Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: June 21


1903 Cartoonist Al Hirschfeld was born in St. Louis, Missouri. His distinctive looping line drawings capture the essence of Broadway shows from the 1920s to the early 2000s. The Martin Beck Theater was renamed the Al Hirschfeld Theater in 2003, just months after his death at age 99.

1921 Future star of stage and screen Judy Holliday was born in New York. By the time of her untimely death in 1965, Holliday had won the 1951 Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Born yesterday, a role she had previously played on Broadway. She also won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Bells are ringing.

1937 Laurence HoumanBroadway hit Victoria Regina opens at the Lyric Theater in London. The historical drama, which turned out to be a personal triumph for the star Helen Hayes on Broadway, stars Pamela Stanely as the 19th century British queen. The show lasts 42 weeks.

1951 Audience members are transported back to Indianapolis circa 1907 as Seventeen opens at the Broadhurst Theater on Broadway. According to the novel by Tarkington Booththe new musical presents a book of Sally Benson. Sing it Walter KentKim Ganon scores are leads Anne Crowley and Kenneth Nelson. The show lasts 23 weeks.

1984 David Rabeit’s playing Hurlyburly opens Off-Broadway at the Promenade Theater. The original cast of Chicago’s Goodman Theater remains intact, including Guillaume Blessé, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, Jerry Stiller, Cynthia NixonSigourney Weaver, and Judith Ivey. The play has 45 performances before transfer to the Ethel Barrymore Theater on Broadway.

1992 He is Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber now, as a famous musical theater composer, is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Sir Andrew’s many musical credits include Broadway’s longest-running musical, The Phantom of the Operaand the international phenomenon, Cats. He was later elevated to the peerage as Lord Lloyd Webber.

2000 Josh Brolin and Elias Koteas replacing Tony nominated stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly in Sam Shepardit is true west on Broadway. The drama, in which two brothers switch personalities, created an interesting twist as the two actors changed lead roles every few performances. Substitute players similarly follow until the end of the Matthew Warchus-led show on July 29.

2018 Idina Menzel plays a woman who discovers her famous father is in a relationship with a much younger gay adult film actor in the world premiere of Joshua Harmon. Tight skin. The production plays a limited engagement at the Laura Pels Theater of the Roundabout Theater Company.

More birthdays from today: Dorothee Stickney (1896–1998), MacGordon (1904-1959), Jane Russell (1921-2011), Maureen Stapleton (1925-2006), Don Black (born in 1938), Mariette Hartley (born in 1940), Michael Gross (born in 1947), David MarshallGrant (born in 1955), Benjamin Walker (born in 1982)

Flip through some of Al Hirschfeld’s famous sketches:


Watch art from your favorite shows as imagined by Al Hirschfeld

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