PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: DECEMBER 30

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

1907 In The Comet Alla Nazimova plays a woman who falls in love with her former lover's son, who eventually kills himself. This first play for Owen Johnson will run for seven weeks.



1926 Chicago, Maurine Dallas Watkins' tale of a fast-living woman who shoots her husband will run at the Music Box Theatre for 22 weeks. George Abbott and Francine Larrimore are in the cast. Forty-nine years later Bob Fosse will set this story to the music of John Kander and Fred Ebb. In 1996 the newest incarnation began its record-breaking run.

1948 Alfred Drake and Patricia Morison brush up their Shakespeare in Kiss Me, Kate, Cole Porter's musical, opening at the New Century Theatre. Songs included "Wunderbar," "I Hate Men," "Bianca," "Always True To You (In My Fashion)" and "Too Darn Hot." A smash revival of Kate opened November 18, 1999 at Broadway's Martin Beck Theatre, with Brian Stokes Mitchell and Marin Mazzie leading the cast.

1953 The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker knows the geography of Pennsylvania well; he keeps one family in Wilmington and one in Philadelphia. Burgess Meredith plays the well-traveled man in this Liam O'Brien work.

1975 The Runner Stumbles exposes the doomed affection of a lonely priest and a loving nun. Austin Pendleton directs the world premiere of this Milan Stitt play at the Hartman Theatre in Stamford, CT. The production will transfer to Broadway the following year.

1979 Richard Rodgers, who collaborated with Lorenz Hart on such shows as Babes in Arms, The Boys from Syracuse, and Pal Joey; with Oscar Hammerstein II on shows including Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The Sound of Music and The King and I; and Stephen Sondheim on the musical Do I Hear A Waltz? dies today at age 77.

1999 Jackie Mason's Much Ado About Everything opens at the John Golden Theatre. It is written and directed by Mason, who also stars in the comedy. The show will run for 186 regular performances.

2001 Two long-running revivals — Kiss Me, Kate and The Music Man — close today. Both had been struggling since the 9/11 attacks cut into attendance.

2003 Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick return to their roles as Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom in Mel Brooks' Tony-winning musical, The Producers, quickly restoring the show to SRO status.

Today's Birthdays: Michael Allinson 1920. Joseph Bologna 1934. Sheryl Lee Ralph 1956. Tracey Ullman 1959.