Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: January 12 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: January 12 The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, starring Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis, opens on Broadway on this date in 2012.
Jessie Mueller in Beautiful Joan Marcus

1878 Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnár is born in Budapest. He writes The Good Fairy, The Play's the Thing, The Guardsman, The Swan, and Liliom, the last of which is adapted by Rodgers and Hammerstein as the musical Carousel.

1914 When a mad professor wants to suppress films, what will happen to The Queen of the Movies? The musical starring Vallie Valli runs 13 weeks at the Winter Garden.

1932 Leslie Howard stars and co-produces with Gilbert Miller, The Animal Kingdom. Philip Barry's comedy about a man whose wife has sapped his vitality runs a lively 23 weeks at the Broadhust Theatre.

1938 For just five performances, Henry Miller's Theatre turns into Tortilla Flat. Jack Kirkland adapted John Steinbeck's novel of life in a California slum.

1941 Albert Hackett and Peggy Conklin are Mr. and Mrs. North. Frances Lockridge and Richard Lockridge conceived the sleuthing couple for the New Yorker magazine; Owen Davis adapted the comedy at the Belasco Theatre.

1986 Terrence McNally's farce, It's Only a Play, opens Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club. It stars Joanna Gleason, David Garrison, Christine Baranski, and Paul Benedict. In 2014, McNally revises the play for a Broadway production starring Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, Nathan Lane, and Megan Mullally.

2011 Frank McGuinness' adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's 1896 drama John Gabriel Borkman, starring Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, and Lindsay Duncan, opens at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. James Macdonald directs the production, which premiered at Dublin's Abbey Theatre the previous fall.

2012 Broadway gets a new look at Catfish Row, with a fresh dramatic perspective and a cast boasting Norm Lewis and Audra McDonald, when The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess opens on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The production, which condenses George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, and Dorothy Heyward's four-hour folk opera into a two-and-a-half-hour staging, wins Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical (Audra McDonald).

2014 Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, starring Jessie Mueller as the Grammy Award-winning musician whose Brooklyn roots would lead to the soundtrack of a generation, opens on Broadway at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. The musical tells the story of King's rise to stardom as songwriter and solo artist, and features the hit songs of King and Gerry Goffin, and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Mueller wins a Tony Award for her performance, and the show continues on Broadway for 2,416 performances.

More of Today's Birthdays: Texas Guinan (1884-1933). Jack McGowan (1894-1977). Tex Ritter (1905-1974). Jose Limon (1908-1972). Patsy Kelly (1910-1981). Luise Rainer (1910-2014). André De Shields (b. 1946). Oliver Platt (b. 1960). Simon Russell Beale (b. 1961).

Watch scenes from Broadway's Beautiful: The Carole King Musical:

More Today in Theatre History

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