PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: APRIL 20

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and Robert Viagas and Anne Bradley
20 Apr 2014

1908 The four Cohans (George, Helen, Jerry and Josephine) are the stars of The Yankee Prince. George M. Cohan wrote, directed and co-produced this musical at Broadway's Knickerbocker Theatre. It will run 119 performances.

1915 There's Nobody Home, but there's a Jerome Kern score with a book by Guy Bolton and Paul Rubens. This musical nests at Broadway's Princess Theatre - and later Maxine Elliott's Theatre - for 135 performances.

1927 Russian-born Sam Levene makes his Broadway debut in Wall Street at the Hudson Theatre. He studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Art. He will later play Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls.

1951 Davis Snow's The Long Days aren't very. Frances Starr plays a domineering mother who drives her husband and three sons to drink. She tossed her meddlesome daughter-in-law into an asylum and one night accidentally kills the one lush who was loyal to her. Three performances at the Empire Theatre on Broadway will be plenty.

1997 Charles Durning and Julie Harris star in a revival of The Gin Game. It runs 145 performances at the Lyceum Theatre. It's Harris' last Broadway appearance to date.

1999 Emlyn Williams' Night Must Fall, which opened in March 8 at the Lyceum Theatre, reopens tonight at the Helen Hayes Theatre. The production was scheduled to close April 11, but star Matthew Broderick decides to stay on with the show, making the transfer viable. The thriller focuses on a psychopathic bellboy and the spell he casts on several women in an English country house.

2001 Actress Maria Karnilova, who created memorable Broadway roles including Golde in Fiddler on the Roof (Tony Award), Tessie Tura in Gypsy and Madame Hortense in Zorba, dies today (1920-2001).

2010 American Idiot, the musical based on the Grammy Award-winning rock album by Green Day, and featuring direction by Michael Mayer, opens at the St. James Theatre. John Gallagher, Jr., Michael Esper and Stark Sands star as three friends who attempt to escape from lives in suburbia.

2011 Following a 2009 London premiere, the musical stage adaptation Sister Act – featuring a score by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater – opens in New York at the Broadway Theatre. Patina Miller stars as a singer on the run who transforms the lives of a convent full of nuns when she hides out among them.

Today's Birthdays: Señor Wences 1896. Nina Foch 1924. Jessica Lange 1949.