Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 28

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 28
Richard Rodgers
Richard Rodgers Courtesy of Rodgers & Hammerstein: An Imagem Company,

1902 Birthday of Richard Rodgers, one of Broadway's most prolific and successful composers. His greatest successes came in partnership with lyricists Oscar Hammerstein II (Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, The Sound of Music, etc.) and Lorenz Hart (On Your Toes, Babes in Arms, Pal Joey, A Connecticut Yankee, By Jupiter, etc.).

1926 Birthday of funnyman Mel Brooks, who goes on to write for TV's Your Show of Shows and Broadway musicals Shinbone Alley and All American before departing for a long career in Hollywood. He returns to Broadway in triumph in 2001 with a musical adaptation of his Broadway satire, The Producers.

1946 Actor and director Antoinette Perry dies at age 58. Perry's name becomes immortalized when the American Theatre Wing's Antoinette Perry Awards for excellence on Broadway, known more commonly as the Tonys, are founded in her memory.

1950 Censorship proves to be a problem when Michael Todd's Peep Show opens at New York's Winter Garden Theatre. The legendary producer of the title is soon forced to tone down the revue as a result of talks with the city's Commissioner of Licenses.

1987 Two years after the end of its original Broadway run, Tom Eyen and Henry Krieger's Dreamgirls returns to New York. Opening at the Ambassador Theatre, the engagement is the final stop of the musical's international tour. Director-choreographer Michael Bennett scaled back his original staging for the tour, which first launched in fall 1985. Bennett is sadly not well enough to oversee the new Broadway run, and dies at his home in Arizona from AIDS-related lymphoma four days later.

1990 William Finn follows up his In Trousers and March of the Falsettos with the final piece of his "Marvin Trilogy," Falsettoland. The all-sung musical starring Michael Rupert, Chip Zien, and Faith Prince throws AIDS into the mix of the already complex issue of sexual identity. The production, which opens at Playwrights Horizons, later transfers to the Lucille Lortel Theatre. March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland are later combined to create the 1992 Broadway musical Falsettos.

1999 27 years after it premiered Off-Broadway at the Truck and Warehouse Theatre, Tennessee Williams' Small Craft Warnings sees the New York stage again when Worth Street Theater Company stages the lyrical drama. Based on an earlier Williams one-act, Confessional, the play is set in a bar in a Southern California coastal town.

2002 To celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of composer Richard Rodgers, Broadway stars gathers for a concert at the Gershwin Theatre. Aptly titled Something Good: A Broadway Salute to Richard Rodgers on His 100th Birthday, the concert features performances by Sutton Foster, Hunter Foster, Lea Salonga, Patrick Wilson, Shuler Hensley, Laura Benanti, John Bucchino, Barbara Cook, John Cullum, Erin Dilly, Marin Mazzie (accompanied by Stephen Flaherty), Howard McGillin, Lauren Mitchell, Louise Pitre, Billy Stritch, Mary Testa, and the chorus of Oklahoma!

2007 Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of John Van Druten's comedy Old Acquaintance opens on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre. Harriet Harris and Margaret Colin star as two childhood friends who have grown into successful authors.

More of Today's Birthdays: Luigi Pirandello 1867. Max Gordon 1892. A. E. Hotchner 1920. John Tillinger 1938. Gilda Radner 1946. Bruce Davison 1946. Kathy Bates 1948. Jessica Hecht 1965. Mary Stuart Masterson 1966. Danielle Brisebois 1969.

Watch Sierra Boggess and Julian Ovenden perform the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein with the New York Pops:

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