PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today in Theatre History: SEPTEMBER 1

By David Gewirtzman
and Ernio Hernandez, Robert Viagas
01 Sep 2013

1898 Birthday of one of Broadway's most endearing leading ladies of the 1920s, Marilyn Miller (1898-1936), whose vehicles will include Sally, Sunny, Rosalie and As Thousands Cheer.



1924 John Colton and Clemence Randolph adapt the W. Somerset Maugham story "Miss Thompson" as the hit play Rain, about tough prostitute Sadie Thompson (Jeanne Eagels), who battles a bigoted missionary in the steamy jungle. It opens a 648-performance run today, and will be adapted several times as a film.

1927 Barbara Stanwyck and Oscar Levant star in the musical Burlesque, which plays the first of its 372 performances today.

1997 Tonight's Actors Fund performance of A Doll's House is the Tony-winning revival's last, as Anthony Page's re-working of Henrik Ibsen's late-19th century drama ends its run after tonight's performance. Janet McTeer won a Tony for her performance as Nora Helmer, as did Owen Teale for his as husband Torvald. The limited engagement production was originally scheduled to close on July 26, but following its strong reception from both critics and audiences, that date was pushed back six weeks.

1998 The Broadway production of Art gets its second cast today, as British actors Brian Cox, Henry Goodman, and David Haig take over from the recently-departed Alan Alda, Victor Garber and Alfred Molina. Yasmina Reza's play, which focuses on three men whose friendship is put on trial when one buys a "white" painting, will have two more casts before it closes August 8, 1999. Judd Hirsch, George Wendt, and Joe Morton will assume the roles in December 1998, while Buck Henry, George Segal, and Wayne Knight will follow in April 1999.

1998 Closing out its summer season at The Berkshires in Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company runs a new one-woman show, A Room of One's Own. The play is adapted by Patrick Garland from Virginia Woolf's famous 1929 essay, in which the writer informs a group of women's college students that, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."

2002 The unorthodox but Tony-winning Best Musical Contact closes after a two-and-a-half-year Broadway run. The final performance is broadcast live on PBS.

2003 A rare (but not unprecedented) confluence of events leave Broadway with just one non-musical play on the boards, Tony-winner Take Me Out.

2004 In the midst of the Republican national convention in New York, which nominated President George W. Bush for a second term, British playwright David Hare begins performances of his critique of Bush's first term, Stuff Happens, at London's National Theatre. Meanwhile, back in New York, former President George H.W. Bush attends a matinee performance of Hairspray for former First Lady Barbara Bush.

2012 The London production of John Kander, Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse's musical Chicago, the West End's longest-ever running revival, closes today after a run of 15 years. The production, which won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production, opened at the Adelphi Theatre on Nov. 18, 1997, and transferred to the Cambridge Theatre in April 2006, and then to the Garrick Theatre in November 2011.

More of Today's Birthdays: Guy Standing 1873. Edgar Rice Burroughs 1875. Yvonne De Carlo 1922. Lily Tomlin 1939. Martin Pakledinaz 1953. Carolee Carmello 1962.