PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: JANUARY 23

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
and Christopher Reichheld
23 Jan 2014

1922 It's booze, jazz and The National Anthem. J. Hartley Manners' work showcases his wife, Laurette Taylor, and Ralph Morgan. This drama will run at the Henry Miller Theatre for 114 performances.



1933 Happy birthday, Chita Rivera — born today in Washington DC, the singer-dancer-actress will star in Can-Can, West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie, Kiss of the Spider Woman and play Velma the original Chicago. In 2005. she'll tell the story of her career on stage in the Broadway bio Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life.

1941 The unlikely combination of Kurt Weill, Ira Gershwin, Gertrude Lawrence and Danny Kaye make a hit out of the musical Lady in the Dark, the psychological profile of a female business executive. It runs 467 performances at the Alvin Theatre.

1943 American drama critic Alexander Woollcott dies in New York today. He served as drama critic for the New York Times, the Herald and the Sun. Woollcott appeared as an actor in Brief Moment by S. N. Behrman and was said to have been the model for the character Sheridan Whiteside in The Man Who Came to Dinner, by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. His books include "Mr. Dickens Goes to the Play," "Enchanted Aisles, and "As You Were". Woollcott was fifty-six years old.

1953 Sylvia Regan's farce, The Fifth Season, exposing New York's garment industry, will run 654 performances at the Cort Theatre. Menasha Skulnik stars.

1958 Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick make their Broadway debut as a team today, with the opening of their musical, The Body Beautiful. It will run just 60 performances, but the team will return with scores to Fiddler on the Roof, Fiorello! and She Loves Me.

1964 Arthur Miller explores his failed marriage with Marilyn Monroe in his drama After the Fall, which opens today at the ANTA Washington Square Theatre, where it runs 208 performances, starring Christopher Plummer and Barbara Loden.

1975 Greg Antonacci sends a group of New York types on a hunt for the Elephant King of memory in his surreal Dance With Me, which transfers to Broadway from Off-Broadway today. It runs 396 performances at the Mayfair Theatre.

1976 Actor-singer Paul Robeson dies today at age 78. He appeared as the lead in Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones and Shakespeare's Othello, and as Joe in Show Boat, among other performances. He was a spokesman for equal rights for all disenfranchised people.

1986 Jerome Kern Goes to Hollywood, a musical revue featuring the music of #Jerome Kern opens tonight at the Ritz Theater and runs only 13 performances. The cast features Elaine Delmar, Liz Robertson, Scott Holmes, and Elisabeth Welch.

1994 Set designer Oliver Smith dies today. Smith designed the sets for On The Town, Brigadoon, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Hello, Dolly!, and The Odd Couple.

2003 Nell Carter, the actress-singer who won a Tony Award for singing Fats Waller tunes in Ain't Misbehavin', dies today at age 54.

2005 Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women becomes a Broadway musical, with a score by Jason Howland, Mindi Dickstein and book by Allan Knee. Sutton Foster stars as Jo, with Maureen McGovern as Marmee.

More of Today's Birthdays: Mary Philips 1901. Arlene Golonka 1939.