Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 22

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 22
 
Jacqueline Novak makes her Off-Broadway debut with Get On Your Knees in 2019.
Jacqueline Novak
Jacqueline Novak Monique Carboni

1912 The Shubert Brothers open the first of their annual Passing Show installments. The Passing Show of 1912 features Charlotte Greenwood, Trixie Friganza, and Eugene and Willie Howard. There are 136 performances and new editions of the revue every year for the next eleven years.

1999 Marian Seldes follows up her Tony-nominated turn in Ring Round the Moon with the Irish Repertory Theatre's staging of Jerome Kilty's Dear Liar. The story of the 40-year romance between playwright George Bernard Shaw and Mrs. Patrick Campbell, who originated the role of Eliza Doolittle in Shaw's Pygmalion, was adapted from the couples' long correspondence. Irish actor Donal Donnelly stars opposite Seldes under the direction of Charlotte Moore.

1999 Jessica Boevers, Stephen DeRosa, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, and Karen Ziemba star in a new musical by Robert and Willie Reale, Quark Victory, staged at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. The sci-fi camp comedy follows Samantha Fitzwater (played by Boevers) as she journeys into an atom, meeting electrons, neutrons, muons, and gluons along the way. Jonathan Bernstein directs.

1999 Naked Boys Singing, a comedy revue whose title says it all, opens Off-Broadway at the Actors Playhouse, beginning a run of more than 3,000 performances.

2001 Chicago's Pegasus Players hosts the world premiere of the musical, Muscle, by James Lapine, composer William Finn, and lyricist Ellen Fitzhugh. Originally planned by Lapine as a companion piece to Stephen Sondheim's one-act Passion, it finally makes its debut with a new songwriting team.

2003 Roundabout Theatre Company closes a deal to buy Studio 54 as its headquarters for musical revivals on Broadway. The nearly $25 million deal is completed with the sale of more than $17 million in bonds added to a $6.75 million grant from New York City. It's full-circle for the legendary former discotheque, which began life in 1927 as a theatre, the Gallo Opera House.

2004 From My Hometown, a musical about three strangers who meet in NYC with a single goal—to sing at the Apollo Theatre—opens at Off-Broadway's Gramercy Theatre following an Off-Broadway premiere in 2003 and a hit regional run. Conceived by Lee Summers, From My Hometown features original songs and over 30 R&B classics including "Dock of the Bay," "Land of a Thousand Dances," "Chain Gang," and many more. Summers, Ty Stephens and Herbert Rawlings, Jr. co-pen the book, with Summers and Stephens teaming up with Will Barrow to write some of the songs.

2004 Stephen Sondheim returns to Broadway with his first (mostly) new score in a decade. Lincoln Center Theater’s production of The Frogs is an expanded version of Sondheim’s short 1973 musical, which had debuted literally in the swimming pool at Yale University. Based on Aristophanes’ comedy of the same title, it is the story of Dionysos, the god of wine and drama, who descends to Hades to bring back a great writer to reawaken the spirit and conscience of the living world. Nathan Lane, who plays Dionysos, makes his Broadway debut as a librettist, with Susan Stroman directing.

2019 Comedian Jacqueline Novak makes her Off-Broadway debut at the Cherry Lane with her solo show Get On Your Knees, directed by John Early. Part feminist outcry and part coming-of-age story, Novak spins her material on the femininity of the penis and the stoicism of the vulva into an unexpectedly philosophical show which goes on to play two extended runs at the Lucille Lortel Theatre following its Cherry Lane premiere.

Today's Birthdays: Margaret Whiting (1924–2011); Orson Bean (1928–2020); Grover Dale (b. 1935); Danny Glover (b. 1946); Alan Menken (b. 1949); John Leguizamo (b. 1964); and Adam Cooper (b.1971).

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