PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: JANUARY 6
06 Jan 2015
1768 Birthday of John Durang (1768-1816), identified by scholars as one of the first American-born professional dancers and actors. Known for his "Dwarf Dance," "Sailor's Hornpipe" and circus appearances, as well as acting roles in Philadelphia (then the American theatre capital), New York and on tour throughout the early United States. Also a puppeteer, clown, singer and rope-dancer. A distant ancestor of author and performer Christopher Durang.
1902The Toreador is actually a discharged servant who tries bullfighting, mixing with a mad anarchist's bomb plot, and singing too! This musical will be in the arena of Knickerbocker Theatre for 146 performances. Music is provided by Ivan Caryll and Lionel Monckton; Francis Wilson is the man behind the cape.
1937Walter Huston stars in Othello at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York. Director Robert Edmond Jones had designed this production for the Opera House in Central City, Colorado before overseeing its odyssey East.
1950Burgess Meredith stars in the opening night of the musical fantasy Happy as Larry, which had been a major hit in London but suffers a three-performance flop on Broadway.
1980Kate Nelligan stars as a former member of the French resistance who searches for meaning in her postwar life in David Hare's drama, Plenty, which opens tonight on Broadway, and runs 92 performances at the Plymouth Theatre.
1990Michael Shawn, choreographer for Legs Diamond, is awarded a $175,000 settlement from the Nederlanders today. Shawn claimed he was fired because he tested positive for the AIDS virus.
2005Richard Foreman, the respected downtown Manhattan theatre auteur, unveil his latest cerebral vaudeville, The Gods Are Pounding My Head (Lumberjack Messiahs) at the Off-Off-Broadway Ontological Theatre. The theatre says it's to be the last in a series that goes back to the 1960s.
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.