PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today in Theatre History: OCTOBER 12

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and Robert Viagas, Sam Maher and Ernio Hernandez
12 Oct 2013

1914 Broadway premiere of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, with Mrs. Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle. The drama will serve as the basis of the 1956 musical My Fair Lady.



1925 Opening night for the drama Craig's Wife, starring Josephine Hull, which will win the 1926 Pulitzer Prize for drama.

1935 Cole Porter and Moss Hart join forces for the musical Jubilee, about British royalty. It runs 169 performances at the Imperial Theatre, with Mary Boland and Margaret Adams.

1950 The Irving Berlin musical Call Me Madam opens tonight at the Imperial Theatre. With Ethel Merman being the primary basis for pushing this show (which, maybe having something to do with her, had huge advance sales), Walter Winchell announced that "They ought to call it 'Call Me Merman'!" The show's story is suggested by the appointment of Washington hostess Perle Mesta as Ambassadress to Luxembourg. Merman's co-stars for this production included Paul Lukas, Alan Hewitt, Russell Nype, and Galina Talva. The show ran for 644 performances.

1964 James Earl Jones is once again in the spotlight tonight playing the title character in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of Othello. The show is at the Martinique Theatre, where it will rack up 224 performances.

1965 Brilliant and tortured British farceur Joe Orton makes his Broadway debut today with Entertaining Mr. Sloane at the Lyceum Theatre.

1968 Birthday of Hugh Jackman, who would star in Oklahoma! in London, "X-Men" in Hollywood and The Boy From Oz on Broadway.

1971 "What's the buzz?/Tell me what's happening" is heard for the first time on Broadway tonight, as all the buzz is focused on fairly unknown Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar. The show, based on the platinum-selling album, opens tonight at the Mark Hellinger Theatre for what would be a very successful run of over 700 performances. Tonight's stars for this original Broadway production include Ben Vereen, Jeff Fenholt and Yvonne Elliman. The show got mixed reviews, but it's proved a perennial both in New York and on the road.

1995 The one-diva show, Patti LuPone on Broadway, opens tonight at the Walter Kerr. John McDaniel, later known for musical direction on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," was in charge of musical arrangement for this production. The show will run 45 performances.

1999 A woman struggles to gain back her memory amidst a bizarre group of friends, enemies and family in David Lindsay-Abaire's Fuddy Meers, which begins today at Manhattan Theatre Club's Stage II. J. Smith-Cameron stars in the world-premiere comedy, directed by David Petrarca, with an original musical score by Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown.

2000 Christopher Shinn, the 25-year-old American playwright whose works have seen the stage in England, sees the U.S. premiere of his play, Other People, at Playwrights Horizons' Studio Theater. Tim Farrell directs the play, which is set in Manhattan's East Village during the winter holidays. In the piece, roommates rethink their views on art, money and sex.

2001 Kristen Johnston, Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Tilly and Rue McClanahan are among stars opening today in Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway revival of The Women.

2010 The Broadway premiere of David Mamet's 1977 comedic drama A Life in the Theatre, which explores the lives of two acting colleagues — one at the beginning of his career and one near the end — opens at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight co-star.

More of Today's Birthdays: Helena Modjeska 1840. Lyn Harding 1876. Alice Childress 1916. Sally Murphy 1962.