Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 5

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 5
 
In 2002, Brian Stokes Mitchell stars in a Broadway revival of Man of La Mancha.
Brian Stokes Mitchell in the 2002 Broadway revival of Man of La Mancha.
Brian Stokes Mitchell in the 2002 Broadway revival of Man of La Mancha. Joan Marcus

1921 Novelist Theodore Dreiser's play, The Hand of the Potter, opens at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York. Scenes range from the poverty-stricken Lower East Side to the lavish-living Upper. There are 21 performances.

1927 The Shubert Theatre Corporation notes to the New York Stock Exchange that it owns 104 first-class theatres, and by this date 60 percent of all first-class legitimate theatre productions are housed in Shubert theatres.

1930 Overture, a drama by William Bolitho, opens at the Longacre Theatre. The story deals with a post-war rebellion in Germany. The cast of the 41 performance run includes Pat O'Brien, William Foran, and Barbara Robbins.

1941 A Victorian-era husband convinces his wife she's going mad in Patrick Hamilton's Angel Street, which opens today at the John Golden Theatre. The play will go on to be adapted for the screen, using the work's more appropriate British title, Gaslight.

1955 Ruth Gordon stars in Thornton Wilder's comedy The Matchmaker at the Royale Theatre. Produced by The Theatre Guild and David Merrick, it runs 486 performances. In 1964, Merrick has an even bigger success when he produces a musical adaptation of the play on Broadway, called Hello, Dolly!

1966 Mary Martin and Robert Preston explore 50 years of married life in I Do! I Do! The Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt musical, based on Jan de Hartog's play The Fourposter, runs 560 performances at the 46th Street Theatre.

1991 Freddie Roman, Marilyn Michaels, Mal Z. Lawrence, and Dick Capri star in Roman's Catskills on Broadway, which opens at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

2001 Barely 12 weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, Pulitzer-winner Tony Kushner debuts a drama about the conflicts in the Middle East, Homebody/Kabul, at New York Theatre Workshop. The piece was programmed and planned long before the tragedy. As a work-in-progress, it had a run at London's Chelsea Theatre Centre in 1999 starring British actor Kika Markham. The Off-Broadway production stars Linda Emond.

2002 Broadway reverberates with Brian Stokes Mitchell's baritone singing "The Impossible Dream" when he opens a revival of Man of La Mancha at the Martin Beck Theatre, co-starring Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Dulcinea and Ernie Sabella as Sancho. It runs six months.

2004 Billy Crystal opens his autobiographical solo show700 Sundays, named for the number of Sundays Crystal shared with his father before his death when Crystal was 15, at the Broadhurst Theatre. The production plays a limited run of 163 performances, and will go on to return to Broadway in 2014 and be filmed on stage for broadcast on HBO.

2012 The musical The Bodyguard, based on the 1992 film of the same name about a former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard who is hired to protect a singing superstar, opens at the West End's Adelphi Theatre. Heather Headley makes her West End debut in the role of Rachel Marron, created on screen by Whitney Houston. The show features features a multitude of Whitney Houston’s greatest hits including "One Moment in Time," "Saving All My Love," "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," and "I Will Always Love You."

2019 Seven-time Grammy Award-winner Alanis Morissette's landmark album Jagged Little Pill is adapted into a Broadway musical telling the story of seemingly perfect Healy family who are forced to choose between maintaining the status quo or facing harsh truths about themselves, their community, and the world around them. The production will go on to become the most Tony-nominated show of 2020, with nominations for Best Musical and for stars Elizabeth Stanley, Sean Allan Krill, Derek Klena, Kathryn Gallagher, Celia Rose Gooding, and Lauren Patten, among others.

Today's Birthdays: Nunnally Johnson (1897-1977). Otto Preminger (1905-1986). Larry Kert (1930-1991). Sheridan Morley (1941-2007). Baayork Lee (b. 1946). Pamela Blair (b. 1949). Jennifer Laura Thompson (b. 1969).

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