Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: August 29

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: August 29
Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in Spring Awakening.
Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in Spring Awakening. Monique Carboni

1899 The Girl From Maxime's, one of Georges Feydeau's most sparkling farces, has its U.S. premiere at the Criterion Theatre.

1921 Loew's State Theatre opens a block south of the Palace in Times Square. It has appearances by W.C. Fields, David Warfield, and Frank Fay, among others.

1922 George Kelly's comedy The Torch Bearers opens a 135-performance run at the 48th Street Theatre.

1934 George Abbott directs Harry Madden and Philip Dunning's comedy Kill That Story, opening at the Booth Theatre for a run of 117 performances. The play about a reporter who foils a plot by two villainous publishers to buy an honest newspaper for a political boss, stars Buford Armitage, James Bell, Matt Briggs, William Foran, William Lynn, and Claire Carleton.

1990 Sandy, the canine companion of the title character in the original Broadway production of Annie, dies at the age of 16. Once an abused puppy, he was bought from the Connecticut Humane Society for $8 on the day he was to be put to sleep. The pooch, who was named for the part he played in the production, only missed 14 performances of the 2,377, having booked a Las Vegas gig with the show's original star Andrea McArdle.

1999 Tony Award-winning actor Roger Rees dons his directorial hat as he helms William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Old Globe in California. Dakin Matthews stars as Falstaff.

2001 The Off-Broadway cast of Naked Boys Singing! takes to the New York City streets (largely clothed) to demonstrate against Provincetown, Massachusetts' ruling that their undressed brethren at the popular gay getaway Crown and Anchor are in violation of local zoning laws and must "cease and desist" performing.

2015 Kyle Jean-Baptiste, who made history as the youngest actor and first African-American to play the role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables on Broadway, dies at age 21 after falling from a fire escape.

Today's Birthdays: John E. Ince 1878. Preston Sturges 1898. Barry Sullivan 1912. Ingrid Bergman 1915. Sono Osato 1919. Dick O'Neill 1928. Patricia Conolly 1933. Elliott Gould 1938. Frances Ruffelle 1965. Carla Gugino 1971. Lea Michele 1986.

Watch Seth Rudetsky's "Obsessed!" interview with Frances Ruffelle:

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