Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: March 1

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: March 1
Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou in Sweeney Todd
Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou in Sweeney Todd Martha Swope/The New York Public Library

1922 Arthur Wing Pinero's The Enchanted Cottage constructs the story of a couple who find themselves transformed by their love for one another. Owen Nares and Laura Cowie are the lucky pair. The drama runs at the Duke of York's Theatre in London for 64 performances.

1944 Even the bright lights of Broadway are affected by World War II. A midnight curfew quiets the Times Square nightlife.

1957 Opening night for the final show to bear the Ziegfeld Follies name, 50 years after the very first edition, and 25 years after its namesake's death. The Ziegfeld Follies of 1957 features songs by Howard Dietz, Carolyn Leigh, Sammy Fain, Marshall Barer, and Colin Romoff. The cast includes Beatrice Lillie, Billy DeWolfe, and Carol Lawrence. It runs 123 performances at the Winter Garden.

1964 Athol Fugard's tale of two brothers in South Africa, Blood Knot, stars J.D. Cannon and James Earl Jones. John Berry stages at the Cricket Theatre in New York.

1979 Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street opens at Broadway's Uris Theatre. Len Cariou stars as the bedeviled barber and Angela Lansbury plays the cannibalistic cook in the production that makes a piercing factory whistle infamous. The musical sweeps the Tony Awards, taking home the prize for Best Musical, Leading Actor and Actress, Director for Harold Prince, Best Book, Score, and Scenic and Costume Design.

1998 Yasmina Reza's international hit play Art opens at the Royale Theatre with Victor Garber, Alan Alda, and Alfred Molina starring. The comedy about a blank painting took top honors at France's Molière Awards and London's Olivier Awards, and also wins the Tony Award for Best Play.

2005 The musical Altar Boyz, which spoofs the boy-band craze, opens Off-Broadway. It runs more than 2,000 performances at New World Stages.

2006 Jack Wild, 53, who won acclaim as the Artful Dodger in the 1968 film version of Lionel Bart's musical Oliver!, dies in England after a long battle with oral cancer.

2009 A Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls that uses animated projections and introduces author Damon Runyon as a character, opens at the Nederlander Theatre. The classic "musical fable of Broadway" is directed by Des McAnuff, and stars Craig Bierko as Sky Masterson, Oliver Platt as Nathan Detroit, Kate Jennings Grant as Sarah Brown, and Lauren Graham as Miss Adelaide.

2011 A stage production of The Wizard of Oz, based the 1939 MGM film musical featuring music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, opens at the London Palladium. Danielle Hope—winner of the reality TV casting show Over the Rainbow—stars as Dorothy, alongside Michael Crawford as The Wizard and Hannah Waddingham as the Wicked Witch of the West. The score is supplemented with four new songs written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

2017 The Tooting Arts Club’s immersive production of Sweeney Todd, which was first staged in an actual pie shop in London, opens Off-Broadway. The production transforms New York's Barrow Street Theatre into a working pie shop, with audiences able to purchase authentic meat pies prior to each performance. Jeremy Secomb and Siobhán McCarthy, who starred in the London run, reprise their roles as Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett.

Today's Birthdays: Anne Sutherland 1867. Lionel Atwill 1885. Michael Flanders 1922. Robert Clary 1926. Harry Belafonte 1927. Kevin McCollum 1962. Bryan Batt 1963. Lindsay Mendez 1983.

Watch highlights from the 2011 London production of The Wizard of Oz:

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