre and plays 505 performances with Tony Roberts and Robert Morse donning dresses and Elaine Joyce in the title role.

1978 It started out as an intimate revue at the Manhattan Theatre Club, but Ain't Misbehavin' moves to a new home at the Longacre Theatre on Broadway. This evocation of Fats Waller's work and style wins the Tony Award for Best Musical, and runs into the next decade

1995 Neil Simon's London Suite opens Off-Broadway at the Union Square Theatre. The play, consisting of four one-act plays all set in an old yet fashionable hotel, stars Carole Shelley, Kate Burton, Paxton Whitehead, and Jeffrey Jones.

2000 Arthur Miller's The Ride Down Mt. Morgan opens on Broadway, following a run the previous season at The Public Theater. Directed by David Esbjornson, the production stars Patrick Stewart as megalomaniacal bigamist and businessman Lyman Felt, and Frances Conroy as his first wife Theo.

2015 Wolf Hall and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies, based on the Hilary Mantel history novels about the bloody reign of Henry VIII, open on at the Winter Garden Theatre. Titled Wolf Hall, Parts 1 and 2, the RSC production stars Ben Miles as Thomas Cromwell, Lydia Leonard as Anne Boleyn, and Nathaniel Parker as King Henry VIII.

2016 Billy Elliot: The Musical closes at London's Victoria Palace Theatre after an 11-year run. The Elton John-Lee Hall musical played 4,600 performances, during which it was seen by more than 5.25 million people.

More of Today's Birthdays: Paul Robeson 1898. Avery Schreiber 1935. Brandon de Wilde 1942. Cynthia Nixon 1966.

Watch highlights from the 2015 Broadway production of Wolf Hall, Parts 1 and 2:

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