Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 1

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 1
Akash Chopra (Mowgli) and Kevin Carolan (Baloo) in <i data-rte2-sanitize="italic">The Jungle Book</i>.
Akash Chopra (Mowgli) and Kevin Carolan (Baloo) in The Jungle Book. Liz Lauren

1930 Comedian Jack Benny makes his Broadway debut in Earl Carroll's Vanities of 1930. The revue also featured Patsy Kelly, Jimmy Savo and the Collette Sisters.

1931 Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. says goodbye to the Ziegfeld Follies, as the final installment of the great showman's legendary revue opens at the Ziegfeld Theatre. Ziegfeld Follies of 1931 stars Helen Morgan, Harry Richman and Buck and Bubbles. There will be 165 performances.

1954 Actress Anne Bancroft marries Martin May today. But things will not last forever; May and the The Miracle Worker star will divorce only two-and-a-half years later, on February 13, 1957. Her subsequent marriage to Mel Brooks endured the rest of her life.

1998 Becky Ann Baker, Jessica Hecht and Alan Tudyk star in the Williamstown Theatre Festival production of Paul Rudnick's newest play The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. The comedy, from the penner of Jeffrey and I Hate Hamlet, is a retelling of the story of Adam and Eve. The production, directed by Christopher Ashley, opens for a run through July 12.

1999 New York Shakespeare Festival's The Taming of the Shrew opens at Central Park's Delacorte Theater. Allison Janney and Jay O. Sanders star as Kate and Petruchio in the music-infused production directed by Mel Shapiro.

2004 Marlon Brando, the actor perhaps most associated with the naturalistic new style of American acting that emerged after World War II, dies at age 80. On stage, Brando memorably played the brutish Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, repeating his work on film. His much revered, much-parodied and much-copied mumbly, brooding style would be seen on film for the next four decades. His credits include the films Guys and Dolls (as Sky Masterson), The Godfather, Superman, Apocalypse Now, Last Tango in Paris and On the Waterfront, among many others. The Omaha native made his Broadway debut as Nels in I Remember Mama in 1944.

2008 Keith Charles, a veteran New York City actor with Broadway and Off-Broadway credits, dies at age 74. On Broadway, he starred opposite Lauren Bacall as Bill Sampson (a role originated by Len Cariou) in Applause, and appeared in Celebration and 1976's The Threepenny Opera.

2009 Oscar winner Karl Malden, who created the role of Mitch in the original Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire and played Herbie in the film of "Gypsy," dies at age 97. Mr. Malden made his Broadway debut in 1937 in Clifford Odets' Golden Boy, which was produced by The Group Theatre and directed by Harold Clurman.

2013 Mary Zimmerman directs the world premiere stage adaptation of the 1967 Walt Disney film The Jungle Book, opening today at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. The Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman score includes "The Bare Necessities" and "Trust in Me," as well as additional unused songs written for the film.

2015 Original Little Shop of Horrors star Ellen Greene returns to the role of Audrey for a series of concerts at New York City Center, presented as part of Encores! Off-Center. Jake Gyllenhaal co-stars as Seymour.

Today's Birthdays: Susan Glaspell 1876. Charles Laughton 1899. Olivia de Havilland 1916. Ralph Young 1918. Farley Granger 1925. Jean Marsh 1934. Twyla Tharp 1941. Terrence Mann 1951.

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