PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today in Theatre History: SEPTEMBER 16

By Ernio Hernandez
and Robert Viagas and Sam Maher
September 16, 2013

1892 Songwriter and producer Earl Carroll (1892-1948) is born today. His best-remembered contribution to the theatre was the eponymous revue The Earl Carroll Vanities, which had nine editions between 1923 and 1940, and a murder mystery set at his own show, Murder at the Vanities.



1924 Birthday of sultry actress Lauren Bacall, who enjoyed a long career in Hollywood before turning increasingly to theatre starting in the 1960s. Among her starring assignments: Cactus Flower, Waiting in the Wings, Applause and Woman of the Year. She won Tony Awards as Best Actress in a Musical for her performances in the latter two shows.

1925 No, No, Nanette opens tonight at the Globe. Louise Groody stars as the headstrong young woman who meets a rakish bible salesman, played by Charles Winninger. Two well-known musical theatre songs that come from this show are "Tea for Two" and "I Want to Be Happy."

1926 A detective story titled Broadway opens a 600-performance run today. It's co-written and co-directed by future Broadway legend George Abbott — his first big hit in those two capacities.

1940 The Little Foxes is being performed in Hershey, PA tonight with Tallulah Bankhead. Even though she attended her father's funeral this morning in Washington, DC, where he was the Speaker of the House, she went on.

1948 The road show of A Streetcar Named Desire is in Pittsburgh tonight at the Nixon Theatre. During mid-scene, the play comes to a screeching halt as a false cry of "fire" is heard. Uta Hagen, the now legendary actress who was playing Blanche DuBois, got laughs at an intended serious moment during a later scene when her character yells "fire, fire."

1983 Tonight is the final straw for the producers of The Corn Is Green on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne. Its star, Cicely Tyson, revered actress of stage and screen, is fired. She had missed the September 8 performance to accompany famed husband Miles Davis on a trip without telling the producers in advance. Not only that, she has allegedly refused to take direction since the play opened on August 22. The show will close in less than two days.

1997 Writer/actor John Leguizamo, whose previous one-man shows include Spic O-Rama and Mambo Mouth, opens his latest work Freak at Off-Broadway's Atlantic Theatre. The show in-progress previously played Chicago's Goodman Theatre, San Francisco's Theatre on the Square and OOB's Performance Space 122. It will reach Broadway later in the season (Feb. 12, 1998) and play 144 performances.

2003 Hugh Jackman gets some of the best reviews of the season for his performance in the title role of the Peter Allen musical bio The Boy From Oz, which opens a yearlong run today. Jackman will go on to win the 2004 Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical.

More of Today's Birthdays: Sam Spewack 1899. Janis Paige 1922. Peter Falk 1927. David Copperfield 1956. Jennifer Tilly 1958. Marc Anthony 1969.