Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 4

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 4
A scene from the original 1938 Broadway production of <i>Our Town</i>.
A scene from the original 1938 Broadway production of Our Town. Vandamm Theatrical Photographs / The New York Public LIbrary

1938 Thornton Wilder turns the spotlight on the simple trials and tribulations of Our Town. Martha Scott and Frank Craven are among the cast at the Henry Miller's Theatre. The production wins the Pulitzer Prize for drama and runs 336 performances. David Cromer's 2009 Off-Broadway revival surpasses that total on Dec. 16, 2009, becoming the longest running production of the play in its history.

1946 Playing the supposedly dumb blonde to the hilt, Judy Holliday stars in Born Yesterday. Garson Kanin penned the story, which also features Paul Douglas. It plays 1,642 performances.

1958 Tony Randall stars as a sailor with a woman in at least two ports in Oh Captain! The musical, with songs by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, is directed by Jose Ferrer. It runs at the Alvin Theatre in New York for 192 performances.

1999 Hang on Snoopy! At least till tonight, when you and the whole gang step out of the strip and into the Ambassador Theatre in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Anthony Rapp, Roger Bart, and Kristin Chenoweth are among the cast of the revival of Clark Gesner's musical. Director Michael Mayer adapted the 32 year-old show; new songs were added by musical arranger Andrew Lippa

2003 Opening night on Broadway for Richard Greenberg's baseball drama, Take Me Out. The story of a baseball star who comes out as gay wins the 2003 Tony Award as Best Play.

2004 Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera plays its 6,681st performance, becoming the second longest-running production in Broadway history, surpassing another West End-to Broadway hit, Les Misérables. It surpasses Cats to become number one in January 2006.

2005 Ossie Davis, the Tony Award-nominated actor-playwright and icon of 20th century African-American theatre, is found dead in his hotel room in Miami. He wrote and created the title role of Purlie Victorious on Broadway, and wrote the book for the musical version, Purlie. His Broadway career stretched back to Jeb in 1946. He was nominated for two Tony Awards: Best Supporting Actor for Jamaica and Best Musical, for Purlie.

More of Today's Birthdays: Richard Boleslavsky 1889. Ugo Betti 1892. Eddie Foy, Jr. 1905. Robert Coote 1909. Conrad Bain 1923. David Newman 1937. Jonathan Larson 1960.


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