Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: August 8

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: August 8
Liza Minnelli as Roxie Hart in Chicago.
Liza Minnelli as Roxie Hart in Chicago. Martha Swope / The New York Public Library

1975 Liza Minnelli to the rescue! With only six days to learn the role of merry murderess Roxie Hart, the Academy Award-winning stage and film star agrees to fill in for an ailing Gwen Verdon in Chicago. Minnelli will stay with the show until mid-September. Always willing to do a friend a favor, Minnelli will make a highly-publicized return to the stage in 1997 as she fills in for a vacationing Julie Andrews in the musical Victor/Victoria.

1985 The producers of Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues replace three secondary actors in that show tonight for "cutting up" on stage. Also diagnosed by management as having "longrun-itis" is star Matthew Broderick, who does not appear in tonight's performance.

1989 Shenandoah returns to Broadway tonight for a revival run that will prove to be brief. Starring John Cullum as Charlie Anderson, this production of the Civil War-era musical will close Sept. 2 after approximately four weeks of performances.

1989 Gerry Vichi joins the cast of Lincoln Center Theater's hit revival of Anything Goes today, taking over the role of Moonface Martin. The role's originator, Bill McCutcheon, won a Tony for his performance and has been with the show since it had opened in October of 1987. Vichi would later appear in the 1995 Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and as the title role in the Madison Square Garden production of The Wizard of Oz starring Roseanne Barr.

1998 After arguing for 600 performances about the white-on-white painting, the three characters in Yasmina Reza's Tony Award-winning best play, Art end their run at Broadway's Royale Theatre. The comedy, translated from French by Christopher Hampton, will begin its national tour Sept. 14 starring Judd Hirsch, who has appeared in the play on Broadway and in London. During the run, various trios of stars played the roles of three friends that Alan Alda, Victor Garber and Alfred Molina originated.

2002 Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci open on Broadway in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune at the Belasco Theatre. This marks the Broadway debut for Terrence McNally's romance, which played Off-Broadway's Manhattan Theatre Club in 1987. The production has been much in the press due to the presence of screen actors Falco and Tucci and their onstage nudity throughout the opening scene.

2004 Actor Todd Cerveris stars opposite his brother, Tony winner Michael Cerveris, in The Booth Variations, playing the actor brothers Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth.

2013 Zachary Levi goes on his First Date with Krysta Rodriguez as Austin Winsberg, Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner's musical opens on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre. The show about a tightly wound guy who is set up with a serial-dating cool girl, will run for 174 performances.

Today's Birthdays: Esme Percy 1887. Sylvia Sidney 1910. Dustin Hoffman 1937. Connie Stevens 1938. Marcia Lewis 1938. Keith Carradine 1949.

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