Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 19

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 19
A scene from <i>The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas</i>.
A scene from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

1965 Actor Sydney Chaplin leaves the Broadway production of Funny Girl after settling with the producers. Despite rumors that Chaplin left the show because of some friction between himself and co-star Barbra Streisand, the official reason given for his early departure is that Chaplin has had disagreements with the show's producer, Ray Stark.

1966 Stage and film actor Ed Wynn dies at age 80. After starting out with a career in vaudeville on the Keith-Albee-Orpheum circuit, Wynn became a staple on Broadway (Simple Simon, The Laugh Parade) and in Hollywood (Mary Poppins, among many other Disney films). Wynn also received much acclaim for his performance in the film version of The Diary of Anne Frank.

1978 Carol Hall's The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, starring Carlin Glynn, opens on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre. The musical directed by Peter Masterson and Tommy Tune garners seven Tony nominations and wins two, for Glynn and co-star Henderson Forsythe.

1987 Robert Harling's smalltown drama Steel Magnolias transfers from Off-Broadway's WPA Theatre to Off-Broadway's Lucille Lortel Theatre where it plays 817 performances. The play features Kate Wilkinson under the direction of Pamela Berlin.

1997 Though Cats opened to mixed reviews on October 7, 1982 and its slogan, "Now and Forever," seemed a bit presumptuous, the show officially becomes the longest-running musical in Broadway history when it plays its record-breaking 6,138th performance. The record is later surpassed by another Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, The Phantom of the Opera, in 2006.

2002 A.R. Rahman and Don Black's Bombay Dreams, a musical about a love story set in India, opens at London's Apollo Victoria. The producer is Andrew Lloyd Webber. It opens on Broadway in 2004.

2013 The Off-Broadway premiere of Tennessee Williams' rarely-seen The Two-Character Play opens at New World Stages. Amanda Plummer and Brad Dourif star as two actors on tour who find themselves deserted by their troupe.

2014 Holler If Ya Hear Me, a non-biographical musical inspired by the music and lyrics of Tupac Shakur, opens on Broadway at the Palace Theatre. Directed by Kenny Leon, the cast includes Saul Williams, Christopher Jackson, Saycon Sengbloh, John Earl Jelks, and Tonya Pinkins. It closes a month later, after 38 performances.

Today's Birthdays Dame May Whitty 1865. Moe Howard 1897. Mildred Natwick 1905. Eddie Bartell 1907. Martin Gabel 1912. Louis Jourdan 1919. Nancy Marchand 1928. Gena Rowlands 1930. Maria Tucci 1941. Phylicia Rashad 1948. Kathleen Turner 1954. Lauren Ward 1970.

Watch highlights from the 2014 musical Holler If Ya Hear Me:

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