PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: APRIL 8

By David Gewirtzman
and Robert Viagas, Ernio Hernandez and Anne Bradley
08 Apr 2014

1904 New York City bids adieu to Longacre Square, which had no particular reputation, and says hello to Times Square, which soon develops quite a reputation indeed. Mayor George B. McClellan (son of the Civil War general) announces the official name change. "Times" is, of course, drawn from The New York Times, the newspaper which recently moved into a building perched on a traffic triangle in the middle of the square. The daily, which lobbied hard for the name change, will soon move to larger quarters on nearby 43rd Street, where it stayed until 2007.



1907 Two of The Boys of Company "B" are John Barrymore, who joined the cast as a replacement, and Mack Sennett, father of film's Keystone Kops. Rida Johnson Young's comedy will run three months at New York's Lyceum Theatre.

1939 Actress Bertha Kalich died today in New York City. She made her reputation in Yiddish theatre playing in A Doll's House and Fedora. She was 65 years old.

1958 Drama critic George Jean Nathan, 70, died today in New York City. He contributed to Newsweek and the Journal-American. He championed many playwrights including William Saroyan, Eugene O'Neill and Sean O'Casey. He wrote more than 30 books.

1954 Shirley Booth leads the cast in By the Beautiful Sea at the Majestic Theatre. Dorothy and Herbert Fields provide the book. Dorothy Fields penned the lyrics to Arthur Schwartz's music.

1992 Clarke Peters' musical revue based on the music of Louis Jordan named Five Guys Named Moe opens at Broadway's Eugene O'Neill Theatre. The rhythm and blues show was directed and choreographed by Charles Augins and featured Jerry Dixon.

1999 The star-powered UK production of Eugene O'Neill's drama, The Iceman Cometh, opens tonight at Broadway's Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Staged by Howard Davies, the revival will run only 91 performances and feature London cast originals Tim Pigott-Smith, James Hazeldine, Patrick Godfrey and, of course, Kevin Spacey.

2001 Gary Sinise stars in a Broadway revival of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which opens tonight and goes on to win the Tony Award as Best Revival of a Play.

2002 Suzan-Lori Parks' play Topdog/Underdog, wins the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, making Parks the first African-American woman to win the coveted award. The announcement comes mere hours after opening night of Topdog, April 7.

2004 Times Square celebrates its 100th anniversary under that name. See entry for 1904, above.

2008 Shakespeare's murder-filled tragedy Macbeth, opens at the Lyceum Theatre with Patrick Stewart in the title role. The Chichester Festival Theatre production, directed by Rupert Goold and starring his wife Kate Fleetwood as Lady Macbeth, transferred to Broadway following critically praised engagements at BAM and in the West End.

2010 The Addams Family, a musical based on the macabre characters of illustrator Charles Addams, opens on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. With music by Andrew Lippa, and book and lyrics by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, the production stars Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth as Gomez and Morticia Addams.

Today's Birthdays: Walter Connolly 1887. Mary Pickford 1892. E.Y. "Yip" Harburg 1896. Jo Swerling 1897. Fred Ebb 1928. Michael Bennett 1943. Stephanie Pope 1964.