Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 19

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 19
Harry Groener and company in Crazy for You.
Harry Groener and company in Crazy for You. Joan Marcus

1900 A week-long engagement at Dublin's Gaiety Theatre by the Irish Literary Theatre does not cause much of a stir. The company stages The Bending of the Bough by George Moore, Maeve by Edward Martyn, and The Last Feast of the Fianna by Alice Milligan. These performances are later seen as the first steps of what will become Ireland's famed Abbey Theatre.

1935 Stella Adler stars in Clifford Odets' drama Awake and Sing!. The study of the effects of the Depression on a family in the Bronx runs 26 weeks at the Belasco Theatre.

1953 Picnic opens on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre. William Inge's tale of a handsome drifter's effect on a small Kansas town stars Ralph Meeker, Kim Stanley, Paul Newman, Eileen Heckart, and Janice Rule. Joshua Logan stages the 477 performance run.

1978 Basing the book and lyrics on earlier plays of Charles Bruce Millholland, Ben Hecht, and Charles MacArthur, Betty Comden and Adolph Green ride On the Twentieth Century. Madeline Kahn stars as a glamour queen who's the victim of a con. Also in the cast: John Cullum, Imogene Coca, and Kevin Kline. There are 449 performances.

1981 A revival of the Eric Blau and Mort Shuman musical, Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well Living in Paris, opens at New York's Town Hall. The celebration of the late French artist stars Sally Cooke, Joe Masiell, Shawn Elliott, and Betty Rhodes.

1992 George Gershwin's Girl Crazy is reinvented by Mike Ockrent and Ken Ludwig as Crazy for You, which opens at the Shubert Theatre. The production adds 13 Gershwin songs. Ockrent directs and his future wife, Susan Stroman, choreographs. It runs 1,622 performances, and wins the Tony Award for Best Musical.

2009 The Story of My Life, Neil Bartram and and Brian Hill's two-actor musical about a lifelong friendship—and its sudden ending—opens on Broadway at the Booth Theatre. Richard Maltby, Jr. directs Will Chase and Malcolm Gets, who star as pals who grew up together, and play ages 6 to 35. The show closes Feb. 22 after 18 previews and five regular performances.

Today's Birthdays: Ernest Glendinning 1884. Cedric Hardwicke 1893. Louis Calhern 1895. John William "Bubbles" Sublett 1902. Saul Chaplin 1912. Carson McCullers 1917. George Rose 1920. Marshall Barer 1923. David Margulies 1937. Carlin Glynn 1940. Jeff Daniels 1955. Hugh Panaro 1964.

Watch highlights from the 2015 Broadway revival of On the Twentieth Century, starring Kristin Chenoweth:

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