PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: MARCH 5

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

1908 Actor Rex Harrison is born today. He will make his London debut in Florence Kilpatrick's Getting George Married. He will star in the London production of NoŽl Coward's Design for Living. Among his numerous productions in London and on Broadway, he will be best known for his portrayal of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady.



1948 Birthday of British musical comedy star Elaine Paige, who will create roles in the original London productions of Evita, Chess and Cats.

1969 What the Butler Saw stands exposed at the Queen's Theatre in London. Joe Orton's black comedy stars Ralph Richardson and Coral Browne. It will run 101 performances.

1974 John Gielgud is Prospero in the National Theatre production of The Tempest . Peter Hall directs this production at London's Old Vic.

1974 Actor Billy DeWolfe, 67, dies in Los Angeles. A longtime vaudeville performer, he toured with his own act, DeWolfe and Kindler. In 1953 he appeared in John Murray Anderson's Almanac.

1978 Carol Channing reprises the role of Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi which she originated in 1964 in a revival of Hello, Dolly! at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. She will reprise the role once again at the same theatre 17 years later.

1981 Charles Strouse, Lee Adams and Michael Stewart revisit the characters from their hit musical Bye Bye Birdie with the sequel Bring Back Birdie, opening tonight at the Martin Beck Theatre. Despite the return of Chita Rivera in the role of Rose, the show fails to live up to its predecessor, and closes after 4 performances.

1989 Hizzoner!, starring Tony Lo Bianco as New York mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia, closes faster than burlesque. After opening Feb. 24, Paul Shyre's monodrama runs only 12 performances.

1991 At the Westside Arts Theatre Off Broadway, some budding talent will emerge at the opening of And the World Goes 'Round, a musical revue featuring the songs of John Kander and Fred Ebb. The production was conceived by Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman and David Thompson and starred Robert Cuccioli, Karen Mason and Karen Ziemba.

2002 Alan Manson dies today at age 83. The Broadway actor left the stage for the armed forces in World War II and landed a gig in the wartime show This Is the Army. He later played Ziegfeld to Streisand's Funny Girl on Broadway.

2004 London stage star Elaine Paige makes a rare New York appearance, playing Mrs. Lovett in the New York City Opera production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd opposite Mark Delavan.

2005 Jim Tyler, a Broadway orchestrator who created the brassy sound of La Cage aux Folles, and worked on many more musicals, dies at age 76.

2012 Jane Alexander is the enigmatic title character in Edward Albee's The Lady From Dubuque, the inaugural production at the Pershing Square Signature Center's End Stage Theatre. David Esbjornson directs the production, which also stars Laila Robins, Michael Hayden and Peter Francis James.

2012 Robert B. Sherman, the American songwriter who, with his brother Richard, wrote the cheerful, upbeat scores to several memorable family films — most notably "Mary Poppins" — dies at age 86. Together, the Sherman brothers composed such infectious, good-natured anthems as "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Let's Go Fly a Kite," "Step in Time," "Toots Sweet" and "Me Ol' Bamboo." Their music has been heard on Broadway in Over Here!, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins.

2013 The West End premiere of Peter Morgan's The Audience, starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II , opens at the Gielgud Theatre. Stephen Daldry directs the play, which imagines a series of pivotal meetings between Her Majesty the Queen and various prime ministers.

More of Today's Birthdays Jack Cassidy 1927. Warner LeRoy 1935. Charles Fuller 1939. Michael Gore 1951. Penn Jillette 1955.