PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today in Theatre History: DECEMBER 23

By Robert Viagas
and Christopher Reichheld and Anne Bradley
23 Dec 2013

1893 Birthday of dancer Ann Pennington (1893-1971), who would display her fabled dimpled knee in many editions of The Ziegfeld Follies and George White's Scandals from 1913 to 1928.



1908 Eddie Foy plays a circus performer somehow drafted at the last minute to play Shakespeare's Melancholy Dane in the musical comedy Mr. Hamlet of Broadway, which runs 54 performances at the Casino Theatre.

1913 David Belasco produces and directs The Secret by Henri Bernstein. The 143 performances at the Belasco Theatre star Frances Starr, Robert Warwick, and Basil Gill.

1915 Very Good Eddie, one of the first smash successes among the intimate Princess Theatre shows, opens a 341-performance run today. Jerome Kern and Schuyler Green wrote the score to the musical comedy about newlyweds who run into trouble aboard a Hudson River cruise.

1921 Engaged couples travel The Dover Road for a glimpse at married life. This A. A. Milne comedy at the Bijou Theatre stars Charles Cherry and will run through the season and beyond.

1935 English actor-manager Robert Loraine dies at the age of 59 in London. He acted with the likes of Herbert Beerbohm Tree and George Alexander. The part of D'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers was one of his greatest successes.

1944 The comedy team of Olsen & Johnson star in the wacky musical revue Laffing Room Only, with music by Burton Lane. It opens today at the Winter Garden and stays 232 performances.

1963 Vida Hope, British director of Sandy Wilson's The Boy Friend, dies at the age of 43.

1982 Eva Le Gallienne ends her seven-decade Broadway acting career, appearing as the White Queen in a recreation of her 1932 hit, Alice in Wonderland. It runs just 21 performances at the Virginia Theatre. Kate Burton plays Alice.

2007 Michael Kidd, 92, the stage and film choreographer and director who won five Tony Awards and an Honorary Academy Award and whose choreography credits include Guys and Dolls on stage and screen, dies of cancer at his home in Los Angeles.

More of Today's Birthdays: Burns Mantle 1873. Buzz Miller 1923. Harry Guardino 1925.