Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: August 8

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: August 8
 
Liza Minnelli as Roxie Hart in Chicago.
Liza Minnelli as Roxie Hart in Chicago. Martha Swope / The New York Public Library

1975 Liza Minnelli to the rescue! With only six days to learn the role of merry murderess Roxie Hart, the Academy Award-winning stage and film star agrees to fill in for an ailing Gwen Verdon in Chicago. Minnelli stays with the show until mid-September. Always willing to do a friend a favor, Minnelli makes a highly-publicized return to the stage in 1997 as she fills in for a vacationing Julie Andrews in the musical Victor/Victoria.

1985 The producers of Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues replace three secondary actors in the show for "cutting up" on stage. Also diagnosed by management as having "longrun-itis" is star Matthew Broderick, who does not appear in tonight's performance.

1989 Shenandoah returns to Broadway for a revival run that proves to be brief. Starring John Cullum as Charlie Anderson, the production of the Civil War-era musical close September 2 after approximately four weeks of performances.

1989 Gerry Vichi joins the cast of Lincoln Center Theater's hit revival of Anything Goes, taking over the role of Moonface Martin. The role's originator, Bill McCutcheon, won a Tony for his performance and had been with the show since it opened in October of 1987.

1998 After arguing for 600 performances about a white-on-white painting, the three characters in Yasmina Reza's Tony Award-winning best play, Art end their run at Broadway's Royale Theatre. The comedy, translated from French by Christopher Hampton, begins its national tour September 14 starring Judd Hirsch, who also appeared in the play on Broadway and in London. During the Broadway run, various trios of stars played the roles of three friends that Alan Alda, Victor Garber, and Alfred Molina originated.

2002 Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci open on Broadway in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune at the Belasco Theatre. This marks the Broadway debut for Terrence McNally's romance, which played Off-Broadway's Manhattan Theatre Club in 1987. The production is much in the press due to the presence of screen actors Falco and Tucci and their onstage nudity throughout the opening scene.

2004 Actor Todd Cerveris stars opposite his brother, Tony winner Michael Cerveris, in The Booth Variations, playing the actor brothers Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth.

2013 Zachary Levi goes on his First Date with Krysta Rodriguez as Austin Winsberg, Alan Zachary, and Michael Weiner's musical opens on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre. The show about a tightly wound guy who is set up with a serial-dating cool girl, runs for 174 performances.

Today's Birthdays: Esme Percy 1887. Sylvia Sidney 1910. Dustin Hoffman 1937. Connie Stevens 1938. Marcia Lewis 1938. Keith Carradine 1949. Michael Urie 1980.

Watch highlights from the 2013 Broadway production of First Date, starring Zachary Levi and Krysta Rodriguez:

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