PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: FEBRUARY 5

By David Gewirtzman
and Robert Viagas and Anne Bradley
05 Feb 2014

1900 The scandalous Sapho [sic] is staged at Wallack's Theatre in New York. Based on Alphonse Daudet's novel, it stars Olga Nethersole as an evil woman who seduces a pure young man to keep as her lover. Purity wins out however, and the young man convinces her to return to the felon who is the father of her child. This debauchery reigns for just 29 performances. It will re-open in April for 55 more performances.



1908 Birthday of conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, who will go on to star in vaudeville and the Ziegfeld Follies. Their lives will become the subject of a 1997 musical, Side Show.

1937 On Your Toes balances at the Palace Theatre in London. This musical devised by George Abbott, Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers, stars Vera Zorina. It is staged by Leslie Henson.

1959 Gwen Verdon is a Redhead and, more importantly, plays the intended victim of a serial killer in this musical choreographed and directed by Bob Fosse. Richard Kiley co-stars. It will run at the 49th Street Theatre for 452 performances and win the Tony Award as Best Musical.

1970 The Battle of Shrivings with the combined forces of John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller and director Peter Hall fights on for 73 performances at London's Lyric Theatre.

2003 London's troubled Old Vic theatre company announces that American actor Kevin Spacey will take over as its new artistic director. Spacey had given the Old Vic one of its biggest successes in recent years, a revival of The Iceman Cometh.

2009 You're Welcome America. A Final Night with George W Bush, which casts former "Saturday Night Live" star Will Ferrell as a comical version of the 43rd President of the United States, opens at Broadway's Cort Theatre.

More of Today's Birthdays: Maxine Elliott 1868. John Daly Murphy 1873. Frederick Lonsdale 1881. John Carradine 1906. Red Buttons 1919. John Guare 1938. Jonathan Freeman 1950. Jennifer Jason Leigh 1962. Laura Linney 1964. Michael Sheen 1969.