PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: MARCH 14

By David Gewirtzman
and Anne Bradley and Ernio Hernandez
14 Mar 2014

1911 Constance Collier, Tyrone Power (father of the future film star), and Sydney Greenstreet are in the cast of Thais. Paul Wilstach bases his play on the Anatole France story.



1913 Initially Damaged Goods, describing the effects of venereal disease, is given just one matinee performance at the Fulton Theatre in New York. But Eugene Brieux's play will attract so much interest, it will begin a 66 performance run one month later.

1974 A Streetcar Named Desire is staged at London's Piccadilly Theatre. Martin Shaw plays Stanley with Claire Bloom as Blanche. American Edwin Sherin directs.

1979 The Royal Shakespeare Company presents Coriolanus at London's Aldwych Theatre. Alan Howard plays the warrior, Terry Hands stages.

1990 Craig Lucas' Prelude to a Kiss opens today Off-Broadway at the Circle Rep Theatre. Alec Baldwin and Mary-Louise Parker star as the oddly-fated newlyweds. It will transfer to Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre May 1, where Timothy Hutton replaces the groom.

1999 Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation opens Off Broadway at Playwrights Horizons' Anne Wilder Theatre. The wild comedy told of a summer share gone terribly wrong and starred Kellie Overbey as the title character.

2002 Sweet Smell of Success opens on Broadway. Despite an all-star lineup on stage (John Lithgow, Brian d'Arcy James) and on the creative team (composer Marvin Hamlisch, lyricist Craig Carnelia, librettist John Guare), this musical adaptation of the film about a crooked columnist and a sleazy press agent gets slammed by critics and runs just 109 performances.

2005 Tom Dillon, 86, president emeritus of the entertainment industry charity The Actors' Fund of America and a veteran performer in many areas of show business, dies at The Actors' Fund Home in Englewood, NJ.

2010 Valerie Harper channels eccentric film icon Tallulah Bankhead in Looped, which opens on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre. In the comic character study by Matthew Lombardo, husky-voiced Tallulah is called into a sound studio in 1965 to re-record (or "loop") one line of dialogue for what would be her last film — "Die! Die! My Darling."

2013 Following a hit Off-Broadway run, Christopher Durang's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which whips Chekhov's dramatic themes into an evening of existential American comedy, opens on Broadway at the John Golden Theatre. Kristine Nielsen and David Hyde Pierce star as siblings Sonia and Vanya, whose quiet life in Bucks County, PA is thrown into upheaval by the arrival of their sister Masha (Sigourney Weaver) and her boyfriend Spike (Billy Magnussen). Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will go on to win the Tony Award for Best Play.

Today's Birthdays: Doris Eaton Travis 1904. Horton Foote 1916. Luther Henderson 1919. Billy Crystal 1948.