PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: MARCH 4

By David Gewirtzman
and Anne Bradley, Ernio Hernandez and Robert Viagas
04 Mar 2014

1922 Eugene O'Neill's drama The First Man describes the strange tale of a scientist who curses the unborn child in his wife's womb. The wife dies in childbirth and the child thrives. Augustin Duncan stages and stars. There will be just 27 performances at the Neighborhood Playhouse.



1922 Comedian and song-writer Bert Williams, 46, dies today in New York. Along with George Walker they formed a popular vaudeville team in 1895. In 1902, Williams wrote and produced In Dahomey, the first full-length Broadway musical written and performed by African Americans. After Walker died, Williams joined the Ziegfeld Follies.

1933 Jimmy Durante and Lupe Velez star in the musical revue Strike Me Pink, which opens a 105-performance run today at the Majestic Theatre. The show has music and lyrics by Lew Henderson and Ray Brown.

1952 The Vortex by Noël Coward is revived at London's Lyric, Hammersmith. Among the cast are Adrianne Allen, Isabel Jeans, and Dirk Bogarde as Nicky Lancaster.

1969 Guess there wasn't a right way to fix The Wrong Way Light Bulb, opening tonight. This play by Leonard Spigelgass (author of the recently-revived A Majority of One) will close at the John Golden Theatre after only seven performances. Barnard Hughes, Miriam Colon and Claudia McNeil starred.

1993 Marvin Hamlisch and David Zippel team up to create The Goodbye Girl, which opens at Broadway's Marquis Theatre. The musical, based on the 1977 Neil Simon screenplay, stars Martin Short and Bernadette Peters, who six years later will open at the same theatre with...

1999 ...a revival of Annie Get Your Gun, which hits the Broadway bullseye. Bernadette Peters stars with Tom Wopat in this Irving Berlin musical, directed by Graciela Daniele. The show's original book, written by Herbert Fields and Dorothy Fields, has been updated by Peter Stone, with the politically incorrect songs "I'm An Indian, Too" and "I'm A Bad, Bad Man" excised. The show opens tonight at the Marquis Theatre.

2002 Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses, based on Ovid's tales, makes a splash on Broadway at its opening night, performed in and around a pool of water that takes up most of the stage at the Circle in the Square Theatre. It goes on to earn a Tony nomination as Best Play.

2004 The musical Mamma Mia! celebrates its 1,000th performance. Days later the show's cast album is certified platinum.

2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Horton Foote dies at age 92. Mr. Foote's plays include Only the Heart, Six O'Clock Theatre, The Chase, Two's Company, The Trip to Bountiful, The Traveling Lady, The Young Man from Atlanta, Dividing the Estate and The Orphans' Home Cycle. He wrote many teleplays in the Golden Age of TV (his famous The Trip to Bountiful began as a TV play in 1952), and won two Academy Awards.

2010 The world-premiere of Martin McDonagh's A Behanding in Spokane opens on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Christopher Walken, Zoe Kazan, Anthony Mackie and Sam Rockwell star in the play about a man who has been searching for his lost hand for more than 40 years.

Today's Birthdays: Robert Emmett Keane 1883. John Garfield 1913. Keith Charles 1934. Paula Prentiss 1939. Romain Frugé 1959. Steven Weber 1961.