PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today in Theatre History: JUNE 20

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and Ernio Hernandez and Robert Viagas
20 Jun 2014

1905 Birthday of playwright Lillian Hellman (1905-1984), who will go on to write The Children's Hour, The Little Foxes, Another Part of the Forest, Watch on the Rhine and the book to Candide.



1906 See-see, described by its authors as a "comic Chinese opera," opens at the Prince of Wales's Theatre in London. The musical boasts a book by Charles Brookfield and a score by Sidney Jones and Adrian Ross. Denise Osme performs the title role. See-see will run 152 performances.

1910 In a strike against racial prejudice, Florenz Ziegfeld opens the Ziegfeld Follies of 1910, with actor Bert Williams as co-star, marking the first time white and black entertainers have appeared on stage together in a major Broadway production.

1929 The musical revue Hot Chocolates opens a 219-performance run today at the Hudson Theatre, featuring some of the great stars of Harlem nightclubs, including the Broadway debut of Louis Armstrong, and a score by Fats Waller, Harry Brooks and Andy Razaf.

1984 The first Broadway revival of Noël Coward's Design for Living opens at the Circle in the Square Theatre for a run of 245 performances. Directed by George C. Scott, the production stars Jill Clayburgh, Raul Julia and Frank Langella.

1989 A musical version of Death of a Salesman? That's what the Jewish boy in The Loman Family Picnic dreams of writing while his family stresses about his bar mitzvah. The play by Donald Margulies opens at the Manhattan Theatre Club's City Center Stage 2.

2000 Composer-lyricist-librettist Kirsten Childs' musical about Viceca "Bubbly" Stanton, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin gets its world premiere at Playwrights Horizons. Wilfredo Medina directs and A.C. Ciulla choreographs the musical memoir starring LaChanze.

2003 Bounce, the first musical collaboration between composer Stephen Sondheim and director Hal Prince in more than two decades, opens a tryout in Chicago. It will move on to Washington DC and play out a limited run without moving to New York. In 2008, John Doyle will direct a revised version of the musical at Off-Broadway's Public Theater under the title Road Show.

2004 Tony-winning musical Thoroughly Modern Millie closes after a run of 32 previews and 904 regular performances at the Marquis Theatre.

2012 York Theatre Company presents the first New York City revival of the 1989 Off-Broadway revue Closer Than Ever — featuring the lyrics of Richard Maltby, Jr. and the music of David Shire — at The York Theatre at Saint Peter's. Directed by Maltby, the production stars Jenn Colella, George Dvorsky, Christiane Noll and Sal Viviano. Originally announced for a limited run through July 14, the critically acclaimed production will extend three times and close in November after 150 performances.

More of Today's Birthdays Ellis Rabb 1930. Olympia Dukakis 1931. Danny Aiello 1933. John Mahoney 1940. John Goodman 1952. Chuck Wagner 1958.