Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: May 7 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: May 7 In 1981, Elizabeth Taylor makes her Broadway debut in The Little Foxes.
Elizabeth Taylor in The Little Foxes. Martha Swope / The New York Public Library

1915 Among the dead after the sinking of the Lusitania are producer-manager Charles Frohman and playwright Charles Klein. Frohman's first success was Shenandoah. In 1893, he opened the Empire Theatre in New York with his own stock company. Two of Klein's plays, The Auctioneer and The Music Master, were produced by David Belasco. At the time of his death, Klein was a play reader for Frohman.

1924 This Marriage proves to be a short one. Tallulah Bankhead stars in the Eliot C. Williams drama which runs in London just 20 times. Cathleen Nesbitt, Herbert Marshall, and Auriol Lee are also in the cast.

1953 Lilo is the star, but a young dancer named Gwen Verdon steals the show at Cole Porter's Can-Can, which opens its 892-performance run at the Shubert Theatre.

1963 In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Tyrone Guthrie's namesake theatre opens with a production of Hamlet starring George Grizzard as the Prince and Jessica Tandy as Gertrude. Ralph Rapson designed the complex that cost 2.5 million dollars to construct and outfit.

1973 Ferenc Molnár's The Play's the Thing opens on Broadway at the Bijou Theater. Gene Feist stages the 11-week run with a cast that includes David Dukes and Elizabeth Owens.

1977 Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's Happy End makes its Broadway debut at the Martin Beck Theatre, transferring from a run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The production is meant to star Meryl Streep, Christopher Lloyd, and Grayson Hall, but Lloyd fell and tore two ligaments in his leg during rehearsals, and understudy Bob Gunton plays his role on opening night. A few nights later, Gunton himself is taken ill, and Lloyd is called back early from his recovery, performing with crutches and an ankle-to-hip cast.

1981 Austin Pendleton directs Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes, which opens at Broadway's Martin Beck Theatre. Elizabeth Taylor makes her Great White Way debut in the production that co-stars Maureen Stapleton, Anthony Zerbe, and Ann Talman.

1982 Craig Carnelia and Jeffrey Kindley ask Is There Life After High School? as their high school reunion–set revue opens at Broadway's Ethel Barrymore Theatre. With a cast including Alma Cuervo, Sandy Faison, Harry Groener, and understudy Scott Bakula, the musical will run just 12 performances but go on to become a favorite of community theatres.

2008 Manhattan Theatre Club's revival of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls opens at the Biltmore Theatre. Elizabeth Marvel, Martha Plimpton, and Marisa Tomei star.

2017 Tony Award-winning theatre veteran Barbara Cook, who began her Broadway career with the 1951 musical Flahooley, announces that she has retired from the stage at age 89. Cook earned a Tony Award for her performance as Marian Paroo in the original production of The Music Man, and also created roles in musicals including She Loves Me, Candide, Plain and Fancy, and The Grass Harp. Her final Broadway appearance was the 2010 musical retrospective Sondheim on Sondheim.

Today's Birthdays: Darren McGavin (1922-2006). Anne Baxter (1923-1985). Gordon Davidson (1933-2016). Nicholas Hytner (b. 1956). Eric LaJuan Summers (1982-2019).

From The Music Man to She Loves Me: Look Back at Barbara Cook on Broadway

More Today in Theatre History

Blocking belongs
on the stage,
not on websites.

Our website is made possible by
displaying online advertisements to our visitors.

Please consider supporting us by
whitelisting with your ad blocker.
Thank you!