Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: October 26

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: October 26
 
In 2000, the musical The Full Monty opens on Broadway.
Marcus Neville, André De Shields, John Ellison Conlee, Patrick Wilson, Romain Fruge, and Jason Danieley in The Full Monty
Marcus Neville, André De Shields, John Ellison Conlee, Patrick Wilson, Romain Fruge, and Jason Danieley in The Full Monty Craig Schwartz

1844 Edward Harrigan, half of the iconic 1880s writing and performing team of Harrigan and Hart, is born. He and Tony Hart create the popular Mulligan Guards characters reflecting New York's immigrant polyglot. In 1985, he becomes the subject of the Broadway musical Harrigan 'n Hart.

1931 Opening night of Mourning Becomes Electra, Eugene O'Neill's epic nine-hour reimagining of the Greek Oresteia as a saga of the American Civil War. Starring Alla Nazimova and Earle Larimore, it runs at the Guild Theatre.

1946 A revival of The Playboy of the Western World, by John Millington Synge, opens at the Booth Theatre. Maureen Stapleton and Julie Harris both make their Broadway debut in the production. The show has Burgess Meredith as its star, and the staging is done by Guthrie McClintic.

1955 Opening night of The Chalk Garden, Enid Bagnold's comedy, starring Siobhán McKenna, Marian Seldes, Gladys Cooper, and Fritz Weaver.

1965 David Carradine plays the Inca king whose country was attacked by conquistador Francisco Pizarro, played by Christopher Plummer, in Peter Shaffer's The Royal Hunt of the Sun. Directed by John Dexter, it runs at the ANTA Theatre.

1968 An investment of $130,000 by the Theater 1969 repertory company is lost as they give up after only a two week trial. The group was organized to produce a series of straight dramas at the Billy Rose Theatre (now the Nederlander), including works by Edward Albee and Samuel Beckett. Frank Rich called the project "the most adventuresome experiment Broadway has seen in years." But adventuresome doesn't always mean successful. The group just couldn't seem to find an audience in the already "economically troublesome year," as put by Otis L. Guernsey in his The Best Plays of 1968–1969.

1971 Birthday of Anthony Rapp, who rises to fame as the original Mark Cohen in Rent, and who later appears in the title role of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

1974 The first day of rehearsals for the musical Chicago. Choreographer-director Bob Fosse is hospitalized shortly after, though, and the opening of the show is postponed until June 3, 1975. Original cast members Chita Rivera, Gwen Verdon, and Jerry Orbach are all present for the first rehearsal.

2000 Opening night of David Yazbek and Terrence McNally's The Full Monty, a musical adaptation of the hit British film about a group of unemployed blue-collar workers who become male strippers in order to pay their bills. Featuring Patrick Wilson, André De Shields, Kathleen Freeman, and Emily Skinner, it runs at the O'Neill Theatre.

2001 Elaine Stritch begins performances on her solo show, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, at The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival. Directed by George C. Wolfe, the show earns raves, moves to Broadway, and eventually wins the 2002 Tony Award for Outstanding Special Event.

2003 Doris Eaton Travis, Lucille Layton, Barbara Hunter, and Charles Eaton are among Ziegfeld Follies alumni who gather at Broadway's restored New Amsterdam Theatre to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the grand playhouse on 42nd Street.

2006 Director-choreographer Twyla Tharp uses Bob Dylan's greatest hits to tell the story of an unhappy circus troupe under Captain Ahrab's control in The Times They Are A-Changin' at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. The productions stars Michael Arden, Lisa Brescia, and Thom Sesma.

2010 Musicians Joey Curatolo, Joe Bithorn, Ralph Castelli, Steve Landes, and Mark Beyer conjure the iconic British rock group the Beatles in Rain: A Tribute to The Beatles, which opens at the Neil Simon Theatre. The multi-media concert features the band's greatest hits performed live and note-for-note.

2012 A new musical Giant, starring Kate Baldwin, Brian D'Arcy James, and P.J. Griffith, sweeps into the Public Theater. The Michael John LaChiusa-Sybille Pearson musical is based on Edna Ferber's sweeping Texas-set novel about love, greed and power that spans generations. Michael Greif directs.

2014 The Last Ship, a folk-rock musical with music and lyrics by Sting—inspired by the songwriter's own childhood—opens on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre. Directed by Joe Mantello, it stars Michael Esper, Rachel Tucker, Jimmy Nail, and Sally Ann Triplett. Sting himself joins the cast for a limited engagement midway through the run.

2017 Julie Taymor returns to Broadway for the first time since Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark to direct a revival of David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly at the Cort Theatre. Clive Owen stars as French diplomat Rene Gallimard, who falls for a mysterious Beijing opera sing named Song Liling, played by Jin Ha.

More of Today's Birthdays: Margaret Wycherly (1881–1956), Maureen Anderman (b. 1946), Rondi Reed (b. 1952), Robert Westenberg (b. 1953), Cynthia Sophiea (b. 1954), Rita Wilson (b. 1956), Patrick Breen (b. 1960), Tom Cavanagh (b. 1963), Will Swenson (b. 1973), Chaz Lamar Shepherd (b. 1977), Beau Willimon (b. 1977), Emilia Clark (b. 1986)

Watch highlights from the 2014 Broadway musical The Last Ship:

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