Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: September 19


1904 Julian Eltinge, the famous impersonator, makes his Broadway debut in Mr. Wix of Wickham, the unsuccessful musical at the Théâtre Bijou. Jerome Kern, 19, writes some of the songs for the show. Kern continues to write music for Show boat and Sunny during his long and successful career. Also on this date, Shakespeare’s Actor Extraordinary EH Sothern stars in a Chicago production of Romeo and Juliet.

1910 For the first time, George M. Cohan conducts and writes a non-musical triumph. Get rich quick Wallingford, his new comedy, opens at the Gaiety Theatre. It is based on the novel by George Randolph Chester about a reforming crook. The show lasts 424 performances with its stars, Frances ring and Hale Hamilton.

1962 Opening show of Eric Bentleythe translated version of Bertold Brechtit is Mann I Mann. Another version, translated by Gerhard Nellhaus, was inaugurated the day before at the Living Theater. The New Repertory Company is staging Tonight’s production at the Masque Theatre, directed by John Hancock and starring John Heffernan and Olympia Dukakis. Both productions have 175 performances.

1974 The Winter Garden Theater is evacuated due to a bomb threat, at the first preview for the revival of Gypsy. Gene Brown’s book Show timenote that the librettist Arthur Laurents joked with the audience during the break this acclaimed star Angela Lansbury was quite a “bombshell” itself. The show resumes shortly after the evacuation.

1996 David Hareit is skylight, about a successful businessman trying to rehash a past affair with a young teacher, opens at the Royale Theater on Broadway. the Richard Eyre-production stars at the helm Lia Williams, Christian Camargueand Michel Gambon. The production has 116 performances.

2000 Less than two weeks after the end of his race at Second Stage Theaterthe rebirth of August Wilsonit is Jitney reopens at the largest Union Square Theater Off-Broadway. The first play written by the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright delves into the lives of a group of black men working at a gypsy taxi company (or jitney station) in 1970s Pittsburgh.

2001 Led by Cristyne Lategano Nicholas, New York’s Tourism Chief, and Tim Zagat, Chairman of the famed Zagat Restaurant Surveys, New York City business leaders gather at the Eugene O’Neill Theater to show their support to the theater industry in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and urge theatergoers to continue buying tickets.

2002 nonsense, the Off-Broadway musical about a convent full of wacky nuns, spawns its fourth sequel: Meshuggah-Nuns, a brand new show “with a touch of Yiddish”, at the Fireside Theater in Minneapolis. Previous entries in the series: Nunsense, Nunsense II, Jamboree Country Western Nunsense by Sister Amnesiaand Nutcracker (the Christmas-themed show), plus Nunsense A-Menthe original show, but with an all-male cast.

2004 The TV adaptation of Tony Kushneraward-winning drama by Tony and Pulitzer Angels in America wins a record 11 Emmy Awards.

2006 Elizabeth Allen, 77, stage, film and TV actress and model who played a feisty, love-hungry tourist in the Broadway musical Do I hear a waltz?dies at Wingate Nursing Home in Fishkill, New York.

2012 The world premiere of Jay Kuo, Marc Acito and Lorenzo Thioneit is Allegiance – A New American Musical, chronicling the lives of Japanese Americans who were placed in concentration camps on American soil during World War II, opens at the Old Globe in San Diego, California. Directed by Stafford Arimait stars Telly Leung, George Takei and Lea Salonga. The production moved to Broadway three years later.

Today’s birthdays: Malcolm Duncan (1881-1942). Ernest Truex (1889-1973). Francoise Farmer (1913-1970). Rosemary Harris (born in 1927). David McCallum (born in 1933). Jeremy Irons (born in 1948). Twig (born in 1949). Rex Smith (born in 1955). Sanaa Lathan (born in 1971). Stephanie J. Block (b. 1972). Ramin Karimloo (born in 1978).


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