PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: NOVEMBER 21

By David Gewirtzman
and Robert Viagas, Steve Luber, Anne Bradley and Sam Maher
21 Nov 2013

1694 Birthday of French author François Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire (1694-1778) whose satirical novel "Candide" served as source material for the 1956 Leonard Bernstein/Lillian Hellman/Dorothy Parker musical.



1888 Birthday of Adolph Marx, better known as Harpo (1888-1964), silent sibling of The Marx Brothers comedy team, seen on Broadway in I'll Say She Is, Animal Crackers and The Cocoanuts, and a character in the biographical musical Minnie's Boys.

1933 Birthright has just seven performances at the 49th Street Theatre. Richard Maibaum's play deals with the suffering of a German-Jewish family under the Nazi regime.

1934 With words and music by Cole Porter, Anything Goes opens tonight at the Alvin Theatre. The cast includes Ethel Merman, William Gaxton and Victor Moore in this one year-plus run. The book, about cabaret singer Reno Sweeney and Public Enemy No. 13 chasing around a France-bound ocean liner, is provided by Guy Bolton, P.G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Songs include "I Get a Kick Out of You" and "Blow, Gabriel, Blow."

1944 George S. Kaufman directs his own script of The Late George Apley, based on the Pulitzer-winning novel by John P. Marquand. Leo G. Carroll plays the title character, and the production runs 384 performances at the Lyceum Theatre.

1970 Actress Carlotta Monterey, widow of playwright Eugene O'Neill, dies at the age of 82.

1979 Strider, based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, comes to the Helen Hayes Theatre after first being seen at the Chelsea Theatre Center. Gerald Hiken stars as a horse named Strider and is saddled with the part for 27 weeks.

1983 Garry Trudeau's comic strip Doonesbury comes to life in a musical by Trudeau and Elizabeth Swados. It runs just 104 performances at the Biltmore Theatre, but features several future stars: Gary Beach, Kate Burton and Mark Linn-Baker.

1994 Eileen Atkins and Vanessa Redgrave star in the Zoe Caldwell-directed Vita and Virginia, which opens tonight at the Union Square Theatre. The story follows that of Virginia Woolf, whom Atkins has played before in A Room of One's Own. This show, which The Times calls a "literary tea-for-two," runs 29 performances.

1999 Carol Burnett raises a glass with fellow partygoers John Barrowman, George Hearn, Ruthie Henshall and Bronson Pinchot as they try Putting It Together, which opened tonight at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The cocktail party is a front to perform a "review" of songs by Stephen Sondheim. The show was conceptualized and created by Sondheim in 1992, when it was produced in London by Cameron Mackintosh. It then came to Off Broadway starring Julie Andrews. Now on Broadway at last, the show will run 101 performances.

2004 The national tour of the new Disney musical On the Record, featuring more than 50 songs from the Disney catalogue, bows at Cleveland's Palace Theatre, starring Emily Skinner and Brian Sutherland. It will continue through summer 2005 but not go to Broadway.

2010 Simon Bent's Elling, an odd-couple comedy about two inmates from a mental institution who are given a shot at living on their own, opens on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Directed by Doug Hughes, the cast includes Brendan Fraser, Denis O'Hare, Jennifer Coolidge, Richard Easton and Jeremy Shamos. The production will close the following Sunday, after 9 performances.

2011 For the first time since they dazzled audiences in the original Broadway production of Evita, Tony winners Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin share a Broadway stage in An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin. The pair perform songs including "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues," "Don't Cry For Me Argentina," "Oh What a Circus," and the famous bench scene from Carousel. The limited engagement will run 63 performances at the Barrymore Theatre.

More of Today's Birthdays: Vivian Blaine 1921. Will B. Able 1923. Marlo Thomas 1937. Robert Drivas 1938. Laurence Luckinbill 1934. Lorna Luft 1952. Cherry Jones 1956.