Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: May 15

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: May 15
 
Cleavant Derricks (center) with Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine, and Vanessa Townsell in <i>Dreamgirls</i>
Cleavant Derricks (center) with Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine, and Vanessa Townsell in Dreamgirls Martha Swope / New York Public Library

1922 Father and son playwriting team J. C. Nugent and Elliott Nugent come up with Kempy. They also star in the comedy of mixed-up lovers, staged by Augustin Duncan. Performances run at Broadway's Belmont Theatre beyond the season.

1926 Identical twins Anthony Shaffer and Peter Shaffer are born in Liverpool, England. Both go on to become successful playwrights, with Peter writing Equus and Amadeus, and Peter writing the long-running thriller Sleuth.

1935 Vivien Leigh is one of the stars of The Mask of Virtue at London's Ambassadors' Theatre. Adapted by Ashley Dukes from Carl Sternheim's original, the comedy runs 117 performances.

1951 Tommy Trinder and Pat Kirkwood are Fancy Free at London's Prince of Wales Theatre. The revue is staged by Charles Henry. Sketches and lyrics are by Barbara Gordon and Basil Thomas. There are 369 performances.

1953 Peter Brook stages a revival of Venice Preserved at the Lyric, Hammersmith Theatre in London. The cast includes John Gielgud and Paul Scofield.

1971 British director Sir (William) Tyrone Guthrie dies at the age of 70. The man who made his professional debut as an actor at the Oxford Playhouse would later be known for his pioneering direction of Shakespearean productions, especially those for the Old Vic-Sadler's Wells Company. He was named the first director of Canada's Shakespeare Festival Theatre in Stratford and then became director of the Minnesota (Tyrone Guthrie) Theatre Company, which he helped found in Minneapolis.

2012 A developmental lab of The Landing, a triptych musical by John Kander and Greg Pierce, begins performances Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre. Walter Bobbie directs a cast that includes Julia Murney, David Hyde Pierce, and Paul Anthony Stewart. The musical is composer Kander's first full new theatre collaboration with another writer since the passing of his long-time collaborator Fred Ebb in 2004. The Vineyard presents a full production of The Landing the following year.

Today's Birthdays: Paul Zindel 1936. Lainie Kazan 1940. Paul Rudd 1940. Chazz Palminteri 1952. Cleavant Derricks 1953. Jason Graae 1958.

Flip through photos from the Vineyard Theatre's 2013 production of The Landing, starring David Hyde Pierce and Julia Murney:

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