Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 27

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 27
In 2003, Richard Greenberg's Take Me Out opens on Broadway.
Denis O'Hare and Daniel Sunjata in Take Me Out.
Denis O'Hare and Daniel Sunjata in Take Me Out. Joan Marcus

1848 English actor Ellen Terry is born. She makes her American debut in 1883 with Henry Irving's company. She goes on to star in classic and contemporary works. The Terry family becomes a prominent force in theatre; John Gielgud is a relative.

1906 Actor Franchot Tone is born. He appears in several productions with The Theatre Guild including Green Grow the Lilacs, which Rodgers and Hammerstein use as the basis for their musical Oklahoma! He becomes a member of The Group Theatre.

1930 Two birthdays: Peter Stone, librettist of 1776, Titanic, Woman of the Year, My One and Only, The Will Rogers Follies, and other shows. And movie star Joanne Woodward, performer in Broadway's Candida and Baby Want a Kiss, and director of the 2002 revival of Our Town.

1958 Joshua Logan directs Blue Denim, a drama depicting the pregnancy of a teenage girl. James Leo Herlihy and William Noble collaborated on the story. Carol Lynley and Burt Brinckerhoff star as the couple.

1964 What Makes Sammy Run? Come to the 54th Street Theatre to find out. Steve Lawrence stars in the musical about clawing to fame and fortune in Hollywood. Budd Schulberg and Stuart Schulberg adapt Budd's novel. Ervin Drake provides the songs. There are 540 performances.

1980 Following a 12 year absence, Uta Hagen returns to the Broadway stage in Peter Hacks' Charlotte, a drama about Charlotte von Stein's relationship with writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The two-hander co-stars Charles Nelson Reilly in the almost entirely silent role of Charlotte's husband, Josias von Stein. It runs 5 performances.

1994 Off-Broadway's Orpheum Theatre, once a home for old-fashioned Yiddish theatre, suddenly crashes and bangs with the energy of Stomp. The UK dance piece keeps slamming bin lids, sweeping brooms, and flicking cigarette lighters for years to come.

1997 Alfred Uhry's The Last Night of Ballyhoo opens at the Helen Hayes Theatre on Broadway. The comedy-drama, which wins a Best Play Tony, concerns a Jewish family in Atlanta and stars Jessica Hecht, Dana Ivey, and Paul Rudd.

2003 Opening night of Take Me Out at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway. Richard Greenberg's story of a major league baseball star who comes out as gay wins the Tony Award as Best Play.

2007 Jay Harnick, 78, who founded TheatreWorks USA, the nation's largest touring children's theatre company, dies in Manhattan after a long illness.

2013 Kelli O'Hara and Nathan Gunn star in the New York Philharmonic's concert staging of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's Carousel, beginning a five-performance run at Avery Fisher Hall. The cast also includes Stephanie Blythe, Jessie Mueller, Jason Danieley, and John Cullum.

2017 The world premiere of David Mamet’s The Penitent opens Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company. Chris Bauer, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Jordan Lage, and Rebecca Pidgeon star in the play about a renowned psychiatrist whose career, ethics, and faith are thrown into question when he refuses to testify on behalf of a young patient.

More of Today's Birthdays: John Steinbeck (1902-1968). Joanne Woodward (b. 1930). Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011). Debra Monk (b. 1949). Josh Groban (b. 1981). Heléne Yorke (b. 1985).

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