Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: October 1

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: October 1
Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady.
Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady. Friedman-Abeles/©NYPL for the Performing Arts

1928 Mae West's controversial play Pleasure Man opens at the Biltmore Theatre. It's the story of an actor who has impregnated so many women that the brother of one of them takes up a knife to put a permanent end to the culprit's love life. Police shut it down after 2 performances.

1935 Birthday of silver-voiced Broadway leading lady Julie Andrews, who stars in The Boy Friend, My Fair Lady, Camelot, and Victor/Victoria—but never wins a Tony Award (she famously renounces her nomination for Victor/Victoria when the rest of the cast was "egregiously overlooked"). She wins an Oscar for playing the title role in the Disney film musical Mary Poppins.

1936 Kitty Carlisle, William Gaxton, and Eleanor Bauman (as "Zenzi, the Goat Girl") star in the musical comedy White Horse Inn, which runs for 223 performances.

1957 Kenneth Haigh, Alan Bates, and Mary Ure star in John Osborne's searing drama, Look Back in Anger, which wins the 1958 Tony Award as Best Play.

1959 It is announced that Warren Beatty will be making his Broadway debut soon in A Loss of Roses, in which he will play Shirley Booth's son. "[Beatty] paid for his acting lessons at Stella Adler's school by working as a sandhog on the Lincoln Tunnel," reports the New York Post.

1962 Barbra Streisand signs her first recording contract with Columbia. The star of stage and screen will always be remembered for her performances in Funny Girl and Hello, Dolly! "The Barbra Streisand Album," her first, wins her two 1963 Grammy Awards. One of the honors is "Album of the Year," and at the time she held the distinction of being the youngest artist to win that award.

1995 After three decades' absence, Carol Burnett returns to Broadway co-starring with Philip Bosco in the Ken Ludwig comedy Moon Over Buffalo at the Martin Beck. The critically-acclaimed performances of Burnett and Bosco help the show run 308 performances.

1998 Tracy Letts' Killer Joe, starring Scott Glenn and Amanda Plummer, begins its Off-Broadway run at the Soho Playhouse. The drama centers on a dysfunctional Texas trailer park family. Wilson Milam directs the production, which closes June 27 of the following year as Glenn returns to end the run.

1999 A new musical by Irish composer Shaun Davey begins previews at Playwrights Horizons to a sold-out crowd. The show starring Christopher Walken and Blair Brown is James Joyce's The Dead. Richard Nelson, the book writer, co-conceiver, and adapter of the lyrics, shares a co-direction credit with Jack Hofsiss. The production opens on Broadway January 11, 2000 at the Belasco Theatre and is nominated for a Tony Award as Best Musical.

2007 Ned Sherrin, 76, the British performer, director, and writer who directed and starred in Side by Side by Sondheim and devised the 1960s satiric TV series That Was The Week That Was, dies of throat cancer in London.

2009 Michael McKean plays the stuck proprietor of a Chicago doughnut shop who is shaken loose with the arrival of a brash new employee in Tracy Letts' Superior Donuts, opening at Broadway's Music Box Theatre.

2018 Girl From the North Country, Conor McPherson's play set to the songs of Bob Dylan, opens its North American premiere Off-Broadway at The Public Theater. The show, about a community on the brink of change in Duluth, Minnesota, was previously seen at London's Old Vic Theatre and in the West End. The New York cast includes Mare Winningham, Marc Kudisch, Sydney James Harcourt, and Colton Ryan. The production transfers to Broadway in February 2020.

More of Today's Birthdays: Stanley Holloway 1890. Dort Clark 1917. Walter Matthau 1920. James Whitmore 1921. Tom Bosley 1927. Richard Harris 1930. Edward Villella 1936. Lynn Ahrens 1948. Christine Andreas 1951. Christian Borle 1973.

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