PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today in Theatre History: SEPTEMBER 9

By David Gewirtzman
and Ernio Hernandez, Robert Viagas and Sam Maher
09 Sep 2013

1873 Birthday of influential director Max Reinhardt (1873-1943) in Austria-Hungary. He will stage innovative productions of The Eternal Road, Sumurun and A Midsummer Night's Dream, the latter of which was one of the earliest Shakespeare productions to be made into a sound film.



1947 Bowing to pressure from HUAC, the Actors' Equity council reiterates its stand against communism today.

1970 At today's matinee, Hello, Dolly! surpasses My Fair Lady as the longest-running Broadway musical in history. A celebration at Sardi's follows the show.

1973 Playwright S. N. Behrman dies today. His plays included Amphitryon 38, Jacobowsky and the Colonel, No Time for Comedy and the book to the musical Fanny.

1975 As part of its season celebrating the United States Bicentennial, The Kennedy Center presents a revival of Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth on Broadway at the Mark Hellinger Theatre. Directed by Jose Quintero, the production stars Elizabeth Ashley as Sabina, and Alfred Drake and Martha Scott as Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus. Despite rave reviews for Ashley, the revival proves to be a disappointment and closes after 7 performances.

1980 Harold Clurman dies today at age 78. Shows he directed include Awake and Sing!, The Member of the Wedding, Tiger at the Gates, The Waltz of the Toreadors and Bus Stop. Clurman was also a drama critic for the New Republic and The Nation.

1998 Trinity Rep of Providence, Rhode Island opens its season with Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's classic musical The Threepenny Opera. The production, directed by Alan MacVey, takes place in the London of tomorrow, at the coronation of King William V. Ellen McLaughlin, of Tony Kushner's Angels in America fame, stars in the play.

2001 Brooke Shields hosts the tenth annual "Broadway on Broadway" concert in Times Square, featuring songs from recent hit The Producers, and the then-previewing Urinetown. It's the last light-hearted event in the crossroads for some time, as news events of two days hence were about to overwhelm the city.

2004 The musical version of Alice Walker's The Color Purple has its world premiere at the Alliance Theatre, starring LaChanze. It will open on Broadway the following year.

2004 Also today, Mandy Patinkin and the chorus girls of 42nd Street are on hand to cut the ribbon for Dodger Stages, a complex of five new Off-Broadway theatres (formerly a multiplex cinema) just west of the Times Square theatre district on 50th Street.

2009 First season debut of the TV series "Glee," about life among high school theatre and music students. The series stars Lea Michele (Spring Awakening) and Matthew Morrison (The Light in the Piazza), and will go on to feature many Broadway stars as guests.

More of Today's Birthdays: Joseph E. Levine 1905. John Drew Colt 1913. Cliff Robertson 1925. Sylvia Miles 1932. Topol 1935. Tom Wopat 1951. Edward Hibbert 1955.