Playbill Vault's Today In Theatre History: September 4

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today In Theatre History: September 4
James Monroe Iglehart in Aladdin.
James Monroe Iglehart in Aladdin. Cylla von Tiedemann

1895 Actor E. H. Sothern scores a personal triumph in the adventure melodrama The Prisoner of Zenda.

1909 Playwright Clyde Fitch dies today at age 44. One of the most prolific and successful playwrights of his era, he wrote Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines, Beau Brummel, Barbara Frietchie, Sapho, The City, The Cowboy and the Lady and many others.

1922 Bringing the early 20s fad of musicals about plucky heroines like Sally, Irene and Mary to its climax, J. Fred Coots, Eddie Dowling, Cyrus Wood and Raymond Klages put them all together in a show called Sally, Irene and Mary which is yet another hit, and runs 313 performances.

1956 Towards Zero, an Agatha Christie mystery, opens in London. It runs for six months.

1972 Noel Coward’s Relative Values is revived in London at the Westminster Theatre. It stars Margaret Lockwood.

1984 Las Vegas meets Off-Broadway as Johnny Seaton performs Elvis Mania Off Broadway. Leslie Irons directs the one man work which comprises Elvis Presley numbers from over three decades. Seaton as Presley will leave the building on Sept. 16 following 18 performances.

1999 Ending its one-week extension today, the Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann's musical satire, Urinetown concludes the New York International Fringe Festival — one week after all other shows had closed. The little musical that could about a Gotham-esque city where the privilege to relieve oneself is regulated by a single corporation, will go on to play an Off-Broadway run, followed by a Broadway run at Henry Miller's Theatre.

2003 Nathan Lane plays blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo in the solo drama Trumbo, opening Off-Broadway today. In the months to come, numerous other stage and film stars will take the role for short engagements.

2011 Three shows close on Broadway today: the limited run of Terrence McNally's Master Class starring Tyne Daly, the Florence Greenberg-bio musical Baby It's You!, and the Marc Shaiman-Scott Wittman-Terrence McNally musical Catch Me If You Can.

2012 Albert Marre, who won a Tony Award for directing the original production of Man of La Mancha, dies at age 86. Other highlights from Mr. Marre's long list of directing credits include the original Broadway productions of Kismet, The Chalk Garden and Milk and Honey.

2014 Comedian Joan Rivers dies at age 81. Over the course of her unusually long and varied career, Ms. Rivers was known as a stand-up comedian; a guest host on several talk shows, including the "Tonight Show," where she was a frequent guest; the host of a nighttime and daytime talk show; a recording artist; a game show panelist; a film actress and director; a Broadway actress; a playwright; a red-carpet interviewer; a memoirist; and a member of the fashion police. Her Broadway appearances included Fun City and Sally Marr...and Her Escorts, both of which she also co-authored, and Neil Simon's Broadway Bound.

2015 Jean Darling, the first actress to sing "When I Marry Mr. Snow" as the original Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel, dies at age 93.

More of Today's Birthdays: Paul Osborn 1901. Richard Wright 1908. Dick York 1928. Judith Ivey 1951. James Monroe Iglehart 1974.

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