PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today in Theatre History: SEPTEMBER 13
By David Gewirtzman
1894 Birthday of British playwright J.B. Priestley (1894-1984), author of plays An Inspector Calls, When We Are Married, Laburnum Grove and A Severed Head.
1903 Birthday of actress Claudette Colbert (1903-1996), who appeared in numerous Broadway plays, including Dynamo and Tin Pan Alley in the 1920s before heading off for a successful Hollywood career, followed by several late-life Broadway appearances including The Kingfisher and Aren't We All?.
1920 The Palace Theater is the host to George Jessel, who stars in a one-hour revue called Troubles of 1920, which opens tonight. It showcases Jessel in a Jewish mother-and-son bit.
1978 On Golden Pond by Ernest Thompson debuts at the Hudson Theatre Guild. It goes on to win many productions and becomes a popular film, featuring father and daughter Henry and Jane Fonda.
1961 Vanessa Redgrave and Derek Godfrey open in The Taming of the Shrew at London's Aldwych Theatre. The production was directed by Maurice Daniels.
1983 Today marks Yul Brynner's 4,000th performance of the title role in The King and I. The production was playing at the Pantages Theater in LA. Brynner also did the film version of the musical.
1988 Andrew Lloyd Webber puts his 17-room Manhattan duplex up for sale. His spokesperson says, "Andrew wants something a bit smaller and quieter, a little more low key."
2000 Collaborative Arts Project 21, Inc., (CAP21), a nonprofit organization in Manhattan, produces the world premiere of The Immigrant, the group's first venture into full stagings. A musical version of the hit regional play by Mark Harelik, the production contains a book by actor-playwright Harelik, music by Steven M. Alper and lyrics by Sarah Knapp. The intimate, four-character show, which recounts the true story of a Russian Jew who comes to the United States in 1909 by way of Galveston, features Evan Pappas, Jacqueline Antaramian, Walter Charles and Cass Morgan.
2001 At the urging of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Broadway shows relight tonight, two days after the World Trade Center disaster. Many Off-Broadway theatres relight as well, though most below 14th Street remain closed because they are inaccessible to audiences. Most shows hold memorials of various kinds before and/or after performances, with many casts leading audiences in singing Irving Berlin's "God Bless America." Also today, Stephen Sondheim announces that a planned Broadway production of his Assassins would be withdrawn in the wake of the attacks. Theatre fans hold candlelight vigils in the Times Square area, and at the Theatre District's firehouse at 48th Street, which lost many of its firefighters.
2009 In a dramatic reversal, producers of the Tony-winning Broadway musical Avenue Q take to the stage of the Golden Theatre on what was to have been the show's closing night to announce that it would take the unusual step of moving Off-Broadway, and reopen at New World Stages. Avenue Q played 2,534 Broadway performances.
2011 The world-premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's 75th play, Neighbourhood Watch, opens at his longtime artistic home, The Stephen Joseph Theatre Company in Scarborough, England. The production will later travel to New York for an Off-Broadway run at 59E59 Theaters.
More of Today's Birthdays: Leland Hayward 1902. Mae Questel 1908. Herbert Berghof 1909. Reta Shaw 1912. Cholly Atkins 1913. Roald Dahl 1916. Yma Sumac 1922. Nell Carter 1948. Jean Smart 1951. Christine Estabrook 1952. David Shiner 1953.
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