Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 26

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 26
Artwork from Ziegfeld Follies of 1911.
Artwork from Ziegfeld Follies of 1911.

1890 (probably) Actor Jeanne Eagels, best known for playing Miss Thompson in Rain, is born.

1911 Ziegfeld Follies of 1911 opens at New York's Jardin de Paris. Irving Berlin contributes songs including "Woodman, Woodman, Spare That Tree" and "You've Built a Fire Down in My Heart."

1951 Amidst the red scare of the Cold War era, actor J. Edward Bromberg refuses to answer questions at a hearing before the House of Un-American Activities Committee. A member of the Group Theatre, Bromberg's acting credits include Awake and Sing! and The Big Knife.

1975 George C. Scott stars as Arthur Miller's tragic hero Willy Loman in a revival of Death of a Salesman at Circle in the Square on Broadway. The play, directed by Scott, also features Teresa Wright, Harvey Keitel, and James Farentino as the Loman family.

1982 Theatre marries music as legendary stage and film director Elia Kazan ties the knot with Frances Rudge, former wife of the manager of The Rolling Stones. The controversial director's many credits include the original Broadway outings of Death of a Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire, as well as such classic films as On The Waterfront and the film version of Streetcar.

1991 George Bernard Shaw's Getting Married is revived on Broadway at Circle in the Square. Stephen Porter directs a cast that includes Elizabeth Franz, Patrick Tull, Simon Jones, Madeleine Potter, and Walter Bobbie. The production plays 70 performances before closing August 25.

2001 Luke Perry, star of TV's Beverly Hills 90210, joins the cast of Broadway's The Rocky Horror Show.

2002 Dolores Gray, the sultry-voiced Tony-winning actor (Carnival in Flanders) who starred on Broadway in Two on the Aisle, Destry Rides Again, and 42nd Street, dies in New York. Her birth year has been variously reported as 1924 and 1930.

2002 Ira Eaker, co-founder and co-publisher of the entertainment trade paper Back Stage, dies in Tamarac, Florida, at age 80.

2008 Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, the family-friendly theatrical, acrobatic, and musical adventure that evokes the exotica of untamed places, opens at the Broadway Theatre for a ten week run.

2012 Nora Ephron, the Academy Award-nominated writer of Heartburn, When Harry Met Sally, and Sleepless in Seattle, who brought her wit and intelligence to projects in a variety of writing fields, dies at age 71. Her writing for the theatre included the plays Imaginary Friends, Lucky Guy, and Love, Loss, and What I Wore.

2014 Mary Rodgers, who, as the daughter of a famous musical theatre composer (Richard Rodgers), a successful musical theatre composer herself (Once Upon a Mattress), and the mother of a musical theatre composer (Adam Guettel), held a singular place in the history of the American theatre, dies at age 83.

Today's Birthdays Sidney Howard 1891. Joyce Ebert 1933. Kevin Adams 1962. Chris O'Donnell 1970. Sean Hayes 1970.

Watch highlights from a 2013 concert presentation of Mary Rodgers' Once Upon a Mattress, starring Jackie Hoffman and John "Lypsinka" Epperson:

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