Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: March 12

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: March 12
The act one finale of Les Misérables.
The act one finale of Les Misérables. Joan Marcus

1928 Birthday of playwright Edward Albee, who writes Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia?, and Pulitzer winners A Delicate Balance, Seascape, and Three Tall Women.

1946 Birthday of actor and singer Liza Minnelli, star of Cabaret on film, and Broadway musicals including Flora, the Red Menace, The Rink, and The Act, among many other projects.

1964 Ann Jellicoe provides a new translation of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. Tony Richardson directs Vanessa Redgrave and Peggy Ashcroft in the London production.

1964 But For Whom Charlie stars Ralph Meeker at the ANTA Washington Square Theatre. S. N. Behrman's comedy, about a man trying to pry himself away from a domineering father, runs 47 performances.

1971 In the wings after his major number in 70, Girls, 70, comedian David Burns dies of a heart attack.

1987 Jean Valjean begins his years of hiding from Javert as Les Misérables opens on Broadway. Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg based their book on the novel by Victor Hugo. Music is provided by Schönberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. Trevor Nunn stages. Colm Wilkinson and Terrence Mann star as the arch enemies. It runs for 6,680 performances, and for a time becomes the second longest running show in Broadway history.

1998 The hills are revived! A new production of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's 1959 musical The Sound Of Music opens on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre. Rebecca Luker stars as the problem-to-be-solved Maria and Michael Siberry as the Captain with a flock of children.

2003 Lynne Thigpen, the respected actor with the rich, strong voice who won a Tony Award for An American Daughter on Broadway, dies in her Los Angeles home at age 54. She also appeared in the original cast of Godspell and was widely known for starring on television in the CBS drama The District and the PBS educational series Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?

2006 Joe Bova, who was Tony-nominated as Prince Dauntless to Carol Burnett's Princess Fred in Once Upon a Mattress, dies at age 81 at the Actors' Fund Retirement Home in New Jersey.

2007 Vilma Ebsen, 96, who, with her brother Buddy, danced through three Broadway shows and one Hollywood musical, dies in California.

2013 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Simon Stephens' stage adaptation of Mark Haddon's novel of the same name, opens at London's Apollo Theatre. The production, directed by Marianne Elliott and starring Luke Treadaway, originally premiered at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre in 2012. It wins seven Olivier Awards, including Best New Play. The following year, the production transfers to Broadway, where it wins the Tony Award for Best Play.

2017 Come From Away, a musical that explores the lasting connection forged between a group of travelers whose planes were diverted to a small Newfoundland town during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, opens on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. The show is written by husband-and-wife team Irene Sankoff and David Hein, who make their Broadway debuts with the production.

More of Today's Birthdays: George White 1892. Roger L. Stevens 1910. Gordon MacRae 1921. Courtney B. Vance 1960.

Watch Liza Minnelli duet with Alan Cumming at their 2013 Town Hall concert:

Click Here to Shop for Theatre
Merchandise in the Playbill Store
More Today in Theatre History