Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: August 9
09 Aug 2015
1967 Playwright Joe Orton is found dead today in his London flat. Also found dead is his companion, writer and actor Kenneth Halliwell. It appears that Halliwell murdered the Loot playwright and then killed himself.
1978 A New York newspaper strike leads producers to use TV and other media to advertise their shows.
2002 Final farewell to musical director, orchestrator, arranger and composer Peter Matz, who died today at age 73; and actor Don Chastain (Floyd Collins) who died at 66.
2003 Tap-dancing actor-singer Gregory Hines, recognized as part of a rich tradition of African-American tap masters, dies today of cancer at age 57. He peformed with his brother Maurice for several years (including in the musical, Eubie!) before they took separate paths. Gregory Hines won the 1992 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for Jelly's Last Jam, for which he was also nominated for a Best Choreography. Hines was nominated for Tonys for Best Actor in a Musical in 1980 and 1981, respectively, for Comin' Uptown and Sophisticated Ladies 1981. He was also nominated in 1979 for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Eubie!. His films included The Cotton Club, Tap, White Nights and Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part 1.
2012 A revival of Into the Woods, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Tony Award-winning musical that intertwines classic fairytales, opens at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The Shakespeare in the Park production stars Donna Murphy as the Witch, Denis O'Hare as the Baker, Amy Adams and the Baker's Wife, and Jessie Mueller as Cinderella.
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.