Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 6

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 6
Angela Lansbury and Miguel Godreau in Dear World.
Angela Lansbury and Miguel Godreau in Dear World.

1946 Mary Martin and Yul Brynner play a Chinese couple who separate when the husband goes off on a quest in Lute Song. Raymond Scott composed the score, and Sidney Howard and Will Irwin wrote the book based on a Chinese folktale. It runs for 18 weeks at the Plymouth Theatre in New York.

1969 Jerry Herman, Jerome Lawrence, and Robert E. Lee's musical Dear World, starring Angela Lansbury, opens at the Mark Hellinger Theatre. Although the production only runs for 132 performances, Lansbury wins a Tony Award for her performance.

1974 Chez Nous, Peter Nichols' play highlights changing sexual mores. It stars Albert Finney, Denholm Elliott, and Geraldine McEwan at London's Globe Theatre. It runs this season and into the next.

1979 Tommy plays at the Queen's Theatre in London. Music is provided by Pete Townshend and The Who, with direction by Paul Tomlinson and John Hole. Allan Love stars. The show plays 118 times. In 1993, Townshend, director Des McAnuff, and choreographer Wayne Cilento turn The Who's Tommy into a full-fledged Broadway musical.

2002 Elaine Stritch's sold-out Public Theater solo show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty moves to Broadway. It wins the 2002 Tony Award for Best Special Event.

2003 Whoopi Goldberg stars with Charles S. Dutton in a Broadway revival of August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. The opening comes after a disastrous preview period in which three actors were replaced, an actor suffered a burst blood vessel in his leg, and director Marion McClinton was hospitalized with kidney and blood pressure problems. The revival winds up lasting just 68 performances.

2009 Tony Award-winning and Oscar-nominated character actor James Whitmore dies at age 87. Whitmore was widely respected for the one-man plays that he starred in on Broadway and around the country, including Give 'Em Hell, Harry, Bully, and Will Rogers' USA.

2012 Smash, an hour-long musical drama series created by playwright Theresa Rebeck, premieres on NBC. The first season chronicles the creation of fictional Marilyn Monroe musical Bombshell, and features original songs written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

Today's Birthdays: Henry Irving 1838. Ramon Novarro 1899. Zsa Zsa Gabor 1916. Rip Torn 1931. Kathy Najimy 1957.

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