Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: May 7

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: May 7
 
Elizabeth Taylor in The Little Foxes.
Elizabeth Taylor in The Little Foxes. Martha Swope / The New York Public Library

1915 Among the dead after the sinking of the Lusitania are producer-manager Charles Frohman and playwright Charles Klein. Frohman's first success was Shenandoah. In 1893, he opened the Empire Theatre in New York with his own stock company. Two of Klein's plays, The Auctioneer and The Music Master, were produced by David Belasco. At the time of his death, Klein was a play reader for Frohman.

1924 This Marriage proves to be a short one. Tallulah Bankhead stars in the Eliot C. Williams drama which runs in London just 20 times. Cathleen Nesbitt, Herbert Marshall, and Auriol Lee are also in the cast.

1953 Lilo was the star, but a young dancer named Gwen Verdon stole the show at Cole Porter's Can-Can, which opens its 892-performance run at the Shubert Theatre.

1963 In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Tyrone Guthrie's namesake theatre opens with a production of Hamlet starring George Grizzard as the Prince and Jessica Tandy as Gertrude. Ralph Rapson designed the complex that cost 2.5 million dollars to construct and outfit.

1973 Ferenc Molnár's The Play's the Thing opens on Broadway at the Bijou Theater. Gene Feist stages the 11-week run with a cast that includes David Dukes and Elizabeth Owens.

1981 Austin Pendleton directs Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes, which opens at Broadway's Martin Beck Theatre. Elizabeth Taylor makes her Great White Way debut in the production that co-stars Maureen Stapleton, Anthony Zerbe, and Ann Talman.

2008 Manhattan Theatre Club's revival of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls opens at the Biltmore Theatre. Elizabeth Marvel, Martha Plimpton, and Marisa Tomei star.

2017 Tony Award-winning theatre veteran Barbara Cook, who began her Broadway career with the 1951 musical Flahooley, announces that she has retired from the stage at age 89. Cook earned a Tony Award for her performance as Marian Paroo in the original production of The Music Man, and also created roles in musicals including She Loves Me, Candide, Plain and Fancy, and The Grass Harp. Her final Broadway appearance was the 2010 musical retrospective Sondheim on Sondheim.

Today's Birthdays: Darren McGavin 1922. Anne Baxter 1923. Gordon Davidson 1933. Nicholas Hytner 1956.

Watch Barbara Cook preview her 2013 concert engagement at 54 Below:

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