Playbill Vault's Today In Theatre History: December 11

News   Playbill Vault's Today In Theatre History: December 11
Douglas Seale, Linda Thorson, Dorothy Loudon, and Brian Murray in <i>Noises Off</i>.
Douglas Seale, Linda Thorson, Dorothy Loudon, and Brian Murray in Noises Off. Martha Swope / The New York Public Library

1893 Oscar Wilde gets his second Broadway production in a year with the U.S. premiere of his play A Woman of No Importance at Miner's Fifth Avenue Theatre.

1911 The solemnly titled Through Death Valley; Or, the Mormon Peril opens at the Shakespeare theatre in London's Clapham district. Jack Fortescue stars in this Joseph Le Brandt drama.

1919 Joe Masteroff, who wrote the libretto for Cabaret and She Loves Me, is born in Philadelphia, PA.

1943 The New York City Center of Music and Drama opens with a concert by the New York Philharmonic.

1947 Paul Hartman and Grace Hartman's Angel in the Wings hovers at the Coronet Theatre in New York. Elaine Stritch sings "Bongo, Bongo, Bongo, I don't want to leave the Congo" and she doesn't — the show runs for over a year.

1958 Christopher Plummer plays the devil in Elia Kazan's highly stylized carnival-setting adaptation of the Bible story of Job, which opens tonight at the ANTA Theatre. Titled J.B. Archibald MacLeish's drama features Pat Hingle as the man whose faith in God gets the ultimate test. It runs 364 performances and wins both the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony Award as Best Play.

1983 Noises Off, a new comedy by Michael Frayn involving a theatre company touring with a sex farce entitled "Nothing On," opens at the Brooks Atkinson. It stars Dorothy Loudon, Brian Murray and Victor Garber.

1989 Cy Coleman, David Zippel, and Larry Gelbart's new musical, City of Angels, opens at the Virginia Theatre. Directed by Michael Blakemore, the movie spoof has elaborate sets thanks to virtuoso Robin Wagner. Cast members included Randy Graff, James Naughton, Rachel York, and Gregg Edelman. The show runs 879 performances and wins the Tony Award as Best Musical of 1990.

2003 Secrets and lies about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy are examined in Keith Reddin's Frame 312, which opens at the Atlantic Theater Company Off-Broadway.

2005 Living legend Chita Rivera performs a stage autobiography in Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life, directed by Graciela Daniele and featuring a script by Terrence McNally and some new songs by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, along with familiar tunes from her many hits over the previous five decades. The show runs 72 performances at the Schoenfeld Theatre.

2011 A revised revival of Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane's On a Clear Day You Can See Forever — starring Harry Connick, Jr. as a conflicted shrink who uncovers a patient's past life in hypnosis sessions, and then falls in love with the comely ghost — opens on Broadway at the St. James Theatre. Re-conceived by playwright Peter Parnell and director Michael Mayer, the production splits the two roles played by Barbara Harris in the original 1965 production between David Turner (Davey Gamble) and Jessie Mueller (Melinda Wells). The revisal receives largely negative reviews and closes after 57 performances.

More of Today's Birthdays: Eddie Dowling 1889. Rita Moreno 1931. Mos Def 1973. Condola Rashad 1986.

Watch Jessie Mueller sing "Ev'ry Night at Seven" in the 2011 revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever: