Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: June 3

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: June 3
 
The original Broadway production of Chicago, starring Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera, opens in 1975.
Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera in Chicago.
Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera in Chicago. Martha Swope / The New York Public Library

1866 Birthday of playwright and producer George Broadhurst, namesake of Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre. He was responsible for dozens of plays and musicals, including the first stage adaptation of Tarzan of the Apes.

1931 Jump on the The Band Wagon at New Amsterdam Theatre. Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz provide lyrics and music with dancing turns by Fred and Adele Astaire and Tilly Losch. It rolls on Broadway for 260 performances.

1942 The nearly forgotten By Jupiter holds the record for the Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical with the longest run of its original production (427 performances). Ray Bolger, Benay Venuta, and Vera-Ellen lead the cast.

1947 William Inge’s first play, Farther Off From Heaven, opens as the first production at the Margo Jones Theatre in Dallas, Texas. Inge later rewrites the play as The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.

1971 No Sex Please - We’re British begins performances at London’s Strand Theatre. Anthony Marriott and Alistair Foot penned the farce about a family man mistakenly inundated with pornography. It’s a mainstay for years in the West End, but enjoys only a brief Broadway run.

1975 The Fred Ebb-John Kander musical Chicago opens on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre. Director-choreographer Bob Fosse brings to life the story of a chorus girl who gets away with murder, literally. The cast features Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera, and Jerry Orbach. This original production runs for just two years, but a 1996 revival has been performing on Broadway for more than 20 years.

1981 Al Pacino stars in a revival of David Mamet’s American Buffalo at Off-Broadway’s Circle in the Square Downtown. Directed by Arvin Brown, the production also stars Clifton James and Thomas G. Waites.

2009 Jude Law stars in the title role of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, the final production in the Donmar Warehouse's year-long residency at Wyndham's Theatre, directed by Michael Grandage. The production transfers to Broadway later that year.

2012 Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience – A Parody by Dan and Jeff, Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner’s Olivier-nominated show that presents all seven Harry Potter books in 70 minutes, opens in a limited engagement at Off-Broadway’s Little Shubert Theatre. The popular production returns to the Little Shubert for a second limited engagement in summer 2013.

2014 Jim Dale returns to the New York stage in his one-man show Just Jim Dale. Dale recounts his lifetime in the theatre, from a childhood on the British Music Hall stage to starring in Scapino, Barnum, and Me and My Girl on Broadway. The solo work opens Off-Broadway at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Laura Pels Theatre.

Today’s Birthdays: Maurice Evans (1901–1989); Paulette Goddard (1910–1990); William Douglas Home (1912–1992); Dorothy Kilgallen (1913–1965); Leo Gorcey (1917–1969); Lili St. Cyr (1918–1999); Colleen Dewhurst (1924–1991); Barbara Walsh (b. 1955); Jeff Blumenkrantz (b. 1965); Nikki M. James (b. 1981).

Watch highlights from the long-running Broadway revival of Chicago:

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