Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 3

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 3
Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera in Chicago.
Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera in Chicago. Martha Swope / The New York Public Library

1866 Birthday of playwright and producer George Broadhurst, responsible for dozens of plays and musicals, including the first stage adaptation of Tarzan of the Apes. Also, namesake of the Broadhurst Theatre.

1931 Jump on the The Band Wagon at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre. Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz provide lyrics and music with dancing turns by Fred and Adele Astaire and Tilly Losch. It rolls on for 260 performances.

1942 The Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical that had the longest run in its original production (427 performances) is the nearly forgotten By Jupiter, starring Ray Bolger, Benay Venuta, and Vera-Ellen.

1947 William Inge's first play, Farther Off from Heaven, opens as the first production at the Margo Jones Theatre in Dallas, Texas. Inge later rewrites the play as The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.

1971 No Sex Please - We're British begins performances at London's Strand Theatre. Anthony Marriott and Alistair Foot penned the farce about a family man mistakenly inundated with pornography. It stays for years in the West End, but enjoys only a brief Broadway run.

1975 The Fred Ebb-John Kander musical Chicago opens on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre. Director-choreographer Bob Fosse brings to life the story of a chorus girl who gets away with murder, literally. The cast features Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera, and Jerry Orbach. It runs just two years in its original production, but a 1996 revival has been running on Broadway for more than 20 years.

1981 Al Pacino stars in a revival of David Mamet's American Buffalo at Off-Broadway's Circle in the Square Downtown. The production is directed by Arvin Brown and also stars Clifton James and Thomas G. Waites.

2001 Mel Brooks' musical The Producers, based on his own film parody of Broadway, wins a record 12 Tony Awards, sweeping every category in which it was nominated.

2010 Rue McClanahan, who gained fame as the star of two long-running sitcoms, Maude and The Golden Girls, dies at age 76. Her Broadway credits included The Best Laid Plans, Jimmy Shine, Father's Day, Sticks and Bones, California Suite, The Women, and Wicked.

2012 Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience – A Parody by Dan and Jeff, Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner's Olivier-nominated show that presents all seven Harry Potter books in 70 minutes, opens in a limited engagement at Off-Broadway's Little Shubert Theatre. The popular production returns to the Little Shubert for a second limited engagement in summer 2013.

2014 Jim Dale returns to the New York stage in his one-man show Just Jim Dale, opening Off-Broadway at the Roundabout Theatre Company's Laura Pels Theatre. In the show, Dale recounts his lifetime in the theatre, from a childhood on the British Music Hall stage to starring in Scapino, Barnum, and Me and My Girl on Broadway.

Today's Birthdays: Maurice Evans 1901. Paulette Goddard 1910. William Douglas Home 1912. Dorothy Kilgallen 1913. Leo Gorcey 1917. Lili St. Cyr 1918. Colleen Dewhurst 1924. Barbara Walsh 1955. Jeff Blumenkrantz 1965. Nikki M. James 1981.

Watch highlights from the long-running Broadway revival of Chicago:

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