23 May 2015
1904The Southerners, with a score by black composer Will Marion Cook, is the first time an entire black chorus is used in a show with a white cast. Lead Eddie Leonard appears in blackface in this musical about the antebellum South. The New York Times is more impressed by the fact the white members of the cast "mingled" with the black performers and that only some audience members trembled in their seats during the curtain call, than the production itself.
1921 "I'm Just Wild About Harry" is just one of the Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle songs in Shuffle Along at the 63rd Street Music Hall in New York. Blake is at the piano for the 504 performances.
1932Lady Augusta Gregory dies today in Galway, Ireland. She was an ardent supporter of the Irish Dramatic Movement and wrote several plays for the Abbey Theatre, which she helped found. She co-authored with W. B. Yeats, The Pot of Broth and Cathleen ni Houlihan. Her translation of Moliere's plays is titled The Kiltartan Moliere. She was 80 years old.
1946 A father tries to clear his son's name in Terrence Rattigan's The Winslow Boy. There will be 476 performances at London's Lyric Theatre. David Mamet would film a new version of the drama in 1999.
2001 Talent lives on: Five years after Rent composer Jonathan Larson died, his obscure early 1990s musical tick...tick...BOOM! gets a major Off-Broadway revival, with previews starting on this day. It is later recorded and embarks on a national tour.
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.