Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 18

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 18
 
In 2002, Hairspray plays its first preview on Broadway.
A scene from <i>Hairspray</i> on Broadway.
A scene from Hairspray on Broadway. Paul Kolnik

1928 Following the birth of "talkie" films, Variety prints an article focusing on the amount of legit theatre talent that is being sought for the new medium. Among those stage actors being pursued for the silver screen is a Yiddish Theatre star named Muni Wiesenfreund, whose name is later changed to Paul Muni.

1972 A compilation of four one-act plays by Frank D. Gilroy, titled Present Tense, opens at the Sheridan Square Playhouse. Starring in Come Next Tuesday, Twas Brillig, So Please Be Kind, and the title play are Biff McGuire and Lois Smith. There are only eight performances.

1985 The Negro Ensemble Company presents Trevor Rhone's Two Can Play at Off-Broadway's Theatre Four. The play that explores a victory over male chauvinism is directed by Clinton Turner Davis and stars Hazel J. Medina and Sullivan H. Walker.

1999 Laurie Metcalf returns to Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company as Maureen Folan in Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Directing the production is another prodigal son of Steppenwolf, Randall Arney.

2002 Future Tony-winning musical Hairspray plays its first Broadway preview at the Neil Simon Theatre.

2013 The New York premiere of Itamar Moses and Gaby Alter's musical Nobody Loves You, about a grad student who is unexpectedly cast on a reality TV dating show, opens at Off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre. The cast includes Bryan Fenkart, Leslie Kritzer, Lauren Molina, and Rory O'Malley.

2016 The New York premiere of James Graham and Josie Rourke's Privacy opens Off-Broadway at The Public Theater. Daniel Radcliffe stars in the boundary-pushing work inspired by a post-Edward Snowden view on privacy and technology.

Today's Birthdays: Eugene Lockhart (1891-1957). Dave Chasen (1898-1973). Clifford Odets (1906-1963). Lupe Velez (1908-1944). Hume Cronyn (1911-2003). Red Skelton (1913-1997). Dolph Sweet (1920-1985). Elizabeth McGovern (b. 1961). Craig Bierko (b. 1964). Wendy Williams (b. 1964). Kristen Bell (b. 1980).

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