PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: MARCH 20
By David Gewirtzman
1828 Birth of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), who will revolutionize world theatre with his realistic dramas A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, Ghosts, Rosmersholm and Peer Gynt.
1908 British actor Michael Redgrave is born today. He will grow to play opposite the likes of Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud. His wife is actress Rachel Kempson and their children are Vanessa Redgrave, Corin Redgrave and Lynn Redgrave. Natasha Richardson is their granddaughter.
1911 The Winter Garden, a 1,600 seat Shubert theatre, opens with La Belle Paree. Al Jolson is in the cast.
1924 It's a Leap Year at London's Hippodrome. George Robey heads the cast of this revue that will run 471 performances. Laurie Wylie provides the book for Clifford Harris's score.
1936 Long before Cats, T.S. Eliot gets music by Lehman Engel for his religious drama, Murder in the Cathedral. It runs 38 performances at the Manhattan Theatre.
1945 Go ahead and Kiss Them for Me. Luther Davis bases his comedy on Frederic Wakeman's Shore Leave. Judy Holliday, Richard Widmark, and Paul Ford are in the cast at the Belasco Theatre. There will be 110 performances.
1988 David Henry Hwang's gender-bending drama, M. Butterfly, opens at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on Broadway. John Lithgow and B.D. Wong star as the diplomat and his lover in the work, which wins the Best Play Tony Award.
1997 Shakespeare meets Ellington in the musical Play On!, which updates William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night to 1940s Harlem with a score of Duke Ellington standards. The Sheldon Epps conception opens at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre with stars Andre De Shields and Tonya Pinkins.
2011 Priscilla Queen of the Desert — a musical basedon the Academy Award-winning film "The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert" — opens on Broadway at the Palace Theatre. Tony Sheldon, Will Swenson and Nick Adams star as a trio of friends travelling through the Australian outback aboard a pink bus.
2012 Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton star in a revival of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd at the West End's Adelphi Theatre. Directed by Jonathan Kent, the production was originally seen at the Chichester Festival Theatre in October 2011.
More of Today's Birthdays: Carl Reiner 1922. Ray Goulding 1922. Hal Linden 1931. Ted Bessell 1935. Chip Zien 1947. William Hurt 1950. Holly Hunter 1958.
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