PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: APRIL 26
By David Gewirtzman
1926 Sex. It's a comedy. Mae West plays a Canadian woman with no time for those mountees; it's the British navy for her. It runs through one season, but the following it is raided as immoral. The cast is arrested and West, who also co-produced, is sentenced to 10 days in jail and is fined $500. A well-received off-off-Broadway revival in 2000 proved that the show still had laughs and a unique social point of view.
1967 Betty Comden and Adolph Green supply the lyrics to Jule Styne's music for Hallelujah, Baby!. Leslie Uggams plays a woman who never grows old. Arthur Laurents penned the book. Burt Shevelove stages the 293 performances.
1970 There's a book by George Furth, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Harold Prince helming, Michael Bennett on hand to choreograph, and Elaine Stritch in the lead; who wouldn't want to be in that Company? There will be 705 performances at Broadway's Alvin Theatre.
1970 Actress and author Gypsy Rose Lee, 56, died today in Los Angeles. She was immortalized along with her mother and sister, actress June Havoc, in the musical #Gypsy. Arthur Laurents based the book for that musical on her memoir.
1992 The music and life of jazz legend Jelly Roll Morton comes to life on stage as Jelly's Last Jam opens at Broadway's Virginia Theatre. Savion Glover and Gregory Hines share the title role at different ages. George C. Wolfe directs the production he wrote the book for.
1995 Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Richard Greenberg's Night and Her Stars opens Off-Broadway at the American Place Theatre. David Warren directs a cast that includes Patrick Breen, Keith Charles, Peter Frechette and John Slattery. The show follows the scandals of the late 1950s quiz show scandal.
2001 Ken Ludwig and Don Schlitz present their Broadway musical The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, based on the Mark Twain novel. Unlike the Tony-winning "Huckleberry Finn"-based Big River, this new musical is treated by critics like a dead cat on a string, and lasts less than two weeks.
2003 Peter Stone, the Tony Award-winning librettist who wrote the books of the Broadway musicals Titanic, My One and Only, Sugar, The Will Rogers Follies and 1776, dies at a Manhattan hospital.
2004 Bling-flashing rapper Sean "P. Diddy" Combs makes his Broadway debut in a revival of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun. He plays Walter Lee Younger, the role originated by Sidney Poitier in the 1959 Broadway original. His co-stars are Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald, both of whom win Tony Awards in their roles.
2009 Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway production of Christopher Hampton's 1970 comedy, The Philanthropist, directed by Tony Award nominee David Grindley and starring Tony winner Matthew Broderick, opens at the American Airlines Theatre.
2010 The first Broadway revival of Fences, the 1987 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play by August Wilson, officially opens at the Cort Theatre. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis both win Tony Awards for their performances in the drama about a former Negro League baseball player who now struggles as a garbage man.
2012 Roundabout Theatre Company opens a revival of Marc Camoletti's 1960-set sex farce Don't Dress for Dinner — a sort of sequel to Boeing-Boeing, featuring the same randy male characters, Robert and Bernard — at Broadway's American Airlines Theatre. Ben Daniels, Patricia Kalember, David Aron Damane, Adam James, Jennifer Tilly and Spencer Kayden star under John Tillinger's direction.
2012 Leap of Faith — a musical based on the 1992 film about a con-man preacher who blows into a depressed, drought-plagued Kansas town — opens on Broadway at the St. James Theatre. Featuring a gospel and country score by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, the production stars Raúl Esparza as preacher Jonas Nightingale. Despite receiving a Tony nomination for Best Musical, poor ticket sales force the show to close after only 19 performances.
Today's Birthdays: Anita Loos 1888. Bambi Linn 1926. Carol Burnett 1933. Eugene Fleming 1961.
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