PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: APRIL 19

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and Anne Bradley, Ernio Hernandez and Robert Viagas
19 Apr 2014

1946 Actor Tim Curry is born in Cheshire, England. He will create memorable Broadway roles including Frank N. Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, Mozart in Amadeus, Dada artist Tristan Tzara in Travesties and King Arthur in Monty Python's Spamalot, as well as appear, usually as the villain, in more than one hundred films and cartoons.



1951 Edith Evans, Sybil Thorndike, and Wendy Hiller are residents at a country hotel in N. C. Hunter's Waters of the Moon. They won't be checking out till they register 835 performances at London's Haymarket. Frith Banbury stages.

1955 Leonard Bernstein's short opera, Trouble in Tahiti, dance routines by Paul Draper, and a staging of Tennessee Williams' 27 Wagons Full of Cotton are All in One. Maureen Stapleton and Myron McCormick appear in the Williams play. The evening runs six weeks at New York's Playhouse Theatre.

1956 Broadway starts Waiting for Godot, it's impatient though, and this production lasts just 59 performances at the Golden Theatre. E. G. Marshall and Bert Lahr are Didi and Gogo. Herbert Berghof directs.

1972 If only people listened when you say Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope! Micki Grant stars in and supplies the music and lyrics for this musical exploring the trials, and celebrating the pride, of African-American life. It will run 1,065 performances at the Edison Theatre in New York.

1979 Bernard Pomerance's tale of the grossly disfigured John Merrick, better known as The Elephant Man, opens on Broadway at the Booth Theatre. Philip Anglim stars as the stricken man (sans makeup) while Carole Shelley and Kevin Conway co-star. The play wins the Tony Award for Best Play.

1999 Martin McDonagh, whose The Beauty Queen of Leenane ended its yearlong Broadway run just weeks ago, now has another play, The Lonesome West, starting previews at the Lyceum Theatre tonight. The play is part of McDonagh's "Leenane" trilogy (the third being A Skull in Connemara) and opens on Broadway April 27.

2001 It's ker-ching time for Hitler — and Mel Brooks and all of Broadway. Legendary opening night of The Producers at the St. James Theatre, as ticket buyers form lines down 44th Street to see Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in the musical adaptation of the 1968 Brooks film. The production will win a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards, and run for 2,502 performances.

2003 Cholly Atkins, a Broadway tap dancer and choreographer whose collaborations with Charles "Honi" Coles were the stuff of showbiz legend, dies in Las Vegas at age 89.

2006 Film star Julia Roberts makes her Broadway debut as one point of a love triangle in the Broadway premiere of Richard Greenberg's drama Three Days of Rain.

2009 Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter play battling queens of Scotland and England in the Donmar Warehouse's revival of Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart, which opens at the Broadhurst Theatre. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, the production played a sold out engagement at the Donmar Warehouse in 2005, before moving to the West End and Broadway.

2011 High, Matthew Lombardo's play about an addict, an enabler and a sponsor — starring Kathleen Turner as a nun who agrees to counsel a tough 19-year-old crystal-meth abuser — opens on Broadway at the Booth Theatre. After struggling at the box office through previews, and receiving a slew of negative reviews, the production will close five days later.

2012 Clybourne Park, Bruce Norris' humor-flecked play about racial and economic changes in a neighborhood over a 50-year period, opens on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre. The domestic satire of clashing cultures inspired by Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, was first seen at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons in 2010. In June 2012, the play will add the Tony Award for Best Play to a list of achievements that already included the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Olivier Award for Best Play.

More of Today's Birthdays: May Robson 1858. Vivienne Segal 1897. Dudley Moore 1935. Betsy Joslyn 1954. Ashley Judd 1968.