Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: March 15

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: March 15
Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady.
Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady. Friedman-Abeles / The New York Public Library

1926 Sean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock has its U.S. premiere at Broadway's Mayfair Theatre. It runs 74 performances.

1934 The New Faces of 1934 revue introduces future stars Henry Fonda and Imogene Coca.

1956 Under the tutelage of Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews changes from a poor flower girl to My Fair Lady at the Mark Hellinger Theatre in New York. Robert Coote, Cathleen Nesbitt, and Stanley Holloway are also in the cast of the Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe musical adapted from George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. Cecil Beaton designs the costumes for the 2,717 performance run.

1961 Margaret Leighton stars is The Lady from the Sea at London's Queen's Theatre. The Henrik Ibsen play directed by Glen Byam Shaw runs for two months.

1962 There's No Strings attached to Richard Rodgers' score for the tuner. Rodgers supplied his own lyrics for the musical starring Richard Kiley and Diahann Carroll. There are 580 performances.

1964 To honor William Shakespeare's 400th anniversary, the New York Philharmonic presents an Homage to Shakespeare. William Ball directs a stellar cast that includes John Gielgud, Edith Evans, and Margaret Leighton interpreting various selections.

1970 Purlie, a musical adaptation of Ossie Davis' Purlie Victorious, opens at the Broadway Theatre. Cleavon Little stars in the title role, and Melba Moore, who plays Lutiebelle, stops the show nightly with "I Got Love." Both actors win Tony Awards, and the production runs 688 performances.

1976 Jo Mielziner, a set designer who ruled the Broadway stage for years, dies four days before his 75th birthday. In 1949, he earned his first Tony Award for set design for his productions of Sleepy Hollow, Summer and Smoke, Anne of the Thousand Days, South Pacific, and the transparent framework set for Death of a Salesman, for which he is perhaps best remembered.

1987 Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express rolls into the Gershwin Theatre. The roller skate spectacle with John Napier's set features Jane Krakowski and Broadway's original Annie, Andrea McArdle.

2001 Cathy Rigby joins the cast of the struggling Seussical as The Cat in the Hat.

2009 A revival of Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit—featuring an array of stars from the worlds of stage and screen—opens at Broadway's Shubert Theatre. Michael Blakemore directs the "improbable comedy" about a novelist (Rupert Everett) doing research with an eccentric medium (Angela Lansbury) who conjures up the ghost of his late first wife (Christine Ebersole), with dire consequences for his second wife (Jayne Atkinson). Angela Lansbury's performance as Madame Arcati earns her a fifth Tony Award.

2012 A Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning American tragedy Death of a Salesman, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman, opens at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The production, which re-creates Jo Mielziner's original Tony Award-winning scenic design, also features Linda Emond as Linda Loman, Andrew Garfield as Biff, and Finn Wittrock as Happy. The revival wins Tony Awards for director Mike Nichols, and for Revival of a Play.

2015 Kristin Chenoweth embodies Lily Garland, a role created by her idol Madeline Kahn, in Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway revival of On the Twentieth Century, opening at the American Airlines Theatre. The musical's cast also includes Peter Gallagher as Oscar Jaffe, Andy Karl as Bruce Granit, and Mary Louise Wilson as Letitia Primrose

Today's Birthdays: J. Pat O'Malley 1904. Hildy Parks 1926. Judd Hirsch 1935. Thommie Walsh 1950.

Watch highlights from the 2015 Broadway revival of On the Twentieth Century:

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