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

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 21 In 2002, Elaine Stritch at Liberty opens on Broadway.
Elaine Stritch in At Liberty

1879 John Wellington Wells does magic and spells on Broadway for the first time with the American premiere of W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's The Sorcerer at the old Broadway Theatre.

1928 A killer octopus threatens a group stranded in a lighthouse in Ralph Murphy and Donald Gallagher's Sh, the Octopus. It runs 47 performances at the Royale Theatre and is later filmed.

1938 Wine of Choice proves bitter for a woman smitten with a dedicated Marxist who has no time for love. The Theatre Guild produces the S. N. Behrman comedy with a cast that includes Alexander Woollcott. It runs 43 performances.

1958 Portofino gives the first of its three performances at the Adelphi Theatre. Helen Gallagher stars in the show, written by Louis Bellson, Will Irwin, Richard Ney, and Sheldon Harnick.

1961 The Changeling by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley is revived for the first time since the 17th century. London's Royal Court Theatre production stars Robert Shaw, Mary Ure, and Zoe Caldwell. Tony Richardson directs.

1972 Michael Weller captures the Flower Power sweeping America's colleges in Moonchildren. The Royale Theatre production closes after only two weeks.

1991 Neil Simon preserves his stronghold on Broadway as Lost in Yonkers opens at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The Tony and Pulitzer-winning comedy/drama stars Mercedes Ruehl and Irene Worth.

2002 Elaine Stritch opens her solo show Elaine Stritch at Liberty at Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre. The show wins the 2002 Tony Award for Best Special Event.

2008 The Menier Chocolate Factory's hit London production of Sunday in the Park With George starring Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell opens at Studio 54. Directed by Sam Buntrock, the production used animated drawings (designed by Timothy Bird) to illustrate the progress of the painting that forms the show's centerpiece.

2019 Joel Grey directs a revival of the musical Fiddler on the Roof, performed entirely in Yiddish, Off-Broadway at Stage 42. The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene production started as an extended run at the the Museum of Jewish Heritage in lower Manhattan. Steven Skybell stars as Tevye opposite Jennifer Babiak as his wife, Golde, and Jackie Hoffman as village gossip and matchmaker Yente.

Today's Birthdays: Sacha Guitry (1885-1957). Joseph A. Fields (1895-1966). Rue McClanahan (1935-2010). David Geffen (b. 1943). Tyne Daly (b. 1946). Alan Rickman (1946-2016). Christine Ebersole (b. 1953). Kelsey Grammer (b. 1955). Andréa Burns (b. 1971). Nicole Parker (b. 1978). Tituss Burgess (b. 1979). Corbin Bleu (b. 1989).

More Today in Theatre History

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