Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: January 1

1900 Chris and the Wonderful Lamp, based on the Arabian Nights, opens at Hammerstein’s Victoria Theatre in New York. The musical, with a book by Glen MacDonough and score by John Philip Sousa, features Edna Wallace Hopper.

1906 Just what is only Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway? The answer plays at the New Amsterdam Theatre via George M. Cohan‘s new musical. The cast includes Donald Brian, Fay Templeton, and Victor Moore. It runs for 90 performances and then tours.

1938 Orson Welles and John Houseman produce a series of revivals in New York. Tonight at the Mercury Theatre they open with The Shoemaker’s Holiday by Thomas Dekker.

1964 Tennessee Williams opens a revised version of his critically-panned 1963 play The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore. It closes after just 5 performances, despite the presence of Tallulah Bankhead, Tab Hunter, and Marian Seldes.

1972 Maurice Chevalier dies at age 84 in Paris. He made his debut there in 1900. He became a world famous entertainer performing on stage, in music halls, and in films.

1981 Patti LuPone leaves the title role in Evita, the part for which she received rave reviews and a 1980 Tony Award.

2017 Two musicals end their Broadway runs: Something Rotten! after 708 performances, and Matilda the Musical after 1,554 performances.

Today’s Birthdays: Lester Wallack (1820-1888). Charles Bickford (1891-1967). Barbara Baxley (1923-1990). Joe Orton (1933-1967). Frank Langella (b. 1938). Louise Pitre (b. 1957). Kate Levering (b. 1979).

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