Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 7

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 7
 
Jay Klaitz, Will Chase, and Christian Anderson in <i>High Fidelity</i> on Broadway
Jay Klaitz, Will Chase, and Christian Anderson in High Fidelity on Broadway Joan Marcus

1879 Composer Rudolf Friml (1879-1972) is born in Prague. He emigrates to the U.S. and becomes one of the top Broadway operetta composers of the 1910s and 1920s. His works include The Firefly, Rose-Marie, The Vagabond King, The Three Musketeers, and two editions of The Ziegfeld Follies(1921 and 1923).

1918 It's a Scandal at London's Strand Theatre. The Cosmo Hamilton comedy exposes a woman pretending to be married to a gentleman. Kyrle Bellew and Noël Coward star.

1932 Walk a Little Faster to the St. James Theatre. You'll see Beatrice Lillie starring in skits by S. J. Perelman. Vernon Duke and E.Y. Harburg provide music, including the song "April in Paris." It runs 15 weeks.

1937 Sybil Thorndike plays the lead in The Trojan Women at London's Adelphi Theatre. Lewis Casson stages the Euripides play.

1946 Laurette Taylor dies at age 63. Her career spanned almost 40 years. Two of her more memorable performances were in Peg O' My Heart, created by her husband J. Hartley Manners; and Amanda Wingfield in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie.

1975 The Norman Conquests, a trilogy of comedies by Alan Ayckbourn, opens at the Morosco Theatre. The cast includes stars Ken Howard, Richard Benjamin, Paula Prentiss, and Estelle Parsons. The production runs for 76 performances. The trilogy is revived on Broadway in 2009 and wins the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.

2000 Two-time Tony winner John Cullum stars in Wendy Wasserstein's latest, Old Money. The play opens Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, under the direction of Mark Brokaw. Even before the first performance, Old Money sold out tickets for its entire run through January 14, 2001.

2003 Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, and Emma Thompson star in HBO's TV adaptation of Tony Kushner's Tony and Pulitzer-winning Angels in America, which draws 4.2 million viewers, making it the year's top cable movie. It goes on to win 11 Emmy Awards, the most ever for a single broadcast.

2006 Tom Kitt, Amanda Green, and David Lindsay-Abaire's musical High Fidelity, based on the Nick Hornby novel of the same name, opens on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre. Will Chase stars as Rob, a record-store owner who—when things in his current relationship go sour—revisits his former relationships to find out where he went wrong. Failing to win over critics or audiences, the production closes after 13 performances.

2008 The Olivier Award-winning Slava's Snowshow, already an Off-Broadway hit known for its climactic blizzard and its wordless clowns who roam a wintry landscape, opens at the Helen Hayes Theatre. The show features a cast of ten, including creator Slava Polunin.

2010 King Lear, starring Derek Jacobi in the title role, opens at the Donmar Warehouse in London. Directed by Michael Grandage, the production crosses the Atlantic in April 2011 for a limited run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

2014 A Broadway revival of The Elephant Man, starring Bradley Cooper as John Merrick, opens at the Booth Theatre. Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola co-star.

2015 The world premiere of David Bowie and Enda Walsh's musical Lazarus opens Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop. Ivo von Hove directs the work inspired by Walter Tevis' 1963 novel The Man Who Fell to Earth, about a human-looking alien who comes to Earth seeking a way to bring water back to his dying home planet. Michael C. Hall stars.

More of Today's Birthdays: William S. Hart 1864. Fay Bainter 1892. Eli Wallach 1915. Hurd Hatfield 1917. Ellen Burstyn 1932. A.J. Antoon 1944. Leata Galloway 1950. Jeffrey Wright 1965. Stephanie D'Abruzzo 1971.

Flip through photos of the 2015 Off-Broadway production of Lazarus:

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