Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: May 12


1905 Theater producer Sam S. Shubert dies in a train accident. His brothers Lee and JJ honored him by naming many theaters they would build after him, including their flagship in New York’s Shubert Alley. He was 35 years old.

1906 Gerald Du Maurier begins a signature performance as Raffles, the amateur crack. The story of the gentleman thief made into a play by author EW Hornung and Eugene Presbrey has run 351 at the Comedy Theater in London.

1925 A little love takes a bit of time. John GalsworthyThe drama only lasts four performances at the 48th Street Theater on Broadway. OP Heggie plays a minister who stays married to his wife just to protect the identity of his true love.

1930 A rare cover of Henrik Ibsen The Vikings opens on West 54th Street in New York. It is producer Richard Herndon’s first play at his recently renamed New Yorker Theatre, formerly known as the Gallo Theatre. Forty-three years later, the theater is transformed into the legendary Studio 54 nightclub.

nineteen eighty one Lena Horne sings many of the classic songs of her career and talks about her experiences at the Cotton Club, Hollywood and Broadway in Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. Originally announced as a limited four-week engagement, she continued to perform for over a year at the Nederlander Theatre. Although the show opened after the 1981 Tony Awards had closed, the American Theater Wing honored Horne with a special award at the year’s ceremony less than a month later.

1988 Stephen KingThe novel turns into a musical as Carrie opens on Broadway at the Virginia Theater. the Michel GoreDean Pitchford show the stars Linzi Hatley like Carrie drenched in blood, opposite Betty Buckley like his mother. The cast also includes Charlotte of Amboise, Darlene Love and Sally Ann Triplett. Despite five performances, the musical became cult and was relaunched Off-Broadway in 2012.

1999 The groom Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson, who appeared in dozens of plays together, returns to Off-Broadway and stars in Remembering Tennessee Williams, featuring their own reminiscences of the playwright and scenes from the late playwright’s works. Wallach, who won a Tony for his role in the original production of rose tattoomade her stage debut and met Jackson in an Off-Broadway production of Tennessee WilliamsThis property is condemned.

2012 The world premiere of Hands on a HardbodyDoug Wright, Amanda Greenand Trey Anastasiomusical based on the feature documentary about an endurance competition in Texas – opens at La Jolla Theater. Directed by Neil Pepeproduction stars Keith Carradine, Hunter Fosterand Keala Colony. Hands on a Hardbody transfers to Broadway in 2013, but only lasts 28 performances.

Today’s birthdays: Boris Tomashefsky (1858-1939). Al Shean (1868-1949). Edith Oland (1870-1968). Wilfred Hyde White (1903-1991). Catherine Hepburn (1907-2003). Burt Bacharach (born in 1928). Lindsay Crouse (born in 1948). Gabriel Byrne (born in 1950). Deborah Warner (born in 1959). Erin Dilli (born in 1972). Kendra Kassebum (born in 1973). Jason BIggs (born in 1978). Jennifer Damiano (born in 1991).


A look back at the original production of Carrie on Broadway

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