Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 17 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 17 In 2017, the musical Groundhog Day opens on Broadway.
Andy Karl and cast Joan Marcus

1917 John Barrymore stars in Gerald Du Maurier's Peter Ibbetson at Broadway's Republic Theatre. Lionel Barrymore, Constance Collier, Madge Evans, and Laura Hope Crews are also in the cast. There are 71 performances.

1922 At the Shakespeare Festival at Stratford-upon-Avon, there is a special production of The Taming of the Shrew performed by the boys of All Saints Choir School, London. The role of tempestuous Kate is played by Laurence Olivier.

1939 This time as a leading man, Laurence Olivier stars opposite Katharine Cornell in No Time for Comedy at New York's Ethel Barrymore Theatre. S. N. Behrman's comedy about a playwright in the throes of writer's block runs 185 performances.

1977 Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart's musical I Love My Wife opens on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Lenny Baker, Joanna Gleason, Ilene Graff, James Naughton star as two married couples who consider making their love lives more exciting by partner swapping. Baker and director Gene Saks both win Tony Awards, and the show runs 857 performances.

1994 Two years after the infamous riots following the Rodney King verdict in Los Angeles, Anna Deavere Smith's Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 opens on Broadway at the Cort Theatre. The text of the solo show is taken from interviews Smith had with people directly or indirectly involved in the case. The play premiered at the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum and also ran Off-Broadway at The Public Theater prior to its Broadway run.

2000 The Donmar Warehouse revival of Tom Stoppard’s play The Real Thing, that deals with love, marriage, and adultery from varying perspectives, opens on Broadway at the Barrymore Theatre. Stephen Dillane and Jennifer Ehle both win Tony Awards for their portrayals, and the production, directed by David Leveaux, wins the Best Revival Tony.

2006 Henderson Forsythe, 88, the character actor who won a Tony Award playing the Texas sheriff in Broadway's The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, dies in Williamsburg, Virginia.

2007 Kitty Carlisle Hart, 96, the longtime stage and film actor who served as chairperson of the New York State Council of the Arts for 20 years and was a staple of the performing arts community, dies of pneumonia at her home in Manhattan.

2008 Harvey Fierstein is librettist and co-star of A Catered Affair, a musical adaptation of the Paddy Chayefsky film, with music and lyrics by John Bucchino. Faith Prince, Tom Wopat, Leslie Kritzer, and Matt Cavenaugh co-star in the show about a working class couple trying to stage a grand wedding for their only daughter. John Doyle directs.

2011 Wonderland, the musical that reinvents Alice in Wonderland for the 21st century and features a score by Frank Wildhorn and Jack Murphy, opens on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre. Janet Dacal stars as a modern-day Manhattan mom named Alice who bumps her head and is transported to a subterranean, pop-pastiche fantasyland. Following a largely unenthusiastic reception from critics, the production closes after 33 performances.

2013 The world premiere of Richard Greenberg's The Assembled Parties, a Manhattan-set family drama starring Judith Light and Jessica Hecht, opens at Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. The limited engagement runs 119 performances, and earns Light a Tony Award for her performance.

2014 Act One, James Lapine's adaptation of playwright, director, and lyricist Moss Hart's memoir, opens on Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater's Vivian Beaumont Theater. Santino Fontana, Tony Shalhoub, and Andrea Martin star.

2017 Groundhog Day, Tim Minchin and Danny Rubin's Broadway musical based on the 1993 film about a TV weatherman who relives the same day over and over again, opens at the August Wilson Theatre. Andy Karl, who stars as Phil Connors, performs in the show's opening night despite having torn his ACL during a performance two days prior.

2019 The characters travel to hell and back, but audiences are in musical heaven when Hadestown opens on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Anaïs Mitchell's folk opera (previously seen Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop) weaves together the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice and Hades and Persephone, and goes on to win eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, score, director, and Featured Actor for André De Shields.

Today's Birthdays: Irene Castle (1893-1969). Thornton Wilder (1897-1975). L. Scott Caldwell (b. 1950). Rebecca Luker (1961-2020). Marla Schaffel (b. 1968). Jennifer Garner (b. 1972).

From Phantom to Fun Home: Celebrating Rebecca Luker on the Stage

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