Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 16

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 16
 
In 2012, Lindsay Mendez and Derek Klena star in the Off-Broadway musical Dogfight.
Diedre Friel, Nick Blaemire, Derek Klena, Lindsay Mendez, Josh Segarra and Annaleigh Ashford in Dogfight.
Diedre Friel, Nick Blaemire, Derek Klena, Lindsay Mendez, Josh Segarra and Annaleigh Ashford in Dogfight. Joan Marcus

1924 Broadway premiere of George Dibdin-Pitt's Sweeney Todd, one of numerous adaptations of the penny-dreadful tale of haircuts and cannibalism that would later be adapted as a musical of the same title. Robert Vivian stars as Sweeney, with Raffaella Ottiano as Mrs. Lovett. It runs 67 performances.

1956 London's Old Vic begins its Shaw Festival with the Bristol Old Vic production of Major Barbara. In the cast are Peter O'Toole and Moira Shearer. The Birmingham Repertory Company production of Caesar and Cleopatra follows Major Barbara on July 30.

1979 Tom Stoppard's revisions of two Shakespearian tragedies are presented as a double bill at the Collegiate Theatre in London. Entitled Dogg's Hamlet/Cahoot's Macbeth, the evening of one-acts features Ruth Hunt, Stephen D. Newman, and Alan Thompson in the British-American Repertory Theatre production. The show opens in New York on October 3 at the 22 Steps Theatre and soon embarks on a tour.

1986 Robert De Niro and Ralph Macchio star in Reinaldo Povod's Cuba and His Teddy Bear, opening at Broadway's Longacre Theatre. The play follows a macho drug dealer and his struggle to keep his son out of the business. Bill Hart directs the production, which transferred from Off-Broadway's Public Theater. It plays 53 performances.

1996 Tom Ziegler's Grace & Glorie opens at Off-Broadway's Laura Pels Theatre. Estelle Parsons and Lucie Arnaz play an elderly, terminally-ill cancer patient and an educated hospice volunteer. Gloria Muzio directs the production, which plays 134 performances.

2001 British playwright Harold Pinter stars in his own One for the Road as part of a Pinter festival at New York's Lincoln Center.

2008 The London bow of Joanna Murray-Smith's The Female of the Species opens at the Vaudeville Theatre. Eileen Atkins stars as feminist literary giant Margot Mason in the production directed by Roger Michell.

2009 A musical version of Jack Heifner's play Vanities—featuring a score by David Kirshenbaum—opens Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theater. Lauren Kennedy, Sarah Stiles, and Anneliese van der Pol star.

2012 Dogfight, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Peter Duchan's musical based on the 1991 film about a young waitress pursued by a fresh-faced Vietnam-bound soldier, opens in its world-premiere run at Off-Broadway's Second Stage. Directed by Joe Mantello, the production stars Lindsay Mendez and Derek Klena. Four years later, songwriters Pasek and Paul return to Second Stage with the New York premiere of their musical Dear Evan Hansen.

2015 Amazing Grace, Christopher Smith's musical based on the life of "Amazing Grace" songwriter John Newton, opens on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre. Josh Young stars as Newton.

2018 The Public Theater opens Rinne Groff's Fire in Dreamland. Set in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and inspired by the 1911 fire that burned down Coney Island’s Dreamland amusement park, the play tells a story of creation in the face of devastation. Directed by Marissa Wolf, the show stars Rebecca Naomi Jones, Enver Gjokaj, and Kyle Beltran.

Today's Birthdays: George F. Marion (1860–1945). Barbara Stanwyck (1907–1990). Ginger Rogers (1911–1995). Sonny Tufts (1911–1970). Barnard Hughes (1915–2006). Barbara Matera (1929–2001). Corin Redgrave (1939–2010). Laurence Guittard (b. 1939). Ruben Blades (b. 1948). Tony Kushner (b. 1956). Michael Flatley (b. 1958).

Watch songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul sing "Some Kinda Time" from their musical Dogfight:

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