Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: May 28

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: May 28
Stephen Schwartz's musical The Magic Show, starring magician Doug Henning, opens on Broadway in 1974.
Doug Henning (left) in The Magic Show.
Doug Henning (left) in The Magic Show.

1940 Victor Moore, William Gaxton, and Vera Zorina star in Louisiana Purchase. The Irving Berlin musical runs 444 performances at the Imperial Theatre.

1953 Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II open Me and Juliet, their show about a musical in tryouts out of town. Starring Isabel Bigley, it plays 358 performances at the Majestic Theatre.

1958 Charles Laughton returns to the London stage after a 22-year absence. He stars in and directs The Party, Jane Arden’s play about an alcoholic. Albert Finney, Joyce Redman, and Ann Lynn are also featured in the cast.

1964 He’s The Right Honorable Gentleman, but he has his moral lapses. Anthony Quayle stars in Michael Dyne’s play at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London. The drama runs for 17 months.

1974 Magician Doug Henning combines music with illusions in The Magic Show, which becomes one of the longest-running shows of the 1970s (1,920 performances at the Cort Theatre). Pippin and Godspell composer Stephen Schwartz pens the musical’s score.

1987 Off-Broadway’s The Public Theater is transformed into Studio B of Cleveland radio station WTLK as Eric Bogosian’s Talk Radio airs live to its New York viewing audience. Frederick Zollo directs a cast that features Bogosian as a talk show host who undergoes an identity crisis during a broadcast. The play makes its Broadway debut 20 years later with Liev Schreiber in the lead.

1998 Following his 1996 Tony Award for Best Choreography for his rap, tap, and soul revue Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk, Savion Glover takes his talents Downtown. At the Off-Broadway Variety Arts Theatre, Savion Glover/Downtown officially opens. The tap jam session also stars members of his recently formed company, Not Your Ordinary Tappers (NYOT).

2015 David Javerbaum’s comedy An Act of God, starring Jim Parsons in the role of God, opens on Broadway at Studio 54. In the play, adapted from Javerbaum’s satirical book The Last Testament: A Memoir By God, God reveals the mysteries of the Bible and answers some of the greatest existential questions that plague mankind. The production plays a limited engagement of 76 performances, but returns the following year with Sean Hayes taking on the role of God.

Today’s Birthdays: Beth Howland (1939-2015). Gladys Knight (b. 1944). Kristine Nielsen (b. 1955). Justin Kirk (b. 1969). Carey Mulligan (b. 1985).

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