PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: MAY 18
By David Gewirtzman
1923 Sweet Nell of Old Drury runs beyond the season at the 48th Street Theatre in New York. Alfred Lunt stars as Charles II and Laurette Taylor as his mistress Nell Gwynne. Lynn Fontanne and Howard Lindsay are in the cast. J. Hartley Manners stages.
1926 Among The Great Temptations are Jack Benny, Hazel Dawn, and Billy Van. This revue of comic monologues and show parodies will run at the Winter Garden in New York for six months.
1929 American actress Mary Shaw died today in New York City. She played supporting roles to Helena Modjeska, Julia Marlowe, and Mrs. Fiske. She was 75 years old.
1970 The Me Nobody Knows, based Stephen M. Joseph's book of the writings of inner-city children, is adapted and staged by Robert H. Livingston. Will Holt and Gary William Friedman provide the songs. It will move to the Helen Hayes Theatre on December 18; the combined run will be 586 performances
1981 Caryl Churchill's gender-bending race-reversal play, Cloud 9, opens at the Theatre de Lys Off-Broadway. Jeffrey Jones and Concetta Tomei star in the production under the direction of Tommy Tune.
1997 The world premiere of Alan Menken and Tim Rice's King David opens at the newly restored New Amsterdam Theatre. Featuring a chorus of 40 and an orchestra of 60, the production stars Roger Bart, Stephen Bogardus, Judy Kuhn, Alice Ripley and Marcus Lovett.
2000 The Laramie Project, based on research and on-site interviews by Moisés Kaufman's Tectonic Theater Project that focus on the aftermath of the 1998 beating death of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, WY, opens at the Union Square Theatre Off-Broadway. The play will run 126 performance and 23 previews before closing Sept. 2.
2003 Les MisÚrables passes into the history books when the French-written, British-refined musical plays its 6,680th and final Broadway performance after 16 years. It was, for a time, the second-longest running show in Broadway history.
2004 Actor and producer Tony Randall dies today at age 84. He starred in string of 1950s Doris Day films and the 1970s TV sitcom, "The Odd Couple," as well as the Broadway musical, Oh Captain!. Late in life he realized a dream by founding the National Actors Theatre, which presented revivals of classic comedies and dramas, some of them starring Randall.
2011 Randall L. Wreghitt, a theatrical producer known for bringing innovative dramatic work to Broadway and Off-Broadway stages, dies at age 55. His Broadway productions included Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Lonesome West and The Lieutenant of Inishmore; Mary Zimmerman's adaptation of Metamorphoses; and the musical Grey Gardens.
Today's Birthdays: Meredith Willson 1902. Priscilla Pointer 1924. Robert Morse 1931. Miriam Margolyes 1941. Rob Bartlett 1957.
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