Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: May 19

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: May 19
Lorraine Hansberry
Lorraine Hansberry

1924 The Marx Brothers star in I'll Say She Is at the Casino Theatre in New York. The revue, with a book by Will B. Johnstone and music by Tom Johnstone, takes the boys through murder, mayhem, and a visit with Napoleon and Josephine. It runs beyond the season.

1927 The Grand Street Follies runs nearly 19 weeks with a cast that includes Dorothy Sands, Aline Bernstein, and Albert Carroll. Max Ewing composes and scores the book by Agnes Morgan. When the Neighborhood Playhouse closes two weeks into the run, the production transfers to the Little Theatre.

1930 Paul Robeson stars as Othello at London's Savoy Theatre. Peggy Ashcroft plays Desdemona.

1937 George Abbott produces and directs John Murray and Allen Boretz's comedy Room Service. An impoverished producer tries to hold his staff together in a hotel room. The cast includes Sam Levene, Eddie Albert, and Betty Field.

1962 Opera star Cesare Siepi makes his Broadway debut in the musical Bravo Giovanni, playing an Italian restaurant owner who digs an underground tunnel to steal food from his competitor. Siepi's co-star, in her first Broadway leading role, is 19-year-old Michele Lee. The production runs 76 performances at the Broadhurst Theatre.

1992 Laila Robins, Boyd Gaines, Adam Arkin, and John Slattery are the cast of Richard Greenberg's The Extra Man, which opens Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club's City Center Stage II. Michael Engler directs the production, about a microcosm of Manhattanites.

2000 The Roundabout Theatre Company production of Neil Simon's Hotel Suite starts previews at the Gramercy Theatre. The cast features Helen Carey, Randy Graff, Leigh Lawson, and Ron Orbach. This production comprises four scenes from three of Simon's Suite plays: California Suite, London Suite, and Plaza Suite.

2005 Broadway composer and television producer Richard Lewine dies at 94. He conceived the Broadway revue Rodgers & Hart, wrote songs for the revue Fools Rush In, produced the 1957 television musical Cinderella, and ran the Rodgers & Hammerstein office following the death of composer Richard Rodgers.

2014 The world premiere of Neil LaBute's The Way We Get By opens at Second Stage Theater. Amanda Seyfried makes her Off-Broadway debut in the production opposite Thomas Sadoski.

Today's Birthdays: Sandy Wilson 1924. Lorraine Hansberry 1930. Nora Ephron 1941. Pete Townshend 1945.

Watch clips from the 2014 Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, starring Denzel Washington:

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