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

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: January 21 Pulitzer Prize-winning A Soldier's Play makes its Broadway debut in 2020, starring Blair Underwood, David Alan Grier, and Jerry O'Connell.
Fred Stone and David C. Montgomery as the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman in The Wizard of Oz. Windeatt / The New York Public Library

1903 Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion are first seen on Broadway in the original musical The Wizard of Oz, with music by Paul Tietjens and a book and lyrics by L. Frank Baum himself, based on his 1900 novel. Highlighted by vaudeville stars Fred Stone and David C. Montgomery as the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman, the production runs 293 performances.

1926 As a 300-year-old-opera star who wants to live three hundred more, Helen Menken must discover The Makroploulus Secret. The drama, staged by Charles Hopkins, runs for 11 weeks.

1929 James Whale (of filmdom's Frankenstein renown) directs Journey's End at London's Savoy Theatre. R.C. Sherriff's drama, depicting life for British soldiers in the trenches of World War I, runs 485 performances.

1936 Raymond Massey, Pauline Lord, and Ruth Gordon are the triangle in the solemn yet devastating Ethan Frome. The adaptation of Edith Wharton's novella by Owen and Donald Davis runs 15 weeks at the National Theatre in New York.

1950 Alec Guinness, Irene Worth, and Cathleen Nesbitt imbibe at The Cocktail Party. Written by T.S. Eliot, the drama runs at Henry Miller's Theatre in New York for 409 performances.

1991 Spalding Gray tells the story of his long work on an unfinished novel in his autobiographical monologue Monster in a Box, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater.

2010 A Broadway production of Noël Coward's 1942 comedy Present Laughter, starring Victor Garber as graying matinee idol Garry Essendine, opens at the Roundabout Theatre Company's American Airlines Theatre. Directed by Nicholas Martin, the cast also includes Harriet Harris as tart-tongued secretary Monica Reed and Brooks Ashmanskas as mad young playwright Roland Maul.

2020 Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about an officer's attempts to unravel the crime of a Black sergeant's murder, A Soldier's Play opens at Roundabout's American Airlines Theatre. Directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon, the revival (though the first Broadway production) stars Tony nominee David Alan Grier, Blair Underwood, and Jerry O'Connell.

Today's Birthdays Paul Scofield (1922–2008). Jill Eikenberry (b. 1947). Jan Neuberger (b. 1953). Donna Lynne Champlin (b. 1971).

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