Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 5

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 5
Brian Stokes Mitchell in the 2002 Broadway revival of Man of La Mancha.
Brian Stokes Mitchell in the 2002 Broadway revival of Man of La Mancha. Joan Marcus

1921 Novelist Theodore Dreiser's play, The Hand of the Potter, opens at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York. Scenes range from the poverty-stricken Lower East Side to the lavish-living Upper. There are 21 performances.

1923 English actor Herbert Standing dies at the age of 77. Standing appeared in Katherine and Petruchio with Henry Irving and Ellen Terry.

1927 The Shubert Theatre Corporation notes to the New York Stock Exchange that it owns 104 first-class theatres, and by this date 60 percent of all first-class legitimate theatre productions are housed in Shubert theatres.

1930 Overture, a drama by William Bolitho, opens at the Longacre Theatre. The story deals with a post-war rebellion in Germany. The cast of the 41 performance run includes Pat O'Brien, William Foran, and Barbara Robbins.

1955 Ruth Gordon stars in Thornton Wilder's comedy The Matchmaker at the Royale Theatre. Produced by The Theatre Guild and David Merrick, it runs 486 performances. In 1964, Merrick has an even bigger success when he produces a musical adaptation of the play on Broadway, called Hello, Dolly!

1966 Mary Martin and Robert Preston explore 50 years of married life in I Do! I Do! The Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt musical, based on Jan de Hartog's play The Fourposter, runs 560 performances at the 46th Street Theatre.

1991 Freddie Roman, Marilyn Michaels, Mal Z. Lawrence, and Dick Capri star in Roman's Catskills on Broadway, which opens at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

2001 Barely 12 weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, Pulitzer-winner Tony Kushner debuts a drama about the conflicts in the Middle East, Homebody/Kabul, at New York Theatre Workshop. The piece was programmed and planned long before the tragedy. As a work-in-progress, it had a run at London's Chelsea Theatre Centre in 1999 starring British actor Kika Markham. The Off-Broadway production stars Linda Emond.

2002 Broadway reverberates with Brian Stokes Mitchell's baritone singing "The Impossible Dream" when he opens a revival of Man of La Mancha at the Martin Beck Theatre, co-starring Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Dulcinea and Ernie Sabella as Sancho. It runs six months.

2012 The musical The Bodyguard, based on the 1992 film of the same name about a former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard who is hired to protect a singing superstar, opens at the West End's Adelphi Theatre. Heather Headley makes her West End debut in the role of Rachel Marron, created on screen by Whitney Houston. The show features features a multitude of Whitney Houston’s greatest hits including "One Moment in Time," "Saving All My Love," "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," and "I Will Always Love You."

Today's Birthdays: Nunnally Johnson 1897. Otto Preminger 1905. Larry Kert 1930. Sheridan Morley 1941. Baayork Lee 1946. Pamela Blair 1949. Jennifer Laura Thompson 1969.

Watch highlights from the 2016 U.S. national tour of The Bodyguard, starring Deborah Cox:

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