Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: October 12

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: October 12
 
Happy birthday, Hugh Jackman.
Hugh Jackman in <i>The Boy From Oz</i>
Hugh Jackman in The Boy From Oz Joan Marcus

1914 Broadway premiere of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, with Mrs. Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle. The drama serves as the basis of the 1956 musical My Fair Lady.

1925 Opening night for the drama Craig's Wife, which wins the 1926 Pulitzer Prize for drama.

1935 Cole Porter and Moss Hart join forces for the musical Jubilee, about British royalty. It runs at the Imperial Theatre, with Mary Boland and Margaret Adams.

1950 The Irving Berlin musical Call Me Madam opens at the Imperial Theatre. With Ethel Merman being the primary basis for pushing the show, Walter Winchell says "they ought to call it Call Me Merman!" The show's story is suggested by the appointment of Washington hostess Perle Mesta as Ambassador to Luxembourg. Merman's co-stars include Paul Lukas, Alan Hewitt, Russell Nype, and Galina Talva.

1964 James Earl Jones is once again in the spotlight playing the title character in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of Othello. The show runs Off-Broadway at the Martinique Theatre.

1965 Brilliant and tortured British farceur Joe Orton makes his Broadway debut with Entertaining Mr. Sloane at the Lyceum Theatre.

1968 Birthday of stage and film star Hugh Jackman, whose Broadway appearances include The Boy from Oz (for which he won a Tony), A Steady Rain, The River, and Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway.

1971 "What's the buzz?/Tell me what's happening" is heard for the first time on Broadway, as all the buzz is focused on fairly unknown composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar. The show, based on the platinum-selling album, opens at the Mark Hellinger Theatre. Stars for the original Broadway production include Ben Vereen, Jeff Fenholt, and Yvonne Elliman. The show proves a perennial both in New York and on the road.

1995 The one-diva show, Patti LuPone on Broadway, opens at the Walter Kerr Theatre. John McDaniel, later known for musical direction on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, is in charge of musical arrangement for the production.

1999 A woman struggles to gain back her memory amidst a bizarre group of friends, enemies, and family in David Lindsay-Abaire's Fuddy Meers, which begins Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club's Stage II. J. Smith-Cameron stars in the world-premiere comedy, directed by David Petrarca, with an original musical score by Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown. The following year, the production transfers to a commercial run at the Minetta Lane Theatre.

2000 Christopher Shinn, the 25-year-old American playwright whose works have seen the stage in England, sees the U.S. premiere of his play, Other People, at Playwrights Horizons' Studio Theater. Tim Farrell directs the drama, which is set in Manhattan's East Village during the winter holidays. In the piece, roommates rethink their views on art, money, and sex.

2001 Kristen Johnston, Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Tilly, and Rue McClanahan are among the stars opening in the Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway revival of The Women.

2006 The American premiere of Simon Mendes da Costa's Losing Louie opens at Biltmore Theatre. The Manhattan Theatre Club production is directed by Jerry Zaks, starring Matthew Arkin, Scott Cohen, Mark Linn-Baker, Patricia Kalember, Michele Pawk, Rebecca Creskoff, and Jama Williamson.

2006 The Marriage Bed, Nona Shepphard's London play about two women in love, opens in its American premiere at the Sanford Meisner Theater in NYC.

2008 A political scandal is the focus of the Culture Project's production of Ronan Noone's The Atheist, which officially opens Off-Broadway Oct. 12 starring Campbell Scott.

2010 The Broadway premiere of David Mamet's 1977 comedic drama A Life in the Theatre, which explores the lives of two acting colleagues—one at the beginning of his career and one near the end—opens at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight co-star.

2014 Billy Porter's While I Yet Live, with Lillias White and S. Epatha Merkerson, premieres Off-Broadway at the Duke on 42nd Street. The semi-autobiographical play is directed by Sheryl Kaller.

2015 Joe DiPietro's new comedy, Clever Little Lies, opens at the Westside Theatre Upstairs, starring Greg Mullavey, George Merrick, Marlo Thomas, and Kate Wetherhead. David Saint directs.

2017 Springsteen on Broadway, rock legend Bruce Springsteen's intimate blend of autobiographical solo play and acoustic concert, opens at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Originally announced for an eight-week engagement, it extends multiple times, playing sold out performances for more than a year. Springsteen receives a Special Tony Award for the show.

More of Today's Birthdays: Helena Modjeska (1840–1909) Lyn Harding (1876–1952), Chris Smith (1879-1949), David Ffolkes (1912–1966), Alice Childress (1916-2011), Charles Gordone (1925–1995), Jeffrey Ash (1945–1994), Sally Murphy (b. 1962), Brian J. Smith (b. 1981), Tyler Hanes (b. 1982)

Watch highlights from Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway:

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