Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 14

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 14
 
In 2008, Shrek the Musical opens on Broadway.
Brian d'Arcy James, Daniel Breaker, and Sutton Foster in Shrek the Musical.
Brian d'Arcy James, Daniel Breaker, and Sutton Foster in Shrek the Musical. Joan Marcus

1885 Birthday of Brock Pemberton, producer of many Broadway plays and comedies during a 30-year career, including the original Harvey, Miss Lulu Bett, Six Characters in Search of an Author, The Ladder, and Janie.

1925 Merchants of Glory have made an industry out of the memory of a local dead hero. When that hero turns up suffering from amnesia, they convince him to disappear again. The Theatre Guild performance of Marcel Pagnol and Paul Nivoix's play earns 42 showings.

1932 Birthday of George Furth, author of librettos to musicals Company, The Act, Hot Spot, and Merrily We Roll Along, and of his own plays, including Twigs.

1936 George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart prove You Can't Take It With You at the Booth Theatre. Henry Travers, Josephine Hull, and Mitzi Hajos are among the zany household.

1945 Betty Field stars as Dream Girl at the Coronet Theatre. Elmer Rice, married to Field, stages his own work.

1950 The gap in social classes always comes down to the Lace on Her Petticoat. The Aimee Stuart play set in turn-of-the-century Scotland runs at London's Ambassadors Theatre.

1966 "Rather than subject the drama critics and the theater-going public—who invested $1-million in advance ticket sales—to an excruciatingly boring evening," producer David Merrick closes the musical Breakfast at Tiffany's during previews. The production starred Richard Chamberlain as Jeff, alongside Mary Tyler Moore in her not quite Broadway debut as Holly Golightly.

1976 George C. Scott plays a con man in Larry Gelbart's Gold Rush-era comedy Sly Fox, based on Ben Jonson's Volpone. The supporting cast includes Jack Gilford, Bob Dishy, Hector Elizondo, and Scott's wife, Trish Van Devere. It plays at the Broadhurst Theatre.

1978 Dorothy Loudon plays a middle-aged woman who finds a second life on the dance floor in Michael Bennett's musical Ballroom, based on Queen of the Stardust Ballroom. It runs at the Majestic Theatre.

1989 Jay Allen's Tru, which recounts the life of Truman Capote in his own words, opens at the Booth Theatre. The writer is played Robert Morse, who wins a Tony Award.

1997 Allison Janney, Brittany Murphy, Anthony LaPaglia, and Stephen Spinella star in a revival of Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge at Criterion Center Stage Right for a limited run before moving to the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway in the same season. The Michael Mayer-helmed production scores two Tonys: Best Revival of a Play and Best Actor for LaPaglia.

1999 Julie Andrews, the legendary stage and screen star of My Fair Lady, Camelot, The Sound of Music, and Mary Poppins, files a medical malpractice lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. She underwent an allegedly botched throat surgery in 1997 and, as a result, says she is no longer able to sing.

2006 A revival of the musical The Apple Tree opens at Roundabout's Studio 54, based on the 2005 New York City Center Encores! presentation. Kristin Chenoweth, Brian D'Arcy James, Marc Kudisch, and more star, with direction by Gary Griffin.

2008 DreamWorks Pictures makes its first foray into Broadway producing as the stage adaptation of its popular animated film Shrek opens at the Broadway Theatre. Shrek the Musical stars Brian d'Arcy James as the green ogre of the title, Sutton Foster as the princess he saves, and Daniel Breaker as his donkey sidekick. Jason Moore directs the show, which has music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire.

2011 Lysistrata Jones, a peppy musical by Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn that transposes the action of the Greek classic Lysistrata from the Peleponnesian Wars to the world of college basketball, opens on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Dan Knechtges directs a cast including Patti Murin, Josh Segarra, Jason Tam, Lindsay Nicole Chambers, and Liz Mikel.

More of Today's Birthdays: Jane Cowl (1883–1950), Dan Dailey (1915–1978), Lee Remick (1935–1991), Marilyn Cooper (1936–2009), Patty Duke (1946–2016), John Du Prez (b. 1946), Celia Weston (b. 1951), Alice Ripley (b. 1963), Eric Anderson (b. 1972), Tammy Blanchard (b. 1976), Vanessa Hudgens (b. 1988)

Watch highlights from the 2011 Broadway musical Lysistrata Jones:

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