Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: December 22

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: December 22
Joshua Logan directs Alvin Ailey in Tiger Tiger Burning Bright, opening on this date in 1962.
Alvin Ailey
Alvin Ailey Normand Maxon

1639 Playwright Jean Racine is born in France. His plays include the classics Phèdre and Bérénice.

1858 Birthday of Giacomo Puccini, Italian opera composer whose works include La Bohème, Tosca, and Madame Butterfly, including several based on the plays of American David Belasco.

1919 Edward G. Robinson and Pauline Lord find Night Lodging at the Plymouth Theatre. The adaptation of Maxim Gorky's The Lower Depths runs only 14 performances.

1962 Dancer Alvin Ailey plays Clarence Morris in Tiger Tiger Burning Bright. Joshua Logan directs Peter S. Feibleman's adaptation of his own novel, A Place Without Twilight.

1964 Eugene O'Neill's Hughie has its Broadway premiere at the Royale Theatre. For 51 performances Jason Robards rambles to a hotel night clerk. José Quintero directs.

1964 Birthday of Andrew Lippa, composer of musicals including The Wild Party, John & Jen, The Addams Family, and Big Fish.

1986 Comedian Jackie Mason revives his career with a solo comedy show, The World According To Me!, which runs 367 performances at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, and leads to a half dozen similar Mason turns in the coming years.

1996 The York Theatre Company's production of No Way To Treat a Lady opens Off-Broadway at St. Peter's Church. The production is a musical adaptation of William Goldman's 1968 film about a publicity-crazed actor who becomes a psychotic killer. It stars Paul Schoeffler, Adam Grupper, Marguerite MacIntyre, and Alix Korey.

2002 Virginia McKnight Binger, namesake of Broadway's Virginia Theatre, dies at her home in Wayzata, Minnesota, at age 86. The multi-millionaire co-owned Broadway's Jujamcyn Theaters group.

2007 Ruth Wallis, the songwriter-musician-singer whose songs inspired the Off-Broadway revue Boobs! The Musical, dies at age 87.

More of Today's Birthdays Junius Brutus Booth, Jr. (1821-1883). Aline Bernstein (1880-1955). Peggy Ashcroft (1907-1991). Frank Corsaro (1924-2017). Lynn Thigpen (1948-2003). Hector Elizondo (b. 1936). Ralph Fiennes (b. 1962).

Watch highlights from the 2015 Encores! Off-Center staging of Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party, starring Sutton Foster and Steven Pasquale:

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