Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: March 10

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: March 10
 
Artwork from The Rocky Horror Show (1975).
Artwork from The Rocky Horror Show (1975).

1925 Ernest Truex is The Fall Guy for a group of dope dealers. The James Gleason-George Abbott comedy runs at the Eltinge Theatre for almost three months.

1926 East Lynne, based on the popular novel of the same title, opens at the Greenwich Village Theatre. It runs only 35 performances, but a 1930s film adaptation receives an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

1933 Sophie Treadwell's unlikely story of a prostitute who inherits a ranch lasts just three performances. It's a very Lone Valley at the Plymouth Theatre in New York.

1940 Birthday of playwright David Rabe, who chronicles Vietnam-era angst in Streamers and The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel, and comes back in the 1980s with a searing vision of Hollywood's periphery in Hurlyburly.

1953 A revival of the Gershwins' Porgy and Bess opens a 305-performance run at the Ziegfeld Theatre that outlasts the 1935 original. The revival stars Irving Barnes, Urylee Leonardos, and Cab Calloway.

1954 A posthumous revival of Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera proves to be his biggest hit. The Theatre de Lys revival, translated by Marc Blitzstein and directed by Carmen Capalbo, initially runs for 96 performances. Due to popular demand, the production returns to the same theatre the following year, and runs for seven years, becoming Off-Broadway's longest running show (a record eventually surpassed by The Fantasticks). Stars of the production include Bea Arthur, Lotte Lenya, Scott Merrill, Jo Sullivan, John Astin, and Charlotte Rae.

1959 Sweet Bird of Youth plays at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York. Geraldine Page stars as an aging actor with Paul Newman as her paid escort. Rip Torn, Diana Hyland, and Sidney Blackmer are also in the cast. The Tennessee Williams drama plays for 375 performances. Elia Kazan stages.

1975 Critics and audiences don't know what to make of Richard O'Brien's London import, a bizarre science-fiction musical called The Rocky Horror Show. It runs just 45 performances at the Belasco Theatre. Stars Tim Curry, Meat Loaf, and O'Brien also star in the film version, which becomes one of the all-time successful cult classics.

1999 Richard Chamberlain and Laura Benanti join the cast of The Sound of Music revival today to become the new Captain Von Trapp and Maria Rainer, following Michael Siberry and Rebecca Luker. They close out the production as it ends June 20 after 533 performances.

2000 Performances begin for Michael John LaChiusa's Broadway musical The Wild Party, starring Toni Collette, Mandy Patinkin, and Eartha Kitt. Coincidentally, it is the second New York musical of this season to be based on that 1928 poem by Joseph Moncure March. Off-Broadway's Manhattan Theatre Club staged composer-lyricist-librettist Andrew Lippa's version with the same title.

2002 Edward Albee's controversial drama The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? opens on Broadway. The story of a man who destroys his marriage and life when he falls in love with a goat goes on to win the 2003 Tony Award as Best Play.

2002 Irene Worth, the Nebraska-born actor who played legendary roles in London, Broadway, and the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada, dies at age 85.

2003 In an attempt to settle a three-day-old strike by musicians that has shut down Broadway musicals, Mayor Michael Bloomberg hosts Jed Bernstein of the League of American Theatres and Producers and Bill Moriarity of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians in an evening bargaining session that continues through the night.

2014 Robert Askins' irreverent comedy Hand to God opens Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. Steven Boyer stars as soft-spoken Christian Puppet Ministry student Jason, who becomes possessed by his foul-mouthed sock puppet. The production proves to be a hit, and transfers to Broadway the following year.

2016 Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams star in the Broadway debut of David Harrower's Blackbird, opening at the Belasco Theatre. Joe Mantello directs the play about a 27-year-old woman who finds and confronts the man who sexually abused her when she was 12. The play was previously seen in New York in a 2007 Off-Broadway production, also directed by Mantello, that starred Daniels opposite Alison Pill.

More of Today's birthdays: Barry Fitzgerald 1888. Sam Jaffe 1891. Heywood Hale Broun 1918. Mark Lamos 1946. Jasmine Guy 1962.

Watch highlights from the 2014 Off-Broadway production of Robert Askins' Hand to God:

LOVE THEATRE? CHECK OUT PLAYBILL STORE FOR MERCHANDISE!

More Today in Theatre History