Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 27

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 27
 
Little Shop of Horrors opens Off-Broadway at the Orpheum Theatre in 1982.
Lee Wilkof and Ellen Greene in <i>Little Shop of Horrors</i>
Lee Wilkof and Ellen Greene in Little Shop of Horrors Peter Cunningham

1982 Little Shop of Horrors begins a 2,209-performance run at Off-Broadway's Orpheum Theatre. Based on the Roger Corman cult classic about a man-eating plant, the Alan Menken-Howard Ashman musical stars Lee Wilkof and Ellen Greene. The 1986 film version of the musical, directed by Frank Oz, stars Rick Moranis, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, John Candy, and Greene reprising her stage role as Audrey.

2000 Nathan Lane stars as Sheridan Whiteside opposite Jean Smart as Lorraine Sheldon in a revival of the Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman play, The Man Who Came to Dinner, opening at the Roundabout Theatre Company's new Broadway house, the American Airlines Theatre.

2000 Martin McDonagh’s A Skull in Connemara opens at Seattle’s ACT Theatre in its first American staging. Part of the playwright’s Leeanne Trilogy, the work follows a gravedigger who comes across the remains of his late wife, dredging up memories and rumors about her mysterious death several years ago. The play goes on to receive an Off-Broadway staging from Roundabout Theatre Company at The Gramercy in 2001.

2001 Alan King plays legendary film producer Samuel Goldwyn in Mr. Goldwyn at New York Stage and Film in Poughkeepsie, New York. Marsha Lebby and John Lollos' play transfers Off-Broadway the following year.

2004 A production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd opens at London’s new Trafalgar Studios with a cast of actor-musicians performing the bloody tale of revenge and meat pies.

2006 Patrick Swayze makes his long-awaited West End debut in the production of Guys and Dolls as Nathan Detroit at the Piccadilly Theatre.

2008 I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, which opened Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre on August 1, 1996, plays its final performance. The musical revue played a total of 20 previews and 5,003 regular performances, making it the second longest-running musical in Off-Broadway history.

2009 The world premiere of Lila Rose Kaplan’s Wildflower, starring Nadia Bowers, Ron Cephas Jones, Quincy Dunn-Baker, Jake O'Connor, and Renée Felice Smith opens at Second Stage Uptown at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre.

2011 A Latin-themed adaptation of The Wizard Of Oz takes the stage when The Yellow Brick Road opens at Off-Broadway's Lucille Lortel Theatre. The production is directed by Devanand Janki and choreographed by Janki and Robert Tatad, starring Virginia Cavaliere as Dora, Natalie Toro as La Bruja, and Ryan Duncan as Scarecrow.

2015 Fernanda Coppel’s King Liz officially opens Off-Broadway at Second Stage Uptown, starring Karen Pittman as sports agent Liz Rico who fights to stay on top in a man’s industry. Directed by Lisa Peterson, the cast includes Michael Cullen, Jeremie Harris, Russell G. Jones, Caroline Lagerfelt, and Irene Sofia Lucio.

2016 Richard Strand’s Civil War-set historical dramedy Butler opens at 59E59. Inspired by real-life historical events, the play follows the story of Benjamin Butler and Shepard Mallory, an escaped slave who seeks sanctuary at Butler’s fort. Directed by Joseph Discher, the cast features Ames Adamson, John G. Williams, David Sitler, and Ben Sterling.

2018 The world premiere of Tom Kitt, Thomas Meehan, and Nell Benjamin's musical Dave, based on the 1993 film of the same name, opens at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Drew Gehling stars as Dave Kovic, a high school teacher (and presidential lookalike) who is hired by the Secret Service as a stand-in for the Commander-in-Chief. Directed by Tina Landau, the cast also includes Mamie Parris as the First Lady, and Douglas Sills as Chief of Staff.

Today's Birthdays: Alexandre Dumas, fils (1824–1895), Miles White (1914–2000), Keenan Wynn (1916–1986) Beatrice Pearson (1920–1986). Maureen McGovern (b. 1949), Simon Jones (b. 1950),.

Watch Little Shop of Horrors composer Alan Menken talk about the musical:

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