PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: MARCH 11

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and Anne Bradley, Ernio Hernandez and Robert Viagas
11 Mar 2014

1930 Edward Franklin Albee, vaudeville producer and theatre owner, dies today in Palm Beach, Florida. He joined B.F. Keith in the presentation of variety shows and by 1920 had a vaudeville circuit with nearly 70 houses.



1954 The Golden Apple is the musical retelling, by John LaTouche, of the Judgement of Paris myth. It begins performances Off-Broadway at the Phoenix Theatre and, after winning a Drama Critics' Circle Award, moves to Broadway's Alvin Theatre for 125 performances. Kaye Ballard and Jonathan Lucas lead the cast. The score is provided by Jerome Moross.

1959 Lorraine Hansberry's drama A Raisin in the Sun stars Sidney Poitier and Claudia McNeil. Exploring the intricacies of an African American family, this story is awarded the Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best American Play. Lloyd Richards directs the 530 performances, first at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, and then at Belasco Theatre.

1992 David Carroll, while recording the cast album for Grand Hotel, collapses and dies minutes later. The actor who had been weakening due to AIDS was once nominated for a Tony for his role in Chess. His other Broadway credits included Rodgers & Hart, Where's Charley?, Oh, Brother!, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Wind in the Willows.

1999 The Lion in Winter is revived by the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York. Stockard Channing and Laurence Fishburne portray Eleanor of Aquitane and King Henry II in this James Goldman historical drama. Michael Mayer stages.

2001 A Class Act, a musical tracing the life of brilliant, tortured lyricist/composer Ed Kleban, has what Kleban himself was never able to have with a show after his A Chorus Line — an opening night on Broadway.

2002 Manhattan Theatre Club hosts a reading of Sex and the City-State, a musical based on the Greek classic, Lysistrata, with book by Larry Gelbart, music by Alan Menken and lyrics by David Zippel, after it was banned at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA. ART artistic director Robert Brustein told The Boston Globe that he pulled the plug because the script was "ferociously obscene — much more than Aristophanes."

2003 A four-day strike by Broadway pit musicians, which was supported by actors and stage hands, ends early this morning after an all-night bargaining session. Minimum numbers of musicians required at some theatres are reduced slightly.

2005 Actress Christina Applegate stumbles during the Chicago tryout of her Sweet Charity revival and breaks her foot. Producers will close the show, but at Applegate's insistence that the show must go on, reopen it with understudy Charlotte d'Amboise in the title role. Applegate will undergo weeks of intensive therapy and miraculously return to the production in time for its May 4 Broadway opening.

2010 Next Fall, Geoffrey Nauffts' romantic comedy-drama that explores questions of love, sexuality, religion, family and tolerance, opens at Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre. Sheryl Kaller directs the play, which first surfaced Off-Broadway in summer 2009, produced by Naked Angels Theater Company.

2011 Emmy-winning comedienne Kathy Griffin makes her Broadway debut in Kathy Griffin Wants a Tony at the Belasco Theatre. The solo show marks the first time the Tony Awards have been mentioned by name in the title of a Broadway show.

2011 Hugh Martin, the songwriter who enlivened the Judy Garland movie musical "Meet Me in St. Louis" with an indelibly melodic trio of evergreen songs — "The Trolley Song," "The Boy Next Door" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" — dies at age 96. A talented lyricist as well as a composer, Mr. Martin wrote the scores for several Broadway musicals, including Best Foot Forward (1941); Look, Ma, I'm Dancin'! (1948); Make a Wish (1951); and High Spirits (1964).

Today's Birthdays: Dorothy Gish 1898. Vinnette Carroll 1922. Albert Salmi 1928. Stephen Bogardus 1954. John Barrowman 1967.