Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: September 1

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: September 1
Lily Tomlin in <i>The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe</i>.
Lily Tomlin in The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. Martha Swope / The New York Public Library

1898 Birthday of one of Broadway's most endearing leading ladies of the 1920s, Marilyn Miller, whose vehicles include Sally, Sunny, Rosalie, and As Thousands Cheer.

1924 John Colton and Clemence Randolph adapt the W. Somerset Maugham story "Miss Thompson" as the hit play Rain, about tough prostitute Sadie Thompson (Jeanne Eagels), who battles a bigoted missionary in the steamy jungle. It runs for 648 performances, and is adapted several times as a film.

1927 Barbara Stanwyck and Oscar Levant star in the musical Burlesque, which plays 372 performances at the Plymouth Theatre.

1997 Tonight's Actors Fund performance of A Doll's House is the Tony-winning revival's last. Janet McTeer won a Tony Award for her performance as Nora Helmer in Henrik Ibsen's late-19th century drama, as did Owen Teale for his as husband Torvald. The limited engagement production was originally scheduled to close on July 26, but following its strong reception from both critics and audiences, that date was pushed back six weeks.

1998 The Broadway production of Art gets its second cast, as British actors Brian Cox, Henry Goodman, and David Haig take over from the recently-departed Alan Alda, Victor Garber, and Alfred Molina. Yasmina Reza's play, which focuses on three men whose friendship is put on trial when one buys a "white" painting, has two more casts before it closes August 8, 1999. Judd Hirsch, George Wendt, and Joe Morton assume the roles in December 1998, while Buck Henry, George Segal, and Wayne Knight follow in April 1999.

1998 Closing out its summer season in the Berkshires in Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company runs a solo adaptation of A Room of One's Own. The play is adapted by Patrick Garland from Virginia Woolf's famous 1929 essay, in which the writer informs a group of women's college students that, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."

2002 The unorthodox but Tony-winning Best Musical Contact closes after a two-and-a-half-year Broadway run. The final performance is broadcast live on PBS.

2003 A rare (but not unprecedented) confluence of events leave Broadway with just one non-musical play on the boards, Tony-winner Take Me Out.

2004 In the midst of the Republican national convention in New York, which nominated President George W. Bush for a second term, British playwright David Hare begins performances of his critique of Bush's first term, Stuff Happens, at London's National Theatre. Meanwhile, back in New York, former President George H.W. Bush attends a matinee performance of Hairspray with former First Lady Barbara Bush.

2012 The London production of John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Bob Fosse's musical Chicago, the West End's longest-ever running revival, closes after 15-year run. The production, which won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production, opened at the Adelphi Theatre on November 18, 1997, and transferred to the Cambridge Theatre in April 2006, and then to the Garrick Theatre in November 2011.

2015 Dean Jones, the comic actor who made his mark in a series of Disney films, but who earned a place in Broadway history for originating the role of the vacillating bachelor Bobby in Stephen Sondheim's Company, dies at age 84.

More of Today's Birthdays: Guy Standing 1873. Edgar Rice Burroughs 1875. Yvonne De Carlo 1922. Lily Tomlin 1939. Martin Pakledinaz 1953. Carolee Carmello 1962. Jay Armstrong Johnson 1987.

Watch highlights from Carolee Carmello's Tony-nominated performance in Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson:

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