PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: MAY 29
By Anne Bradley
1951 Performer Fanny Brice dies today in Hollywood at age 60. She started in showbiz by winning a series of amateur nights at vaudeville theatres in Brooklyn, then graduated to Burlesque as a Yiddish dialect comedienne. She was the first female comic hired by Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. for his legendary Follies series. She made her debut in 1910 and became one of the Follies's signature acts. She made her first film in 1928, but did not pursue a movie career. She created the character Baby Snooks on stage, but it later became the centerpiece of her long-runnig radio show. Her life was immortalized in the Broadway musical, Funny Girl, starring Barbra Streisand.
1959 Comedian-singer Max Bygraves spends 328 performances Swinging Down the Lane at London's Palladium Theatre.
1998 Kevin Knight, who directed the London premiere of Birdy, brings the American premiere to Philadelphia Theatre Company. Naomi Wallace's adaptation of William Wharton's novel is set in Philadelphia, just after World War II and examines the friendship between the sensitive, bird-obsessed Birdy and body building-obsessed Al and their struggle with identity.
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