PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: SEPTEMBER 7

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and Ernio Hernandez, Daniel Fischer and Robert Viagas
07 Sep 2014

1909 Director Elia Kazan is born. Kazan would go on to direct the award-winning plays Death of a Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire. His success reached to the silver screen as well. He won three Academy Awards, including an honorary Oscar in 1999.

1921 The first stage adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel Tarzan of the Apes is a hit at the Broadhurst Theatre, adapted by namesake George Broadhurst himself and starring Ronald Adair as Tarzan, Alfred Arno as Kerchak and Ethel Dwyer as Jane Porter.

1946 Director Jerry Zaks is born. Specializing in comedies and musicals, Zaks would go on to direct such shows as the Nathan Lane revival of Guys and Dolls in 1992, and the long-running revue Smokey Joe's Cafe.

1947 Brooks Atkinson defends Arthur Miller in The New York Times, arguing that Miller’s All My Sons is not Communistic and calling the playwright “a young man of genuine talent for the stage.”

1949 Mae West stars in a hit revival of her own play, Diamond Lil, for a 182-performance run at the Plymouth Theatre.



1999 Epic Proportions, a zany new comedy by Larry Coen and David Crane, begins tonight at Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre. The show about the filming of an epic motion features Tony Award-winner Kristin Chenoweth and a number of other actors known for their comedic work: Alan Tudyk, Ruth Williamson, Ross Lehman and Richard B. Shull, who passed away during the show's brief run. Jerry Zaks directs.

2000 Though Off-Broadway's Forbidden Broadway revue changes its repertoire regularly to keep current with theatre trends, creator/director Gerard Alessandrini occasionally gives the show a complete overhaul to acknowledge how much new material has been added. That time is now as the previous installment, Forbidden Broadway Cleans Up Its Act!, becomes Forbidden Broadway 2001: A Spoof Odyssey. The revue now parodies such new Broadway entries as Aida, Swing!, The Music Man and Seussical.

2001 Performances begin for the Off-Broadway musical The Spitfire Grill at The Duke on 42nd. Starring Liz Callaway, Garrett Long and Phyllis Somerville, the show by James Valcq and Fred Alley previously won the 2001 Richard Rodgers Production Award.

2006 Robert Earl Jones, 96, the Broadway, Off-Broadway and film actor whose son is actor James Earl Jones, dies at the Lillian Booth Actors' Home in New Jersey.

2008 Rent ends its 12-year run at the Nederlander Theatre. The Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony Award-winning rock musical by the late lyricist-librettist-composer Jonathan Larson played 5,123 performances and 16 previews.

More of Today's Birthdays Ted Chapin 1950. Michael Feinstein 1956.