Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: October 12

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: October 12
Hugh Jackman in <i>The Boy From Oz</i>
Hugh Jackman in The Boy From Oz Joan Marcus

1914 Broadway premiere of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, with Mrs. Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle. The drama serves as the basis of the 1956 musical My Fair Lady.

1925 Opening night for the drama Craig's Wife, which wins the 1926 Pulitzer Prize for drama.

1935 Cole Porter and Moss Hart join forces for the musical Jubilee, about British royalty. It runs 169 performances at the Imperial Theatre, with Mary Boland and Margaret Adams.

1950 The Irving Berlin musical Call Me Madam opens at the Imperial Theatre. With Ethel Merman being the primary basis for pushing the show (which, maybe having something to do with her, has huge advance sales), Walter Winchell announces that "They ought to call it 'Call Me Merman'!" The show's story is suggested by the appointment of Washington hostess Perle Mesta as Ambassador to Luxembourg. Merman's co-stars include Paul Lukas, Alan Hewitt, Russell Nype, and Galina Talva. The show runs for 644 performances.

1964 James Earl Jones is once again in the spotlight playing the title character in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of Othello. The show runs Off-Broadway at the Martinique Theatre for 224 performances .

1965 Brilliant and tortured British farceur Joe Orton makes his Broadway debut with Entertaining Mr. Sloane at the Lyceum Theatre.

1968 Birthday of stage and film star Hugh Jackman, whose Broadway appearances include The Boy from Oz, A Steady Rain, The River, and Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway.

1971 "What's the buzz?/Tell me what's happening" is heard for the first time on Broadway, as all the buzz is focused on fairly unknown composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar. The show, based on the platinum-selling album, opens at the Mark Hellinger Theatre for a very successful run of over 700 performances. Stars for the original Broadway production include Ben Vereen, Jeff Fenholt, and Yvonne Elliman. The show gets mixed reviews, but proves a perennial both in New York and on the road.

1995 The one-diva show, Patti LuPone on Broadway, opens at the Walter Kerr Theatre. John McDaniel, later known for musical direction on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, is in charge of musical arrangement for the production. The show runs 45 performances.

1999 A woman struggles to gain back her memory amidst a bizarre group of friends, enemies, and family in David Lindsay-Abaire's Fuddy Meers, which begins Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club's Stage II. J. Smith-Cameron stars in the world-premiere comedy, directed by David Petrarca, with an original musical score by Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown. The following year, the production transfers to a commercial run at the Minetta Lane Theatre.

2000 Christopher Shinn, the 25-year-old American playwright whose works have seen the stage in England, sees the U.S. premiere of his play, Other People, at Playwrights Horizons' Studio Theater. Tim Farrell directs the drama, which is set in Manhattan's East Village during the winter holidays. In the piece, roommates rethink their views on art, money, and sex.

2001 Kristen Johnston, Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Tilly, and Rue McClanahan are among the stars opening in the Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway revival of The Women.

2010 The Broadway premiere of David Mamet's 1977 comedic drama A Life in the Theatre, which explores the lives of two acting colleagues—one at the beginning of his career and one near the end—opens at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight co-star.

2017 Springsteen on Broadway, rock legend Bruce Springsteen's intimate blend of autobiographical solo play and acoustic concert, opens at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Originally announced for an eight-week engagement, it extends multiple times, playing sold out performances for more than a year. Springsteen receives a Special Tony Award for the show.

More of Today's Birthdays: Helena Modjeska 1840. Lyn Harding 1876. Alice Childress 1916. Sally Murphy 1962. Brian J. Smith 1981.

Watch highlights from Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway:

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