Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 14

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 14
Arthur Laurents (center) at the opening night curtain call for the 2007 City Center revival of Gypsy.
Arthur Laurents (center) at the opening night curtain call for the 2007 City Center revival of Gypsy. Aubrey Reuben

1917 Birthday of playwright Arthur Laurents, who writes numerous plays including The Time of the Cuckoo and Invitation to a March, but who is best known as librettist for musical classics West Side Story and Gypsy.

1926 A woman is mistaken for a divorce correspondent as Leon De Costa's play, The Blonde Sinner, opens at the Cort Theatre in New York. The Blonde Sinner, taking place at a Long Island summer manor, is described as a "play with musical specialties." Among these specialties: several dances, including a Charleston.

1947 James Stewart returns to his Broadway roots as he temporarily replaces Frank Fay in Harvey. Fay, playing the role of Elwood P. Dowd since the play opened, left the Broadway company to do the show out of town. Before and after performances, two policemen must be stationed outside the theatre in order to control crowds longing to see the Hollywood star of such films as The Philadelphia Story and It's A Wonderful Life.

1969 The Circle Repertory Company is founded in Greenwich Village. During its 27 years of existence the Off-Broadway stalwart plays host to many seminal playwrights and directors, including Lanford Wilson, Albert Innaurato, Marshall W. Mason, and many more.

1996 A recast, restaged revival of Herb Gardner's A Thousand Clowns opens at Roundabout Theatre Company's Criterion Theatre on Broadway. Originally scheduled to star Robert Klein under the direction of Gene Saks, just days before its previews the play was taken over by director Scott Ellis and star Judd Hirsch.

1999 Television celebs David Schwimmer (Friends) and John Spencer (L.A. Law, The West Wing) star in the Williamstown Theatre Festival's production of Warren Leight's latest jazz-induced show, The Glimmer Brothers. The play by the Side Man scribe undergoes changes to its title (to Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine) and cast (Spencer intact) and opens May 24, 2001 Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club, following a run at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum.

2002 The solo comedy show Robin Williams: Live on Broadway airs on HBO from the Broadway Theatre.

2003 Mike Salinas, a theatre reporter who founded TheatreWeek magazine in 1988 and covered the stage for various publications, dies of an apparent heart ailment at age 46.

2008 Stephen Rea faces the Wild West in the U.S. premiere of Sam Shepard's Kicking a Dead Horse, which officially opens at The Public Theater.

More of Today's Birthdays: Ted Koehler 1894. Jean Dixon 1896. Isaac Bashevis Singer 1904. Jerome Lawrence 1915. Ingmar Bergman 1918. Scott Merrill 1922. Polly Bergen 1930. Scott Rudin 1958.

Watch highlights from the 2009 Broadway revival of West Side Story, directed by Arthur Laurents:

LOVE BROADWAY? CHECK OUT THE NEW ARRIVALS AT THE PLAYBILL STORE!

More Today in Theatre History