Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 20

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 20
 
In 2000, Kirsten Childs' musical The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin opens Off-Broadway.
Cheryl Alexander, Jerry Dixon, Jonathan Dokuchitz, LaChanze, Duane Boutte, Darius deHaas, Robert Jason Jackson, and Myiia Watson-Davis in <i>The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin</i>
Cheryl Alexander, Jerry Dixon, Jonathan Dokuchitz, LaChanze, Duane Boutte, Darius deHaas, Robert Jason Jackson, and Myiia Watson-Davis in The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin Joan Marcus

1905 Birthday of playwright Lillian Hellman, who writes The Children's Hour, The Little Foxes, Another Part of the Forest, Watch on the Rhine, and the book to the musical Candide.

1910 Florenz Ziegfeld opens the Ziegfeld Follies of 1910 with actor Bert Williams as co-star, marking the first time white and black entertainers have appeared on stage together in a major Broadway production.

1929 The musical revue Hot Chocolates opens a 219-performance run at the Hudson Theatre, featuring some of the great stars of Harlem nightclubs, including the Broadway debut of Louis Armstrong, and a score by Fats Waller, Harry Brooks, and Andy Razaf.

1970 Birthday of composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown, who writes the Tony Award-winning scores for the musicals Parade and The Bridges of Madison County. Other works include The Last Five Years, 13, and Honeymoon in Vegas.

1984 The first Broadway revival of Noël Coward's Design for Living opens at the Circle in the Square Theatre for a run of 245 performances. Directed by George C. Scott, it stars Jill Clayburgh, Raul Julia, and Frank Langella.

1989 A musical version of Death of a Salesman? That's what the Jewish boy in The Loman Family Picnic dreams of writing while his family stresses about his bar mitzvah. The play by Donald Margulies opens at Manhattan Theatre Club's City Center Stage 2.

2000 Composer-lyricist-librettist Kirsten Childs' musical about Viceca "Bubbly" Stanton, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, gets its world premiere at Playwrights Horizons. Wilfredo Medina directs and A.C. Ciulla choreographs the musical memoir starring LaChanze.

2002 Thunder Knocking on the Door, the musical blues fable about the Devil and a Southern-fried guitar-licks competition, premieres Off-Broadway starring Tony Award winners Leslie Uggams and Chuck Cooper. Oskar Eustis directs. The show is written by Keith Glover, with original music by Keb' Mo' and Anderson Edwards.

2003 Bounce, the first musical collaboration between composer Stephen Sondheim and director Hal Prince in more than two decades, opens a tryout at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. It moves on to Washington D.C. and plays out a limited run without moving to New York. In 2008, John Doyle directs a revised version of the musical at Off-Broadway's Public Theater under the title Road Show.

2006 The Broadway company of Beauty and the Beast plays its 5,000th performance.

2012 The York Theatre Company presents the first New York City revival of Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire's 1989 revue Closer Than Ever. Directed by Maltby, the production stars Jenn Colella, George Dvorsky, Christiane Noll, and Sal Viviano. Originally announced for a limited run through July 14, the critically acclaimed production extends three times and runs 150 performances.

2019 The Roundabout Theatre Company production of Lydia R. Diamond’s Toni Stone officially opens Off-Broadway. The play, directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon, is the story of Toni Stone, the first woman baseball player to go pro in the Negro Leagues, and the first woman ever to play professionally in a men's baseball league. The world premiere stars April Matthis in the title role, alongside an all-male ensemble made up of Eric Berryman, Harvy Blanks, Phillip James Brannon, Daniel J. Bryant, Jonathan Burke, Toney Goins, Kenn E. Head, and Ezra Knight.

More of Today's Birthdays Ellis Rabb (1930–1988). Olympia Dukakis (b. 1931-2021). Danny Aiello (1933–2019). John Mahoney (1940–2018). John Goodman (b. 1952). Chuck Wagner (b. 1958). Nicole Kidman (b. 1967). Josh Lucas (b. 1971). Sarah Stiles (b. 1979).

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