Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: October 27

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: October 27
 
Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in The Odd Couple.
Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in The Odd Couple. Carol Rosegg

1904 The New York City subway system makes its maiden run. The first line runs right through Times Square, making it much easier for audiences from the far reaches of Manhattan to get to the Broadway theatres quickly and cheaply. Lines to the outer boroughs are added in subsequent years.

1920 Birthday of Nanette Fabray, star of Broadway musicals High Button Shoes, Love Life (Tony Award), Arms and the Girl, and Mr. President.

1925 Birthday of Jane Connell, star of smart 1950s revues with her husband, Gordon Connell; later a reliable and beloved character actor in Broadway musicals including Mame (as Agnes Gooch), Dear World, Me and My Girl, and Crazy for You.

1952 The first (and unsuccessful) attempt to turn Giuseppe Verdi's Aida into a Broadway musical. Called My Darlin' Aida, the production is directed by Charles Friedman, who also supplied lyrics for Verdi's music. The show runs 89 performances at the Winter Garden. A more successful adaption comes along in 2000, but only after jettisoning Verdi's score.

1954 Kim Stanley gets her first star billing today in Horton Foote's drama, The Traveling Lady, as it opens at the Playhouse Theatre. The show closes after 30 performances.

1962 The British revue opening at the John Golden Theatre is definitely Beyond the Fringe. It runs 673 performances and stars Dudley Moore, Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller, and Alan Bennett, operating on the periphery of all things normal and straitlaced.

1964 Robert Preston returns to Broadway in the title role of Ben Franklin in Paris, with a score by Mark Sandrich, Jr. and Sidney Michaels. It runs 215 performances at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

1980 The Actors' Equity Association has an anti-trust suit filed against it today by a group of major playwrights, including David Mamet. The organization is demanding that actors who participate in Off-Off Broadway showcase presentations be guaranteed work in future productions of the play. The playwrights win, and the guarantee is no longer valid.

1992 John Leguizamo's second major one-man show, Spic-O-Rama, opens at the Westside Theatre. His first show, Mambo Mouth, opened in 1991 and it won him an Obie Award. The new show, in which he looks at his family from a childhood perspective, runs 80 performances. Leguizamo makes his Broadway debut in 1998 in another one-man show called, Freak, which earns him Tony nominations for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play.

1995 The Public Theater is host for a show that recounts African-American history through a tap dance revue. George C. Wolfe directs Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk in its pre-Broadway run downtown at the Public's Newman Theatre. The show, conceived and choreographed by "tap dance kid" Savion Glover, transfers to Broadway's Ambassador Theatre in April 1996, where it wins a Tony Award for Best Choreography, and is nominated for Best Musical.

2005 The Producers co-stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick re-team for a revival of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, which sells out its limited run and an extension.

2011 David Henry Hwang's Chinglish, a comedy about an Ohio businessman selling his goods in China—where there is mutual misunderstanding of language and business etiquette—opens on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre. The play, performed in English and Mandarin (with projected English supertitles), stars Jennifer Lim and Gary Wilmes.

2013 Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, and Rafe Spall star in a Broadway revival of Harold Pinter's Betrayal, opening at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Mike Nichols directs the 14-week limited engagement.

2015 Annaleigh Ashford returns to Broadway as an adorable, outspoken pooch in A.R. Gurney's touching comedy Sylvia, opening at the Cort Theatre. The cast also includes Matthew Broderick, Julie White, and Robert Sella. It runs for 79 performances.

2016 A Broadway revival of William Finn and James Lapine's musical Falsettos opens at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Christian Borle, Stephanie J. Block, and Andrew Rannells star in the production directed by Lapine, who also directed the show's 1992 original Broadway run.

More of Today's Birthdays: Dylan Thomas 1914. Ruby Dee 1924. John Cleese 1939. Elena Roger 1974.

Watch highlights from the 2016 Broadway revival of Falsettos:

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