Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 27 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 27 In 1994, Vanessa Williams makes her Broadway debut in Kiss of the Spider Woman.
Vanessa Williams in Kiss of the Spider Woman Martha Swope / The New York Public Library

1888 Birthday of Antoinette Perry, an actor and groundbreaking stage director who helps found the American Theatre Wing. In gratitude, the Wing names its annual theatre awards after her, now known by their nickname, the Tony Awards.

1944 Ten Little Indians, Agatha Christie's adaptation of her novel And Then There Were None, opens on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre. The play about 10 people called to an isolated mansion where they are told they must pay for the crimes they have committed, runs for 426 performances.

1970 Tom Eyen's The Dirtiest Show in Town opens Off-Broadway at the Astor Place Theatre. Bare flesh and simulated sex run rampant in the show that plays 509 performances.

1982 Jay Broad, John R. Briggs, and Harry Manfredini's country-western musical Play Me a Country Song opens—and closes—at the Virginia Theatre. The production marks the Broadway debut of actor Karen Mason.

1993 Americans discover a benign Indian elephant god in Terrence McNally's play A Perfect Ganesh, opening Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club. Among the cast of discoverers are Zoe Caldwell, Frances Sternhagen, and Fisher Stevens.

1994 Former Miss America Vanessa Williams makes her Broadway debut when she replaces Tony Award winner Chita Rivera in Kiss of the Spider Woman. With weekly box office attendance floating around the 70 percent mark, Williams' entrance brings a much-needed boost to the show's box office business. By August, the John Kander-Fred Ebb musical finds itself playing to standing room audiences on many nights.

1999 Al Pacino reprises his Broadway role in Eugene O'Neill's Hughie at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. He directs and stars in the production, as he did in 1996 at the Circle in the Square. Pacino's Broadway co-star Paul Benedict also returns for the Los Angeles run.

2017 Audra McDonald takes her first official West End bow as the London engagement of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill opens at the Wyndham’s Theatre. McDonald won her record-breaking sixth Tony Award for her performance as Billie Holiday in the 2014 Broadway run of Lanie Robertson's play with music.

2018 Anika Noni Rose stars in an Off-Broadway revival of Oscar Hammerstein II's Carmen Jones at Classic Stage Company. Directed by John Doyle, the production is the first major New York staging of the musical since its 1943 original Broadway production.

2018 The American premiere of Dennis Kelly's monologue play Girls & Boys, starring Carey Mulligan, officially opens at the Minetta Lane Theatre Off-Broadway.

More of Today's Birthdays: John Golden (1874-1955). Reginald Mason (1875-1962). I.A.L. Diamond (1920-1988). Michael Mayer (b. 1960). Michael Ball (b. 1962).

Look Back at Audra McDonald in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

More Today in Theatre History

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