Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 17

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 17
Brent Carver and Carolee Carmello in Parade.
Brent Carver and Carolee Carmello in Parade. Joan Marcus

1926 Beatrice Lillie and Charles Winninger are featured in the musical revue Oh, Please at the Fulton Theatre. It runs 75 performances.

1927 Sirocco was memorable for being one of Noël Coward's less successful ventures. Daly's Theatre in London houses just 28 performances of the drama, with Ivor Novello, George Coulouris, and Ada King in the cast.

1952 Geraldine McEwan and Leslie Phillips vow For Better, For Worse... at London's Comedy Theatre. Arthur Watkyn's lighthearted look at a young couple searching for a home during a housing shortage runs 607 performances. John Counsell directs.

1953 Franchot Tone stars as a psychoanalyst who gets comically entangled with his patients in Oh, Men! Oh, Women! Written and directed by Edward Chodorov, with a cast that includes Anne Jackson, Larry Blyden, Betsy von Furstenberg, and Gig Young, the show runs nearly 48 weeks at Henry Miller's Theatre.

1962 Actor and playwright Thomas Mitchell dies at age 70. Mitchell—who was the first male actor to win an Academy Award, a Tony Award, and an Emmy Award—co-wrote the comedy Little Accident with Floyd Dell. Later in his career he concentrated on acting, performing on stage in An Inspector Calls and Hazel Flagg (winning a Tony Award for the latter), and in numerous films including Gone With the Wind and Stagecoach, for which he won an Oscar.

1980 Broadway opening night for Amadeus, Peter Shaffer's drama about the tragic difference between talent and genius. Tim Curry plays Mozart and Ian McKellen plays Salieri in the play, which opens at the Broadhurst Theatre and runs 1,181 performances. The 1984 film version wins eight Oscars, including Best Picture.

1998 The new musical Parade, directed by Hal Prince, opens, starring Carolee Carmello and Brent Carver. Jason Robert Brown composed the music and lyrics, and Alfred Uhry wrote the book. The plot concerns the true story of Leo Frank, a Jewish man wrongly accused of murder and lynched by an angry Atlanta mob in 1915. Parade wins Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Book of a Musical. It is named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics Circle, but runs just 85 performances.

2008 Emmy Award winner Jeremy Piven abruptly departs the acclaimed Broadway revival of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, citing high levels of mercury. The vacated role of Bobby Gould is filled first by Norbert Leo Butz and later William H. Macy.

2009 Martin Crimp's adaptation of Molière's The Misanthrope, starring Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley, opens at the West End's Comedy Theatre. Directed by Thea Sharrock, the production transports the action from 17th-century Paris to modern-day London.

2017 The Shakespeare's Globe production of Claire van Kampen's Farinelli and the King opens on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre. Mark Rylance stars as King Philippe V of Spain, who, suffering with insomnia, enlists the castrato Farinelli to comfort him through song.

2018 Galt MacDermot, the Grammy-winning composer who gave the world Hair and Two Gentlemen of Verona, among many others, dies a day before his 90th birthday. MacDermot achieved international acclaim with Hair, a cultural phenomenon that spawned multiple hit singles, saw its title song hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts, earned a Grammy Award for its cast album, was adapted into a 1979 Milos Forman film, and found success again in 2009 with a Tony-winning revival.

Today's Birthdays: Herbert Beerbohm Tree 1852. Erwin Piscator 1893. Katina Paxinou 1900. Tommy Steele 1936. Susan Watson 1938. Novella Nelson 1939. Bill Pullman 1953. Sarah Paulson 1975.

Watch highlights from a 2015 concert presentation of Parade, starring Laura Benanti and Jeremy Jordan:

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