Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 3

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 3
Paulo Szot and Kelli O'Hara in South Pacific.
Paulo Szot and Kelli O'Hara in South Pacific. Joan Marcus

1911 Minnie Maddern Fiske stars as Mrs. Bumpstead-Leigh, a woman anxious to conceal her mid-continent past under a veneer of British manners. Harry James Smith's comedy runs at the Lyceum on Broadway.

1924 Birthday of actor Marlon Brando, who stars as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway before heading off to Hollywood, where he recreates that role, and co-stars in Guys and Dolls and many other film classics.

1947 George Abbott stages the Barefoot Boy With Cheek at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York. Max Shulman devised the musical about college radicals. Sylvia Dee and Sidney Lippman provide words and music. Red Buttons and Nancy Walker are in the cast.

1950 German-born composer Kurt Weill dies in New York at age 50. Among his many works are Threepenny Opera, Mahagonny, Knickerbocker Holiday, and Lady in the Dark.

1958 Say, Darling—isn't this a musical about a musical? Abe Burrows and Richard Bissell fashion the story about the transformation of Bissell's novel 7 1/2 Cents into the Broadway musical The Pajama Game. Jule Styne composes the score, and Betty Comden and Adolph Green provide the lyrics. Vivian Blaine, Johnny Desmond, and David Wayne head the cast.

1980 Herbert Ross directs Neil Simon's I Ought to Be in Pictures, which opens at Broadway's Eugene O'Neill Theatre. The play about a screenwriter and his distant daughter stars Dinah Manoff, Joyce Van Patten, and Ron Leibman.

2000 The sound of 76 trombones blares on Broadway when Susan Stroman's revival of Meredith Willson's The Music Man begins performances at the Neil Simon Theatre. The well-received revival opens April 27, stars Craig Bierko and Rebecca Luker, and settles in for a 699-performance run.

2005 Nearly 400 years after his death, William Shakespeare is a hit on Broadway yet again—with a little help from Denzel Washington, who stars as Brutus in Julius Caesar.

2008 The first-ever Broadway revival of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's South Pacific opens at Lincoln Center Theater's Vivian Beaumont. Kelli O'Hara and Brazilian opera singer Paulo Szot are the lovers who "meet across a crowded room" in the new production directed by Bartlett Sher. Unbilled co-star is the 30-piece orchestra, one of the largest on Broadway. The production wins eight Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical.

2013 Rattlestick Playwrights Theater presents the world premiere of Jonathan Tolins' Buyer & Cellar, starring Michael Urie as an out-of-work actor who lands a gig working in Barbra Streisand's basement. The production is a hit, and later transfers to the Barrow Street Theatre for an open-ended run.

2017 Phillipa Soo plays an extraordinary young woman who lives quietly in the world, but loudly in her mind, in Amélie, A New Musical. Librettist Craig Lucas, composer-lyricist Daniel Messé, and lyricst Nathan Tysen based their musical on the 2001 Jean-Pierre Jeunet film. It runs 56 performances at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

More of Today's Birthdays: Leslie Howard 1893. Sherman Edwards 1919. Stan Freeman 1920. Jan Sterling 1921. Marsha Mason 1942. Alec Baldwin 1958. David Hyde Pierce 1959.

Watch highlights from the 2017 Broadway production of Amélie, A New Musical:

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