Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: May 19

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: May 19
 
Lorraine Hansberry
Lorraine Hansberry

1924 The Marx Brothers star in I’ll Say She Is at the Casino Theatre in New York. The revue, with a book by Will B. Johnstone and music by Tom Johnstone, follows the boys on a path of murder, mayhem, and a visit with Napoleon and Josephine. It runs beyond the season.

1927 Grand Street Follies runs nearly 19 weeks with a cast that includes Dorothy Sands, Aline Bernstein, and Albert Carroll. Max Ewing composes and scores the book by Agnes Morgan. When the Neighborhood Playhouse closes two weeks into the run, the production transfers to the Little Theatre.

1930 Paul Robeson stars as Othello at London’s Savoy Theatre. Peggy Ashcroft plays Desdemona.

1937 George Abbott produces and directs John Murray and Allen Boretz’s comedy Room Service, about an impoverished producer who tries to hold his staff together in a hotel room. The cast includes Sam Levene, Eddie Albert, and Betty Field.

1962 Opera star Cesare Siepi makes his Broadway debut in the musical Bravo Giovanni. Siepi plays an Italian restaurant owner who digs an underground tunnel to steal food from his competitor. His co-star is 19-year-old Michele Lee in her first Broadway leading role. The production runs 76 performances at the Broadhurst Theatre.

1992 Laila Robins, Boyd Gaines, Adam Arkin, and John Slattery are the cast of Richard Greenberg’s The Extra Man, which opens Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club’s City Center Stage II. Michael Engler directs the production about a microcosm of Manhattanites.

2000 The Roundabout Theatre Company production of Neil Simon’s Hotel Suite begins previews at the Gramercy Theatre. The cast features Helen Carey, Randy Graff, Leigh Lawson, and Ron Orbach. This production comprises four scenes from three of Simon‘s Suite plays: California Suite, London Suite, and Plaza Suite.

2005 Broadway composer and television producer Richard Lewine dies at 94. He conceived the Broadway revue Rodgers & Hart, wrote songs for the revue Fools Rush In, produced the 1957 television musical Cinderella, and ran the Rodgers & Hammerstein office following the death of composer Richard Rodgers.

2014 The world premiere of Neil LaBute’s The Way We Get By opens at Second Stage Theater. Amanda Seyfried makes her Off-Broadway debut in the production opposite Thomas Sadoski.

Today’s Birthdays: Sandy Wilson (1924); Lorraine Hansberry (1930); Nora Ephron (1941); Pete Townshend (1945).

Watch clips from the 2014 Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, starring Denzel Washington:

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