By David Gewirtzman
and Robert Viagas, Sam Maher, Christopher Reichheld and Anne Bradley
10 Dec 2013
1925 Actor Walter Huston searches for The Fountain at the Greenwich Village Theatre. This Eugene O'Neill drama directed by Robert Edmond Jones deals with Ponce de Leon's search for the Fountain of Youth. It will run for 28 performances.
1926 What will happen when The Trumpet Shall Sound? Thornton Wilder has one answer in his play about a man who finds out his servants have turned his home over to the needy. Directed by Richard Boleslavsky, the show will run in American Laboratory Theatre's repertory season for 30 performances.
1953 When a man hears the devastating news his father has been hanged for murder, it's A Question of Fact at London's Piccadilly Theatre. Paul Scofield, Gladys Cooper and Pamela Brown are in the cast. Frith Banbury directs this 30-week run.
1965 Producer Lore Noto makes his Broadway debut with The Yearling, a musical adaptation of the film of the same title, as a follow-up to his phenomenal Off-Broadway success, The Fantasticks. But after the 3-performance flop of The Yearling at the Alvin Theatre, Noto never produces again. The musical stars David Wayne and Carmen Alvarez, and is directed by Lloyd Richards, later dean of the Yale School of Drama.
1991 The first production of Tony Randall's National Actors Theatre opens tonight at the Belasco Theatre. It's a revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, in a limited-run of 31 performances starring Martin Sheen, Martha Scott and Michael York.
1992 The songwriting team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty returns to Broadway with My Favorite Year, a musical adaptation of the film of the same title, starring Tim Curry, Lainie Kazan, Andrea Martin and Evan Pappas, with choreography by Thommie Walsh. It completes its 36-performance subscription run at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, but does not transfer to a commercial run. Ahrens & Flaherty go on to write Ragtime and Seussical.
2000 Opening night of Jane Eyre, the musical based on the Charlotte Bronte novel. Critics say it may have opened too late in the cycle of operatic musicals, but producers keep it running, mainly at a loss, for 209 performances through the 2001 Tony Awards. Leading lady Marla Schaffel earns a Tony nomination and a cult following, but no Tony Awards.
2000 Also today, A Class Act brings an end to its sold-out Off-Broadway run today at the Manhattan Theatre Club. The musical about A Chorus Line lyricist, Edward Kleban, featuring his own songs, is successful enough to warrant a transfer to Broadway's Ambassador Theatre for a March 11, 2001 opening.
2006 Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's musical Spring Awakening, based on the 1891 troubled teen drama by Frank Wedekind, opens on Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff star as teens Wendla and Melchior, who are drawn to each other in a world where parents, ministers and teachers create an atmosphere of shame, silence and ignorance. The production will go on to win eight Tony Awards, including ones for John Gallagher, Jr.'s performance as Moritz, Best Original Score and Best Musical.