Theater

Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: March 7

1907 The Herald Square Theatre in New York hosts the American premiere of Widower’s Houses. George Bernard Shaw‘s comedy is offered by the Shuberts in 16 special matinee performances. Effie Shannon and Herbert Kelcey star.

1940 Clemence Dane‘s drama Cousin Muriel visits the Globe Theatre in London. The powerhouse cast includes Edith Evans, Alec Guinness, and Peggy Ashcroft.

1959 Donna Murphy is born in Queens, New York. She stars on Broadway as Fosca in Passion and Anna in The King and I, winning Tony Awards for both performances. Other notable roles include Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!, Ruth Sherwood in Wonderful Town, and Lotte Lenya in Lovemusik.

1967 This is the first time someone says You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz‘s characters come to life in the Clark Gesner musical, which runs 1,597 performances Off-Broadway at Theatre 80 St. Marks.

1972 After years as a radio studio, television studio, and pornographic movie house, the Ritz Theatre officially returns to life as a legitimate Broadway theatre with the opening of Children! Children!, starring Gwen Verdon. The play closes the same night, but the theatre—renamed the Walter Kerr Theatre in 1990—remains in use to this day.

1983 John Byrne‘s Slab Boys, about workers who are responsible for kneading ground pigments into smooth paint for designers, opens at the Playhouse Theatre on Broadway. The play stars some young men who become Hollywood hotshots: Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, and Val Kilmer.

1999 In 1930s Nazi Germany, a popular musical group with three Jewish members is the Band in Berlin. The sextet Hudson Shad portray the Comedian Harmonists in the musical. Written and co-conceived by Susan Feldman, it runs on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre for 17 performances.

2003 At midnight, Local 802 of the musicians union goes on strike against nearly all Broadway musicals, shutting them down in a dispute over the minimum number of musicians required at Broadway theatres. In the afternoon, actors and stagehands announce they will not cross picket lines.

2004 New York City Police remove a body from the East River subsequently identified as that of actor and monologuist Spalding Gray, who had been missing since January 10 in what is later ruled a suicide. On March 9, Broadway theatres dim their lights to salute the author of Swimming to Cambodia, It’s a Slippery Slope, Monster in a Box, Gray’s Anatomy, and other solo shows.

2013 Ann, actor-writer Holland Taylor‘s solo play about Texas Governor Ann Richards, opens at Lincoln Center Theater‘s Vivian Beaumont Theater. The production runs for 132 performances, and earns Taylor a Tony nomination for her performance.

2017 Daniel Radcliffe, Joshua McGuire, and David Haig star in a 50th anniversary staging of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. The David Leveaux-helmed production runs at the Old Vic Theatre in London.

Today’s Birthdays: Morton Da Costa (1914-1989). Lewis J. Stadlen (b. 1947). Bryan Cranston (b. 1956). Vicki Lewis (b. 1960). Ruthie Henshall (b. 1967). Andy Blankenbuehler (b. 1970).

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