Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 30

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: June 30
 
Late stage and screen star Lena Horne, recipient of a 1981 Special Tony for her triumphant solo show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, was born on this day in 1917.
Lena Horne
Lena Horne Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts

1924 Opening night of George White's Scandals of 1924, which features a score by George Gershwin, including "Somebody Loves Me." It runs 192 performances at the Apollo Theatre.

1970 The midpoint between heaven and earth is a Steambath, according to Bruce Jay Friedman's new comedy, opening at the Truck and Warehouse Theatre. Anthony Perkins stars in and directs the production, which also features Hector Elizondo as a bath attendant who turns out to be God. Steambath runs for 127 performances.

1999 Nothing says New York like Naked Boys Singing!, the musical revue conceived and directed by Robert Schrock, which begins performances at The Actors' Playhouse Off-Broadway. The show, which celebrates nudity in sketches and songs written by various writers, actually started in Los Angeles. With songs like "Perky Little Porn Star," "Muscle Addiction," and "Nothin' But the Radio On," the show's biggest draw isn't Carl D. White's costume design.

2000 The Roundabout Theatre Company opens the American Airlines Theatre, although work remains to be done on the theatre's new penthouse or "sky lobby." The final budget for the restoration and new construction of the venue is $25 million. The first tenant in the theatre is a revival of The Man Who Came to Dinner, starring Nathan Lane.

2003 The Donmar Warehouse production of Pacific Overtures officially opens. Heading the cast of the Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman musical, which features additional material by Hugh Wheeler, are Joseph A. Foronda, Kevin Gudahl, Richard Henders, Togo Igawa, Cornell John, Teddy Kempner, Richard Manera, Ian McLarnon, Jerome Pradon, and Mo Zainal. Gary Griffin directs the musical, which debuted at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 2001.

2006 Michael Gambon opens at the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre with the world premiere stage production—first seen at the Gate Theatre Dublin—of Beckett’s television play EH JOE. The 30-minute production is helmed by Atom Egoyan. Written in 1965, the play was broadcast by the BBC in 1966.

2010 The Shakespeare in the Park production of The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino as Shylock, opens at the Delacorte Theater. Directed by Daniel Sullivan, it co-stars Lily Rabe as Portia. The production transfers to Broadway a few months later for a limited engagement.

More of Today's Birthdays: John Gay (1685-1732); Lena Horne (1917-2010); James Goldman (1927-1998); Harry Blackstone (1934-1997); David Garrison (b. 1952); David Alan Grier (b. 1955).

Stage and screen star Horne was the recipient of a 1981 Special Tony Award for her triumphant solo show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music; check out photos below.

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