Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: August 27

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: August 27
Jeff McCarthy and Spencer Kayden in  the original Broadway production of Urinetown.
Jeff McCarthy and Spencer Kayden in the original 2001 Broadway production of Urinetown.

1878 Birthday of Sam S. Shubert (1878-1905), co-founder of the theatre-owning and producing titan, the Shubert Organization. Broadway's Shubert Theatre is named for him.

1921 When it closes tonight after 1,291 performances, Lightnin' will hold the record as Broadway's longest-running play up to that time. Starring in the piece on closing night is playwright Frank Bacon.

1929 Ira Levin is born today. Levin will go on to write the mother of all Broadway thrillers, Deathtrap. Other plays include No Time for Sergeants and General Seeger.

1934 Opening night of starry revue Life Begins at 8:40, written by Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg and Ira Gershwin. Stars include Luella Gear, Frances Williams, and future "Wizard of Oz" co-stars Ray Bolger and Bert Lahr. The score includes "You're a Builder-Upper.

1963 Following a hit Off-Broadway run and a national tour, Arthur Kopit's comedy Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad opens on Broadway at the Morosco Theatre for a six-week run. Once again directed by Jerome Robbins, the production stars Hermione Gingold, Alix Elias, Sandor Szabo and Sam Waterston.

1991 Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker opens anew at Off-Broadway's Roundabout Theatre Company's Haft Theatre. The original production of the play was produced on Broadway Dec. 5, 1955. The play was then later adapted into the musical Hello, Dolly! by Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart.

2001 The musical Urinetown begins Broadway previews.

2011 New York City shuts down under the threat of Hurricaine (later downgraded to Tropical Storm) Irene. All Broadway and most Off-Broadway shows are cancelled, and there is a system-wide shut down of New York City mass transit.

2011 Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies, the much-anticipated but critically kicked sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, closes after a run of less than 18 months at London's Adelphi Theatre.

2014 Sandy Wilson, the British composer and lyricist who was best known for the nostalgic, '20s-style musical The Boy Friend, which was a monster hit in the 1950s and helped make a star out of Julie Andrews, dies at age 90.

More of Today's Birthdays: Theodore Dreiser 1871. Frederick O'Neal 1905. Martha Raye 1916. David Shaw 1916. Paul Reubens 1952.

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