Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 26

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 26
 
Head Over Heels opens, with star Peppermint making history as the first woman who openly identifies as trans to originate a principal role on Broadway.

1856 A dramatic genius is born in the person of George Bernard Shaw. Among Shaw's many playwriting credits are Pygmalion, Man and Superman, and Saint Joan. The first, a comedy about one Professor Henry Higgins determined to turn a cockney flower girl into a "lady," becomes the basis for the Alan Jay Lerner-Frederick Loewe masterpiece My Fair Lady.

1945 Stage and film star Helen Mirren is born in London, England. She receives repeated acclaim for playing Queen Elizabeth II, winning an Academy Award for the film The Queen, and Tony and Olivier Awards for The Audience. In 2003, she receives a damehood for services to drama.

1955 The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Company presents King Lear. Sir John Gielgud, Helen Cherry, and Claire Bloom star in the William Shakespeare tragedy.

1999 Andrea Martin is The Cat in the Hat in the workshop of the new Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty musical The Seussical (later known as Seussical the Musical, and then just Seussical) in Toronto. Director Frank Galati helms a cast that includes Kevin Chamberlin, Jason Fuchs, Janine LaManna, David Lowenstein, Michele Pawk, and others. The musical based on the work of late children's author Dr. Seuss (real name: Theodore Geisel) opens at Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre on November 30, 2000—but with David Shiner as the Cat.

2000 Thrice extended at Chicago's Goodman Studio Theatre, Rebecca Gilman's comedy Spinning Into Butter opens Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. Directed by Daniel Sullivan, the show featuring Hope Davis and Daniel Jenkins exposes the cosmetic and sometimes destructive political correctness that erupts on a small Vermont college campus when an African-American student finds several racist notes pinned to his door.

2006 Gavin Creel makes his London stage debut in the West End production of Mary Poppins.

2010 The New York premiere of Leslye Headland's Bachelorette, starring Celia Keenan-Bolger, Tracee Chimo, Katherine Waterston, Fran Kranz, Eddie Kaye Thomas, and Carmen M. Herlihy as attendees of a bachelorette party that goes bad, opens at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre as part of Second Stage Uptown series. Headland later writes and directs a feature film adaptation of the play.

2018 The musical Head Over Heels, which combines Sir Philip Sydney's 16th-century pastoral romance Arcadia with the songs of the 1980's female rock group The Go-Go's, opens on Broadway at the Hudson Theatre. The cast includes Jeremy Kushnier, Rachel York, Alexandra Socha, Peppermint, Andrew Durand, Taylor Iman Jones, Bonnie Milligan, and Tom Alan Robbins.

2019 Singer-songwriter Barry Manilow returns to Broadway for a limited concert engagement at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

More of Today's Birthdays: Aldous Huxley (1894–1963). Gracie Allen (1895–1964). Herbert Fields (1897–1958). Vivian Vance (1909–1979). Blake Edwards (1922–2010). Jason Robards, Jr. (1922–2000). Santo Loquasto (b. 1944). Jeremy Piven (b. 1965). Tamyra Gray (b. 1979).

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