Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: March 1 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: March 1 In 1979, Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd opens on Broadway.
Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts

1922 Arthur Wing Pinero's The Enchanted Cottage constructs the story of a couple who find themselves transformed by their love for one another. Owen Nares and Laura Cowie are the lucky pair. The drama runs at the Duke of York's Theatre in London.

1944 Even the bright lights of Broadway are affected by World War II. A midnight curfew quiets the Times Square nightlife.

1957 Opening night for the final show to bear the Ziegfeld Follies name, 50 years after the very first edition, and 25 years after its namesake's death. The Ziegfeld Follies of 1957 features songs by Howard Dietz, Carolyn Leigh, Sammy Fain, Marshall Barer, and Colin Romoff. The cast includes Beatrice Lillie, Billy DeWolfe, and Carol Lawrence. It runs at the Winter Garden.

1964 Athol Fugard's tale of two brothers in South Africa, Blood Knot, stars J.D. Cannon and James Earl Jones. John Berry stages at the Cricket Theatre in New York.

1979 Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street opens at Broadway's Uris Theatre. Len Cariou stars as the bedeviled barber and Angela Lansbury plays the cannibalistic cook in the production that makes a piercing factory whistle infamous. The musical sweeps the Tony Awards, taking home the prize for Best Musical, Leading Actor and Actress, Director for Harold Prince, Best Book, Score, and Scenic, and Costume Design.

1981 Gregory Hines, Judith Jamison, Hinton Battle, and Phyllis Hyman star in Donald McKayle's tribute to Duke Ellington, Sophisticated Ladies. The revue opens at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and Battle goes on to win a Tony for his toe-tapping performance.

1998 Yasmina Reza's international hit play Art opens at the Royale Theatre with Victor Garber, Alan Alda, and Alfred Molina starring. The comedy about a blank painting took top honors at France's Molière Awards and London's Olivier Awards, and also wins the Tony Award for Best Play.

2005 The musical Altar Boyz, which spoofs the boy-band craze, opens Off-Broadway. It runs more than 2,000 performances at New World Stages.

2009 A Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls that uses animated projections and introduces author Damon Runyon as a character, opens at the Nederlander Theatre. The classic "musical fable of Broadway" is directed by Des McAnuff, and stars Craig Bierko as Sky Masterson, Oliver Platt as Nathan Detroit, Kate Jennings Grant as Sarah Brown, and Lauren Graham as Miss Adelaide.

2011 A stage production of The Wizard of Oz, based the 1939 MGM film musical featuring music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, opens at the London Palladium. Danielle Hope—winner of the reality TV casting show Over the Rainbow—stars as Dorothy, alongside Michael Crawford as The Wizard and Hannah Waddingham as the Wicked Witch of the West. The score is supplemented with four new songs written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

2017 The Tooting Arts Club’s immersive production of Sweeney Todd, which was first staged in an actual pie shop in London, opens Off-Broadway. The production transforms New York's Barrow Street Theatre into a working pie shop, with audiences able to purchase authentic meat pies prior to each performance. Jeremy Secomb and Siobhán McCarthy, who starred in the London run, reprise their roles as Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett.

Today's Birthdays: Anne Sutherland (1867–1942), Lionel Atwill (1885–1946), Paul Hartman (1904–1973), Michael Flanders (1922–1975), Robert Clary (b. 1926), Marilyn Strauss (1927–2018), Harry Belafonte (b. 1927), John Napier (b. 1944), Kevin McCollum (b. 1962), Bryan Batt (b. 1963), Lupita Nyong'o (b. 1983), Lindsay Mendez (b. 1983)

Watch highlights from the 2011 London production of The Wizard of Oz:

More Today in Theatre History

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