Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 21 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 21 In 1977, Annie opens on Broadway.
Reid Shelton and Andrea McArdle in the original Broadway production of Annie. Martha Swope / The New York Public Library

1925 Tallulah Bankhead and Edna Best are Fallen Angels at London's Globe Theatre. Noël Coward's comedy describes two wives who get drunk while trying to get even with their husbands for their indifference. Angels fly for 158 performances.

1927 The Field God works in mysterious ways. Paul Green's drama deals with a hardworking farmer who denies the god of his neighbors and suffers misfortune until he conforms. Fritz Leiber stars for the 45 performance run.

1941 The Beautiful People move into Broadway's Lyceum Theatre. William Saroyan's comedy deals with a woman who not only likes the packs of mice that live in her house but thinks they spell her name out with flowers. The play squeaks by for 15 weeks.

1949 Broadway diva Patti LuPone is born. She wins Tony Awards for her performances in the original Broadway production of Evita and 2008 revival of Gypsy. She also creates memorable roles in the world premieres of musicals Sunset Boulevard, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and War Paint, and revivals of Oliver!, Anything Goes, and Sweeney Todd.

1955 The evolution of the human race is just the tip of the argument in Inherit the Wind. Ed Begley and Paul Muni star in the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee drama based on the Scopes "monkey" trial. There are 806 performances at the National Theatre in New York.

1977 Tomorrow is today, as Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin's musical Annie opens on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre. Andrea McArdle stars as the young orphan whose "hard-knock life" turns from rags to riches when she meets tycoon Oliver Warbucks, played by Reid Shelton. The production garners Tony Awards for Best Musical as well as Best Actress for Dorothy Loudon who plays the warden-like Miss Hannigan.

2000 Four Guys Named José...and una Mujer named Maria!, a new Latin musical revue from David Coffman and Dolores Prida, begins performances Off-Broadway at the John Houseman Studio Theatre. The show that chronicles the Latin experience through multicultural musical favorites moves to Off-Broadway's Blue Angel Theater on September 18, where it runs through March 4, 2001.

2011 Jez Butterworth's hit London drama Jerusalem, about the indelible inhabitants of a slice of rural England, opens on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre. Mark Rylance wins a Tony Award for his performance as Johnny "Rooster" Byron, a former daredevil motorcyclist and modern-day Pied Piper, whose supply of drugs, tall tales, booze, and rock music draws young people to him.

2013 After acclaimed engagements in Scotland and at the Lincoln Center Festival, Alan Cumming's one-man Macbeth opens on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Set in a psychiatric unit, Cumming plays a patient who is reliving the story of Macbeth—bringing to life over 15 characters in Shakespeare's bloody work.

2014 Eric Coble's The Velocity of Autumn, starring Estelle Parsons as an artist who barricades herself in her Brooklyn brownstone, opens on Broadway at the Booth Theatre. Though Parsons and co-star Stephen Spinella receive positive reviews, opinions on the play are more mixed, and it runs only 16 performances.

2015 Lucy Simon, Michael Korie, Amy Powers, and Michael Weller's musical Doctor Zhivago opens on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre. Tam Mutu stars as Yurii Zhivago, opposite Kelli Barrett, Tom Hewitt, and Paul Nolan. It runs only 23 performances.

2016 Duncan Sheik and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's musical American Psycho, based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, opens at Broadway's Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Benjamin Walker stars as Wall Street banker Patrick Bateman. The production runs 54 performances.

2019 Nathan Lane, Kristine Nielsen, and Julie White create comic mayhem in Taylor Mac's Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus when it opens at the Booth Theatre. It earns seven Tony Award nominations and runs for 65 performances.

More of Today's Birthdays: Anthony Quinn (1915-2001). Elaine May (b. 1932). Charles Grodin (b. 1935). Tony Danza (b. 1951). John Cameron Mitchell (b. 1963). Christian Hoff (b. 1968). Claybourne Elder (b. 1982). Tavi Gevenson (b. 1996).

Look Back at Andrea McArdle and the Original Cast of Annie on Broadway

More Today in Theatre History

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