Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 27

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 27
Vanessa Williams (center) in Kiss of the Spider Woman.
Vanessa Williams (center) in Kiss of the Spider Woman. Catherine Ashmore

1888 Birthday of Antoinette Perry (1888-1946), an actress and groundbreaking woman stage director who will help found the American Theatre Wing. In gratitude, the Wing will name its annual theatre awards after her, now known by their nickname, The Tony Awards.

1944 Ten Little Indians, Agatha Christie's adaptation of her novel "And Then There Were None," opens on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre. The play about 10 people called to an isolated mansion where they are told they must pay for the crimes they have committed, will run for 426 performances.

1970 Tom Eyen's The Dirtiest Show in Town comes to Off-Broadway at the Astor Palace Theatre. Bare flesh and simulated sex run rampant in the show that plays 509 performances.

1982 Jay Broad, John R. Briggs and Harry Manfredini's country-western musical Play Me a Country Song opens — and closes — at the Virginia Theatre. The production marks the Broadway debut of actress Karen Mason.

1993 Americans discover a benign Indian elephant God in Terrence McNally's play, A Perfect Ganesh, opening today at the Manhattan Theatre Club. Among the cast of discoverers are Zoe Caldwell, Frances Sternhagen and Fisher Stevens.

1994 Former Miss America Vanessa Williams makes her Broadway debut today when she replaces Tony Award winner Chita Rivera in Kiss of the Spider Woman. With weekly box office attendance floating around the 70 percent mark, Williams' entrance will bring a much-needed boost to the show's box office business. By August, the John Kander-Fred Ebb musical will find itself playing to standing room audiences on many nights.

1999 Al Pacino reprises his Broadway role in Eugene O'Neill's Hughie at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum. He directs the production and stars in it, as he did in 1996 at the Circle in the Square. As he did in the Broadway production, Paul Benedict plays opposite Pacino.

More of Today's Birthdays: John Golden 1874. Reginald Mason 1875. I.A.L. Diamond 1920. Michael Mayer 1960. Michael Ball 1962.

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