Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 14

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 14
 
The birthday of late playwright and West Side Story and Gypsy librettist Arthur Laurents.
West Side Story_Broadway_2020_Production Photos_X_HR
Shereen Pimentel, Isaac Powell, and Cast Jan Versweyveld

1917 Birthday of playwright Arthur Laurents, writer of numerous plays including The Time of the Cuckoo and Invitation to a March, but who is best known as librettist for musical classics West Side Story and Gypsy.

1926 A woman is mistaken for a divorce correspondent as Leon De Costa's play, The Blonde Sinner, opens at the Cort Theatre in New York. The Blonde Sinner, taking place at a Long Island summer manor, is described as a "play with musical specialties." Among these specialties: several dances, including a Charleston.

1947 James Stewart returns to his Broadway roots as he temporarily replaces Frank Fay in Harvey. Fay, playing the role of Elwood P. Dowd since the play opened, left the Broadway company to do the show out of town. Before and after performances, two policemen must be stationed outside the theatre in order to control crowds longing to see the Hollywood star of such films as The Philadelphia Story and It's a Wonderful Life. Three years later, Stewart stars in a film adaptation of the play, earning him an Academy Award nomination.

1969 The Circle Repertory Company is founded in Greenwich Village. During its 27 years of existence, the Off-Broadway stalwart plays host to many seminal playwrights and directors, including Lanford Wilson, Albert Innaurato, Marshall W. Mason, and many more.

1996 A recast, restaged revival of Herb Gardner's A Thousand Clowns opens at Roundabout Theatre Company's Criterion Theatre on Broadway. Originally scheduled to star Robert Klein under the direction of Gene Saks, just days before its previews the play was taken over by director Scott Ellis and star Judd Hirsch.

1999 Television celebs David Schwimmer (Friends) and John Spencer (L.A. Law, The West Wing) star in the Williamstown Theatre Festival's production of Warren Leight's latest jazz-induced show, The Glimmer Brothers. The play by the Side Man scribe undergoes changes to its title (to Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine) and cast (Spencer intact) and opens May 24, 2001, Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club, following a run at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum.

2002 The solo comedy show Robin Williams: Live on Broadway airs on HBO from the Broadway Theatre.

2008 Stephen Rea faces the Wild West in the U.S. premiere of Sam Shepard's Kicking a Dead Horse, which officially opens at The Public Theater.

More of Today's Birthdays: Ted Koehler (1894-1973); Jean Dixon (1896-1981); Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-1991); Jerome Lawrence (1915-2004); Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007); Scott Merrill (1922-2001); Polly Bergen 1930-2014); Scott Rudin (b. 1958).

Check out photos from the 2020 Broadway revival of West Side Story:

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