Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 19

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 19
The Producers, starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, opens on Broadway in 2001.
Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Gary Beach and company in The Producers.
Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Gary Beach and company in The Producers. Paul Kolnik

1945 Broadway audiences hear "If I Loved Loved You," "June Is Bustin' Out All Over," and "You'll Never Walk Alone" for the first time when Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's musical Carousel opens at the Majestic Theatre. John Raitt and Jan Clayton star, Rouben Mamoulian directs, and Agnes de Mille choreographs. It runs 890 performances.

1946 Actor Tim Curry is born in Cheshire, England. He creates memorable Broadway roles including Frank N. Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, Mozart in Amadeus, Dada artist Tristan Tzara in Travesties, and King Arthur in Monty Python's Spamalot, and appears, usually as the villain, in more than one hundred films and cartoons.

1951 Edith Evans, Sybil Thorndike, and Wendy Hiller are residents at a country hotel in N. C. Hunter's Waters of the Moon. They won't be checking out till they register 835 performances at London's Haymarket. Frith Banbury stages.

1955 Leonard Bernstein's short opera Trouble in Tahiti, dance routines by Paul Draper, and a staging of Tennessee Williams' 27 Wagons Full of Cotton are All in One. Maureen Stapleton and Myron McCormick appear in the Williams play. The evening runs six weeks at New York's Playhouse Theatre.

1956 Broadway starts Waiting for Godot—it's impatient though, and the production lasts just 59 performances at the Golden Theatre. E. G. Marshall and Bert Lahr are Didi and Gogo. Herbert Berghof directs.

1972 If only people listened when you say Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope! Micki Grant stars in and supplies the music and lyrics for the musical exploring the trials, and celebrating the pride, of African-American life. It runs 1,065 performances at the Edison Theatre in New York.

1979 Bernard Pomerance's tale of the grossly disfigured John Merrick, better known as The Elephant Man, opens on Broadway at the Booth Theatre. Philip Anglim stars as the stricken man (sans makeup) while Carole Shelley and Kevin Conway co-star. The play wins the Tony Award for Best Play. It runs 916 performances, with replacements in the role of Merrick including Mark Hamill and David Bowie.

1999 Martin McDonagh, whose The Beauty Queen of Leenane ended its yearlong Broadway run just weeks earlier, now has another play, The Lonesome West, starting previews at the Lyceum Theatre. The play is part of McDonagh's "Leenane" trilogy (the third being A Skull in Connemara) and opens on Broadway April 27.

2001 It's ker-ching time for Hitler—and Mel Brooks and all of Broadway. Legendary opening night of The Producers at the St. James Theatre, as ticket buyers form lines down 44th Street to see Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in the musical adaptation of the 1968 Brooks film. The production wins a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards, and runs for 2,502 performances.

2003 Cholly Atkins, a Broadway tap dancer and choreographer whose collaborations with Charles "Honi" Coles were the stuff of showbiz legend, dies in Las Vegas at age 89.

2006 Film star Julia Roberts makes her Broadway debut as one point of a love triangle in the Broadway premiere of Richard Greenberg's drama Three Days of Rain. Also making his Broadway debut in the production is Bradley Cooper.

2009 Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter play battling queens of Scotland and England in the Donmar Warehouse's revival of Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart, which opens at the Broadhurst Theatre. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, the production played a sold-out engagement at the Donmar Warehouse in 2005, before moving to the West End and Broadway.

2011 High, Matthew Lombardo's play about an addict, an enabler, and a sponsor—starring Kathleen Turner as a nun who agrees to counsel a tough 19-year-old crystal-meth abuser—opens on Broadway at the Booth Theatre. After struggling at the box office through previews, and receiving a slew of negative reviews, the production closes five days later.

2012 Clybourne Park, Bruce Norris' humor-flecked play about racial and economic changes in a neighborhood over a 50-year period, opens on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre. The domestic satire of clashing cultures inspired by Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, was first seen at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons in 2010. In June 2012, the play adds the Tony Award for Best Play to a list of achievements that already included the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Olivier Award for Best Play.

2015 Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron's musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir Fun Home, which parallels Bechdel's coming of age as a lesbian and the suicide of her closeted gay father, opens on Broadway at Circle in the Square. Starring Michael Cerveris, Judy Kuhn, Sydney Lucas, Beth Malone, and Emily Skeggs, it wins five Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

2017 A Broadway revival of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes, with Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon alternating in the roles of Regina and Birdie, opens on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Nixon wins the Tony Award for Featured Actress in a Play for her performance as Birdie, the role she played in the show's opening night performance.

2018 Lauren Ambrose is Eliza Doolittle to Harry Hadden-Paton's Professor Henry Higgins in a revival of My Fair Lady opening at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. Bartlett Sher directs the Lincoln Center Theater production, which also features Norbert Leo Butz as Alfred P. Doolittle and Diana Rigg as Mrs. Higgins.

More of Today's Birthdays: May Robson 1858. Vivienne Segal 1897. Dudley Moore 1935. Betsy Joslyn 1954. Ashley Judd 1968.

Watch highlights from the 2015 Broadway production of Fun Home:

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