By Robert Viagas
and Ernio Hernandez and Anne Bradley
23 Jun 2012
1970 The Royal Shakespeare Company revival of Dion Boucicault's 19th-century comedy, London Assurance, starring Judi Dench, opens today at the Aldwych Theatre in London. Directed by Ronald Eyre, the production will soon become a repertory hit and ultimately transfer, on April 5, 1972, to the New Theatre in London's West End. The show will play 390 performances at that venue and will later transfer to Broadway's Palace Theatre.
1982 An outcry is heard as a group of prominent theatre writers, Arthur Miller and Stephen Sondheim among them, place an open letter advertisement in Variety to protest the minimal attention playwrights have received on the Tony Awards telecasts up to that time. An excerpt from that complaint follows: "No sane person would possibly believe that authors are less important to the theatre than are actors, directors, and producers. Nevertheless, from the onset of the televised Tony Awards, authors have either been entirely ignored or denied their proper recognition. This situation will no longer be tolerated."
1999 Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman makes his directorial debut Off Broadway with the world premiere of Stephen Adly Guirgis' In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings, starting performances at New York City's Center Stage tonight. The LAByrinth Theater Company production will extend twice before closing July 17.
2000 Mario Cantone is one of a group of gay friends facing life changes during the holiday season in the New York premiere of The Crumple Zone. The new comedy by Buddy Thomas begins previews Off-Broadway at the Rattlestick Theatre and will undergo three extensions before closing Oct. 29.
2003 Broadway's venerable Martin Beck Theatre is rechristened the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, after the theatrical caricaturist.
2011 Peter Falk, a stage, film and television actor whose quirky characterizations — notably that of Columbo, the iconic detective he created in the television series of the same name — could be both distracted and intense, dies at age 83. Falk appeared on Broadway in Saint Joan, Diary of a Scoundrel, The Passion of Josef D. and The Prisoner of Second Avenue.