PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: DECEMBER 1

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and Robert Viagas, Christopher Reichheld and Anne Bradley
01 Dec 2014

1907 Theatrical producer Herman Levin is born in Philadelphia, PA.

1929 In London, actors and actresses vote unanimously to form the British Actors Equity Association. Rules and the constitution will be adopted in May of the following year.

1930 Incidents from Emily Dickinson's life are the subject of Alison's House. Presented by New York's Civic Repertory Theatre, the play, written by Susan Glaspell, will later win a Pulitzer Prize.

1955 After losing an eye in an operation three months earlier, Paul Muni returns to the cast of Inherit the Wind at the National Theatre. He is greeted by the audience and cast members with a standing ovation.

1987 The Ritz (now the Walter Kerr) Theatre plays host to Penn Jillette and Raymond Joseph Teller, whose Penn & Teller opens tonight and will go on to run for 122 performances.

1999 Liza Minnelli returns to Broadway with a salute to her father, film director Vincente Minnelli. Minnelli on Minnelli is presented at the Palace Theatre, where her mother, Judy Garland, had triumphed in solo concerts.

2005 After being talked up for weeks by talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who is one of the producers, the musical adaptation of Alice Walker's novel The Color Purple debuts on Broadway. LaChanze, who plays Celie, will go on to win the 2006 Tony Award as Best Actress in a Musical.

2011 Frank Wildhorn and Don Black's musical Bonnie & Clyde, telling the story of the Depression-era American outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, opens at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan star in the title roles. Though it only runs 36 performances, both Wildhorn and Black's score and Laura Osnes's performance will receive Tony nominations.

More of Today's Birthdays: Harry Lewis 1885. Ray Henderson 1896. Cyril Ritchard 1897. Mary Martin 1913. Dick Shawn 1923. Keith Michell 1928. Woody Allen 1935. Bette Midler 1945. Treat Williams 1951.