Today in Theatre History: DECEMBER 2

News   Today in Theatre History: DECEMBER 2 1912 The Firefly sparks the Lyric Theatre with music by Rudolf Friml and lyrics and book by Otto Harbach. This tale of an Italian street singer who disguises herself as a boy to be near the wealthy man she loves stars Emma Trentini, Craig Campbell, and Audrey Maple.

1919 Impersonation, yet again. This time Laurette Taylor's character in One Night in Rome impersonates a fortune-teller, L'Enigme, who forces a young man to discover he is in love with her. J. Hartley Manners created this role specifically for Taylor, his wife.

1924 The Student Prince opens at the Jolson Theatre in New York. The show, based on the play Old Heidelberg, has a book and lyrics by Dorothy Donnelly with a score by Sigmund Romberg. Tunes include the "Drinking Song." In the story, a prince falls in love with a waitress. It stars Howard Marsh and Ilse Marvenga.

1925 Actress Julie Harris is born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. She earns fame and respect later in The Member of the Wedding and The Belle of Amherst, among other plays.

1979 Martin Sherman’s play about homosexuals in the Nazi concentration camps, Bent, opens at the New Apollo Theatre. Richard Gere stars as a gay man who is also a Jew. Other cast members include David Marshall Grant and David Dukes. The show will run for 240 performances.

1985 The Mystery of Edwin Drood, adapted from the Charles Dickens novel by Rupert Holmes, opens on Broadway tonight at the Imperial Theatre. The show ran for free in Central Park over the previous summer. Dickens never wrote an ending to his novel, and because of this, the responsibility of choosing an ending falls to the audience each night. The cast included Betty Buckley, George Rose, Donna Murphy and George N. Martin. 1999 Audra McDonald received her fourth Tony Award nomination and first for Leading Actress in a Musical for Lincoln Center production, Marie Christine, which opens today. The musical was written especially for McDonald by Michael John LaChiusa. An ambitious musical adaptation of the Greek tragedy, Medea, Marie Christine ran on Broadway for just 44 performances and received five Tony Award nominations.

2001 After a two-month struggle in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Off-Broadway oddity Bat Boy plays its 278th and final performance. The darkly comic pop-and-rock-infused musical was based on a tabloid story about a half-boy/half bat. The show earned a cult following at the Union Square Theatre, but went on a monthlong hiatus after ticket sales plunged in the wake of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Ticket sales failed to rebound upon the show's return.