PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: MAY 4
By David Gewirtzman
1859 Birthday of A.L. Erlanger (1859-1930), who, as half of the team of Klaw and Erlanger, produced dozens of Broadway shows during the first three decades of the 20th century, including Dracula, Peg o' My Heart and The Jazz Singer.
1891 Opening night of the musical extravaganza Wang, starring DeWolf Hopper.
1943 Geraldine Fitzgerald, Gregory Peck, Stella Adler and Karl Malden are cast members in Sons and Soldiers. Irwin Shaw's drama about a woman told she might die if she has children is staged by Max Reinhardt. It will run for 22 performances at Broadway's Morosco Theatre.
1976 It will be a short visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Alan Jay Lerner's musical about former presidents and their wives lasts just seven performances. Leonard Bernstein composes the score.
1976 Side by Side by Sondheim is exactly that in this revue filled with songs by Stephen Sondheim. Ned Sherrin (who also stages), Millicent Martin, Julia McKenzie and David Kernan make up the cast at London's Mermaid Theatre. It will later move to Wyndham's Theatre for 781 performances.
1982 Playwright-director Athol Fugard's "Master Harold"...and the Boys opens on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre. The play involves a white South African boy and his two black servants and stars Lonny Price, Zakes Mokae and Danny Glover.
1993 Tony Kushner's Angels in America: Millennium Approaches opens at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway. This first half of Kushner's soon-to-be Pulitzer and Tony Award-winner stars Ron Leibman, Joe Mantello, Marcia Gay Harden, Stephen Spinella and Kathleen Chalfant.
1999 Having begun March 12, 1987, the Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg musical Les MisÚrables reaches its 5,000th performance tonight. As of March 1999, nearly 400 shows had closed on Broadway since Les MisÚrables opened, and the on-stage turntable had made a dizzying 159,744 revolutions. The show will close in spring 2003.
2003 Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke star in the "PBS Hollywood Presents" TV version of D.L. Coburn's Pulitzer-winning drama The Gin Game.
2005 Christina Applegate dances the title role of Sweet Charity on opening night, just weeks after breaking her ankle in a fall during the show's out-of-town tryout.
2008 The Broadway transfer of the hit revival of Boeing-Boeing, Marc Camoletti's sex farce about a swinging bachelor and his three stewardess girlfriends, opens at the Longacre Theatre. It stars Mark Rylance, Bradley Whitford, Christine Baranski and Gina Gershon, and is directed by Matthew Warchus. Rylance will win the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play, and the production will win for Best Revival of a Play.
2008 Costume designer Alvin Colt dies at age 92. Colt designed costumes for more than 50 Broadway productions, and won a Tony Award for the 1955 Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II musical Pipe Dream.
2011 The Donmar Warehouse production of King Lear, starring Olivier Award winner Derek Jacobi in the title role, opens at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Michael Grandage directs the William Shakespeare tragedy's month-long run.
2011 Sada Thompson, a Tony-winning actress of stage and film known for her way with maternal and earthy characters, dies at age 83. Routinely described as one of her generation's finest actors, her breakout performance was in the original 1970 production of Paul Zindel's The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, and she won her Tony Award for her performance in Twigs.
More of Today's Birthdays: Shelton Brooks 1886. Luther Adler 1903. Howard Da Silva 1909. Audrey Hepburn 1929. Ana Gasteyer 1967.
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