Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 10

News   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 10
Jerry Herman
Jerry Herman (Aubrey Reuben)

1931 "It's Today" — that Jerry Herman is born. Herman will become one of Broadway's great musical theatre composers. Among his esteemed credits are the hits Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage Aux Folles.

1974 Bloomsbury brings back the flavor of that literary era in this new drama by Peter Luke. Richard Cottrell directs Yvonne Mitchell as Virginia Woolf and Daniel Massey as Lytton Strachey. Opening tonight at London's Phoenix Theatre, Bloomsbury will have 53 performances.

1994 Roundabout Theatre Company presents Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler at the Criterion Center. Kelly McGillis stars as the title character in a cast that also features Patricia Conolly, Bette Henritze and Laura Linney. The production, directed by Sarah Pia Anderson, will play 33 performances.

1997 Some New York theatre notables make their way North to Massachusetts' Williamstown Theatre Festival to star in Sidney Kingsley's Dead End which opens tonight. Among the thespians featured are Robert Sean Leonard, Campbell Scott, Marian Seldes, Hope Davis and Scott Wolf. The play, about the wharf rats on New York's seedy riverfront, is directed by Nicholas Martin.

2007 Xanadu, the musical based on the 1980 film of the same name, opens on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre. Kerry Butler stars as Kira opposite Cheyenne Jackson as Sonny, in a cast that also includes Tony Roberts, Jackie Hoffman and Mary Testa. The production originally starred James Carpinello as Sonny, but he was replaced by Jackson after injuring his foot during previews. Xanadu will run more than a year on Broadway, for a total of 512 performances.

2008 Following its acclaimed production of Gypsy, which transferred to Broadway, City Center's Encores! Summer Stars series returns for a second season with the Tony-winning Damn Yankees. The baseball-themed musical boasts a starry cast led by Jane Krakowski as Lola, Sean Hayes as Mr. Applegate and Cheyenne Jackson as Joe Hardy.

2013 Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock inaugurates New York City Center's new Encores! Off-Center series — a concert-production series celebrating Off-Broadway musicals. Directed by Sam Gold, the cast includes Raúl Esparza, Danny Burstein, Judy Kuhn, Da'Vine Joy Randolph and Anika Noni Rose.

2015 Roger Rees, the Welsh actor who rocketed to fame as the title character in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, dies at age 71. He worked virtually to the last weeks of his life, appearing in the Broadway musical The Visit until forced to withdraw due to his declining health.

More of Today's Birthdays: Noble Sissle 1889. Jimmy McHugh 1894. Mitchell Parish 1900. Jean Kerr 1922. Fred Gwynne 1926. Fiona Shaw 1958.