By Robert Viagas
and Christopher Reichheld and Anne Bradley
26 Dec 2013
1925 Walter Hampden and Ethel Barrymore are Shylock and Portia in The Merchant of Venice at Hampden's Theatre in New York. The production is part of a limited season for Hampden and Barrymore, which also includes the pair as Hamlet and Ophelia in Hamlet.
1926 With pressure from both New York Governor Alfred E. Smith and Mayor James Walker regarding a reformation by theatre owners of the moral quality of certain productions, a committee is formed to view "morally questionable" shows. Made up of actors, authors and producers, the committee surveys current shows and comes up with the NY District Attorney's list of such titles. The first three to be raided are Sex, The Virgin Man and The Captive.
1931 George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind create Wintergreen, the presidential candidate running on a platform of love [sounds painfully familiar]. Of Thee I Sing, the Pulitzer Prize winning musical with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin, stars William Gaxton, Grace Brinkley, and Victor Moore. The campaign runs for 441 performances, first at the Music Box Theatre, and then at the 46th Street Theatre.
1960 Phil Silvers stars as a guy who's latest get-rich-quick scheme involves jukeboxes in the musical Do Re Mi from Jule Styne, Garson Kanin, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Nancy Walker plays Silvers' long-suffering wife, who stops the show with the song, "Adventure." It runs 400 performances and introduces the standard, "Make Someone Happy."
1999 Broadway's long-running The Phantom of the Opera celebrates an impressive 5,000 performances today, on its way to becoming the longest-running Broadway show ever.