Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 23 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 23 In 2005, S. Epatha Merkerson, Charles Weldon, and Billy Porter open in Cheryl L. West's Birdie Blue at Second Stage Theatre.
Charles Weldon and S. Epatha Merkerson in Birdie Blue Joan Marcus

1927 Birthday of Robert Louis Fosse, better known as Bob Fosse, master director-choreographer known for his sexy hip-swiveling dances in shows including The Pajama Game, Sweet Charity, Chicago, Pippin, and Dancin'.

1970 The Royal Shakespeare Company revival of Dion Boucicault's 19th-century comedy London Assurance, starring Judi Dench, opens at the Aldwych Theatre in London. Directed by Ronald Eyre, the production soon becomes a repertory hit and transfers, on April 5, 1972, to the New Theatre in London's West End. The show plays 390 performances at that venue, and later transfers to Broadway's Palace Theatre.

1977 A revival of George Bernard Shaw's Candida opens at the West End's Alberly Theatre. Michael Blakemore directs a cast headed by Hollywood legend Deborah Kerr.

1981 After years of touring, stripper Ann Corio brings her This Was Burlesque revue to Broadway's Princess Theatre, where it stays just 28 performances.

1982 An outcry is heard as a group of prominent theatre writers, Arthur Miller and Stephen Sondheim among them, place an open letter advertisement in Variety to protest the minimal attention playwrights have received on the Tony Awards telecasts up to that time. An excerpt from that complaint follows: "No sane person would possibly believe that authors are less important to the theatre than are actors, directors, and producers. Nevertheless, from the onset of the televised Tony Awards, authors have either been entirely ignored or denied their proper recognition. This situation will no longer be tolerated."

1999 Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman makes his directorial debut Off-Broadway with the world premiere of Stephen Adly Guirgis' In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings, at New York City's Center Stage. The LAByrinth Theater Company production extends twice before closing July 17.

2003 Broadway's venerable Martin Beck Theatre is rechristened the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, after the theatrical caricaturist.

2005 Cheryl L. West's Birdie Blue, starring S. Epatha Merkerson, Charles Weldon, and Billy Porter, opens at Second Stage Theatre. Seret Scott stages the New York premiere.

2008 The Epic Theatre Ensemble production of Judith Thompson's Palace of the End opens at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Playwrights Horizons. Daniella Topol directs the 2008 Blackburn Prize winning trio of monologues starring Teri Lamm, Heather Raffo, and Rocco Sisto.

2015 The world premiere musical Bend It Like Beckham, based on the 2002 film of the same name, opens at the Phoenix Theatre in London's West End. Directed by Gurinder Chadha, who also directed the original film, it features a book by Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges, music by Howard Goodall, and lyrics by Charles Hart.

More of Today's Birthdays: Jean Anouilh (1910–1987). Irene Worth (1916–2002). Larry Blyden (1925–1975). Bert Convy (1933–1991). Frances McDormand (b. 1957). Jeffrey Carlson (b. 1975). Jason Mraz (b. 1977). Christy Altomare (b. 1986).

A Look at the Shows Bob Fosse Brought to the Stage

More Today in Theatre History

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