Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 16 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 16 Happy birthday, Kelli O'Hara!
Kelli O'Hara in the 2015 Broadway revival of The King and I Paul Kolnik

1906 John Philip Sousa supplies the music for The Free Lance. Herbert Gresham stages the 35 performance run at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway.

1920 A pair of marooned teenagers discover love in The Blue Lagoon. Norman MacOwen and Charlton Mann based their drama on the H. De Vere Stacpoole novel. Harold French and Faith Celli are the twosome at London's Prince Of Wales Theatre.

1965 Anne of Green Gables plays at London's New Theatre. Based on L.M. Montgomery's novel, it stars Polly James as the orphan Anne who changes the lives of those around her. Donald Harron adapted the book and provides the lyrics for Norman Campbell's score.

1968 Author Edna Ferber dies in New York at age 81. She successfully collaborated with George S. Kaufman on the plays Dinner at Eight and Stage Door. Her novel Show Boat, was the basis for the musical.

1976 Tony Award winner Kelli O'Hara is born in Oklahoma. On Broadway, she originates roles in The Light in the Piazza and The Bridges of Madison County, and stars in revivals of The Pajama Game, South Pacific, The King and I, and Kiss Me, Kate.

1990 August Wilson's The Piano Lesson opens at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Charles S. Dutton stars alongside S. Epatha Merkerson as siblings in 1930s Pittsburgh who struggle over the choice to sell a family heirloom. Lloyd Richards directs the production that runs 320 performances. The play earns playwright Wilson his second Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

2000 Palm Sunday traditionally commemorates Jesus Christ's entrance into the city of Jerusalem. This Palm Sunday, however, marks the official entry of Jesus Christ Superstar into the Broadway season, as the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's rock opera opens at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

2001 The Proof is in the Pulitzer. The prestigious award goes to David Auburn's drama about a troubled young woman trying to prove that a mathematics breakthrough is her own work and not cribbed from her math-genius father.

2012 The world premiere of In Masks Outrageous and Austere, the final full-length play from Pulitzer Prize winner Tennessee Williams, opens Off-Broadway at Culture Project at 45 Bleecker. Directed by David Schweizer, the production stars Shirley Knight as Babe Foxworth.

2014 James Franco and Chris O'Dowd make their Broadway debuts in a revival of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, opening at the Longacre Theatre. Anna D. Shapiro directs the play, which Steinbeck adapted from his novel about two migrant field hands in California during the Great Depression.

2015 Lincoln Center Theater's revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic The King and I, starring Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe, opens on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. A cast of more than 50 is featured. The production wins four Tony Awards, including Best Actress in a Musical for O'Hara, and Best Revival of a Musical.

2019 Keri Russell makes her Broadway debut opposite Adam Driver, Brandon Uranowitz, and David Furr in the revival of Lanford Wilson's Burn This. The revival earns three Tony Award nominations, including Best Revival.

Today's Birthdays: Fifi D'Orsay (1904-1983). Barry Nelson (1917-2007). Peter Ustinov (1921-2004). Edie Adams (1927-2008). Robert Stigwood (1934-2016). Jay O. Sanders (b. 1953). Ellen Barkin (b. 1954). Russell Harvard (b. 1981). Neil Haskell (b. 1987).

Must See! Kelli O'Hara, Ken Watanabe and Company in Positively Regal New Shots From The King and I

More Today in Theatre History

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