Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 30

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 30
 
In 1948, Kiss Me, Kate opens on Broadway.
Patricia Morison, Alfred Drake, Lisa Kirk, and Harold Lang in Kiss Me, Kate.
Patricia Morison and Alfred Drake, pictured here with original Kiss Me, Kate Broadway co-stars Lisa Kirk and Harold Lang

1907 In The Comet, Alla Nazimova plays a woman who falls in love with her former lover's son, who eventually kills himself. Owen Johnson's first play, it runs for seven weeks.

1926 Chicago, Maurine Dallas Watkins' tale of a fast-living woman who shoots her husband, runs at the Music Box Theatre for 22 weeks. George Abbott and Francine Larrimore are in the cast. Forty-nine years later, Bob Fosse sets the story to the music of John Kander and Fred Ebb.

1948 Alfred Drake and Patricia Morison brush up their Shakespeare in Kiss Me, Kate, Cole Porter's musical opening at the New Century Theatre. Songs include "Wunderbar," "I Hate Men," "Bianca," "Always True To You (In My Fashion)," and "Too Darn Hot." The following year, it wins the first-ever Tony Award for Best Musical.

1953 The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker knows the geography of Pennsylvania well; he keeps one family in Wilmington and one in Philadelphia. Burgess Meredith plays the well-traveled man in the Liam O'Brien work.

1975 The Runner Stumbles exposes the doomed affection of a lonely priest and a loving nun. Austin Pendleton directs the world premiere of Milan Stitt's play at the Hartman Theatre in Stamford, Connecticut. The production transfers to Broadway the following year.

1979 Composer Richard Rodgers dies at age 77. He collaborated with Lorenz Hart on such shows as Babes in Arms, The Boys From Syracuse, and Pal Joey; with Oscar Hammerstein II on shows including Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, and The King and I; and Stephen Sondheim on the musical Do I Hear a Waltz? In 1990, the 46th Street Theatre is renamed in his honor.

1999 Jackie Mason's Much Ado About Everything opens at the John Golden Theatre. It is written and directed by Mason, who also stars in the comedy. The show runs for 186 performances.

2001 Two long-running Broadway revivals—Kiss Me, Kate and The Music Man—close. Both had been struggling since the 9/11 attacks cut into attendance.

2003 Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick return to their roles as Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom in Mel Brooks' Tony-winning musical The Producers, quickly restoring the show to SRO status.

Today's Birthdays: Michael Allinson (1920-2010). Joseph Bologna (1934-2017). Sheryl Lee Ralph (b. 1956). Tracey Ullman (b. 1959).

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