1904 Julian Eltinge, the famed female impersonator, makes his Broadway debut today in Mr. Wix of Wickham, the unsuccessful musical at the Bijou Theatre. The now legendary Jerome Kern, who was only 19 years old, wrote some of the songs for this musical. Kern goes on to write music for Show Boat and Sunny during his long, successful career. Also on this date, E. H. Sothern, Shakespeare actor extraordinaire, stars in the Chicago production of Romeo and Juliet.
1910 For the first time, George M. Cohan directs and writes a non-musical triumph. Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford, his new comedy, opens tonight at the Gaiety Theatre. It is based on the novel by George Randolph Chester about a con man who reforms. The show will continue to run for 424 performances with its stars, Frances Ring and Hale Hamilton.
1962 Tonight is an opening performance of Eric Bentley's translated version of Bertolt Brecht's Mann Ist Mann. Another version, translated by Gerhard Nellhaus, opened the night before at The Living Theatre. The New Repertory Company staged tonight's production at the Masque Theatre. It was directed by John Hancock and starred John Heffernan and Olympia Dukakis. Both productions will run 175 performances.
1974 The Winter Garden Theatre is evacuated tonight due to a bomb threat, even though it is the scheduled first preview for the revival of Gypsy. Gene Brown's book, "Showtime," notes that librettist Arthur Laurents joked with the audience during the break that acclaimed star Angela Lansbury was quite a "bombshell" herself. The show resumes shortly after the evacuation.
1996 David Hare's Skylight about a successful businessman who attempts to rehash a past affair with a young teacher opens tonight at Broadway's Royale Theatre. The Richard Eyre-helmed production stars Lia Williams, Christian Camargo and Michael Gambon. The production will run 116 performances before closing Dec. 29.
2000 Less than two weeks after ending its run at the Second Stage Theatre, the production of August Wilson's Jitney reopens today at the larger Union Square Theatre Off-Broadway. The first play written by the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright looks into the lives of a group of black men working at a gypsy cab company (or jitney station) in 1970s Pittsburgh.
2001 Led by Cristyne Lategano Nicholas, the NYC Tourism Chief, and Tim Zagat, president of the famous Zagat surveys of restaurants, New York City business leaders rally at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre to express support for the theatre industry in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and to urge theatre fans to continue buying tickets.
2002 Nunsense, the Off-Broadway novelty musical about a convent full of wacky nuns, spawns its fourth sequel: Meshuggah-Nuns, an entirely new show "with a touch of Yiddish," at the Fireside Theatre in Minneapolis. Previous entries in the series: Nunsense, Nunsense II, Sister Amnesia's Country Western Nunsense Jamboree and Nuncrackers (the Christmas themed show), and not counting Nunsense A-Men, the original show, but with an all-male cast.
2006 Elizabeth Allen, 77, the stage, film, television actress and model who played a feisty, love-hungry tourist in the Broadway musical Do I Hear a Waltz?, dies at Wingate Nursing Home in Fishkill, NY.
2012 The world premiere of Jay Kuo, Marc Acito and Lorenzo Thione's Allegiance — A New American Musical, charting the lives of Japanese Americans who were placed in concentration camps on U.S. soil during World War II, opens at The Old Globe in San Diego, CA. Directed by Stafford Arima, the production stars Telly Leung, George Takei and Lea Salonga. The production will transfer to Broadway three years later.
Today's Birthdays: Malcolm Duncan 1881. Ernest Truex 1889. Frances Farmer 1913. Rosemary Harris 1927. David McCallum 1933. Jeremy Irons 1948. Twiggy 1949. Rex Smith 1956. Stephanie J. Block 1972. Ramin Karimloo 1978.