PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: MARCH 3

By David Gewirtzman
and Anne Bradley, Ernio Hernandez and Robert Viagas
March 3, 2014

1930 Bert Lahr is a Flying High mechanic who breaks an aeronautical record because he doesn't know how to land the plane. The writing team of Buddy DeSylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson provide the lyrics and the score. Kate Smith plays Lahr's love interest.



1947 John Gielgud stages and stars as John Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest. Oscar Wilde's comedy will run at the Royale Theatre in New York for 10 weeks.

1959 NoŽl Coward asks for someone to Look After Lulu at the Henry Miller Theatre in New York. Audiences do, for a five-week run of this adaptation of Georges Feydeau's Occupe-toi d'Amelie. Tammy Grimes stars.

1973 American theatrical producer Richard Halliday dies today. He was co-producer of the Broadway productions of Peter Pan, The Sound of Music, and Jennie , all starring his wife Mary Martin. He was 68 years old.

1987 David Daniel Kaminsky, known to Broadway and film audiences as Danny Kaye, dies of a heart attack today in California. He made his Broadway debut in 1939 in the The Straw Hat Revue, but his 11-minute part in the 1940 musical Lady in the Dark, in which he sang the names of 54 Russian composers in 38 seconds, would bring him acclaim and lead to his years in film. He would return to Broadway in 1970 in Two by Two, despite an injury that forced him to use crutches or a wheelchair.

1994 Bebe Neuwirth gets whatever she wants as Lola in the revival of Richard Adler, Jerry Ross and George Abbott musical Damn Yankees. The production opens at the Marquis Theatre and features Victor Garber as the devilish Mr. Applegate, later to be replaced by Jerry Lewis.

2002 Jason Robert Brown's semi-autobiographical musical The Last Five Years opens Off-Broadway. Sherie Rene Scott and Norbert Leo Butz are the entire cast of the musical, about the breakup of a marriage between a novelist and an actress.

2005 Opening night for the musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which stars John Lithgow, Norbert Leo Butz, Sherie Rene Scott, Joanna Gleason and Gregory Jbara, with a score by David Yazbek. The show will be nominated for several Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Score, and will win for Best Actor in a Musical (Butz).

2010 The first Broadway revival of William Gibson's The Miracle Worker opens at the Circle in the Square Theatre. Abigail Breslin and Alison Pill star as Helen Keller and teacher Annie Sullivan in the true story that inspired generations. Despite positive reviews for the two leads, the production fails to catch on with audiences and closes after 38 performances.

2011 Good People, David Lindsay-Abaire's humor-laced drama about a paycheck-to-paycheck single mom reaching out to an old flame, who is now a success, opens on Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. The production stars Frances McDormand, who wins a Tony Award for her performance.

2013 A classic fairytale gets a happy ending, when Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's Cinderella opens at the Broadway Theatre more than 50 years after it premiered on black-and-white television screens in 1957. The staging, which features a new book by Douglas Carter Beane, stars Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana.

Today's Birthdays: Edna Best 1900. Canada Lee 1907. Jay Presson Allen 1922. Barney Martin 1923.