PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today in Theatre History: AUGUST 20
By Ernio Hernandez
1884 Actress Julia Sanderson, one of musical theatre's leading ladies during the first decades of the 20th century, is born today as Julia Sackett. Shows in which she starred included The Siren (1911), Rambler Rose (1917), and Oh, Kay! (1928). Although she lived until 1975, Sanderson would leave showbiz hustle and bustle by the 1930's.
1885 Broadway premiere of the hit London operetta The Mikado by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, at the Fifth Avenue Theatre.
1924 Victor Herbert's operetta The Dream Girl opens at the Ambassador Theatre, starring Fay Bainter and George LeMaire. It will run 117 performances.
1934 Playwright Sidney Kingsley has a hit with a stage adaptation of Sinclair Lewis's novel Dodsworth, starring Walter Huston, Fay Bainter and the ever-mysterious Georgette Spelvin.
1956 Future stage and film actress Joan Allen is born today in Rochelle, Illinois. Allen will have several great successes on the Broadway stage, winning the Tony Award for her performance in Burn This and another nomination for her performance of the title role in Wendy Wasserstein's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Heidi Chronicles. In filmdom, Allen will receive Academy Award nominations as best supporting actress for 1995's "Nixon" and 1996's "The Crucible." Other film credits include "Searching for Bobby Fisher," "Face/Off," and "Peggy Sue Got Married."
1987 Frank Langella and Donal Donnelly star as Holmes and Watson in Charles Marowitz's Sherlock's Last Case, which begins a 124-performance run on Broadway today.
1998 Returning to Off-Broadway, where she originated the role of Li'l Bit in Paula Vogel's How I Learned To Drive in 1997, film and stage actress Mary-Louise Parker stars in Alan Ayckbourn's Communicating Doors. The comedy thriller opens tonight at OB's Variety Arts Theatre. The actress will go on to originate the role of Catherine in the David Auburn's Proof at Manhattan Theatre Club and win the Tony Award for Best Actress when it transfers to Broadway.
2001 The box office opens officially at the Winter Garden Theatre for Mamma Mia!, but it's just a formality. Internet and telephone advance sales have already sold-out the middle orchestra seats until February 2002.
2004 Angels in America star Kathleen Chalfant heads the Off-Broadway cast of the London stage show Guantánamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom. The documentary drama is based on testimony of British prisoners detained by American forces at the Guantanamo military base under suspicion of terrorist activities.
More of Today's Birthdays: Jacqueline Susann 1918. Andrew Garfield 1983.
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