Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: March 2 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: March 2 Smokey Joe's Cafe, the musical revue saluting the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, opens on this date in 1995.
Brenda Braxton, B.J. Crosby, DeLee Lively and Pattie Darcy Jones in the original production of Smokey Joe's Cafe Joan Marcus

1900 Composer Kurt Weill is born in Dessau, Germany. He composes the scores for Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera and Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. His greatest Broadway success is the 1941 musical Lady in the Dark, written with Moss Hart and Ira Gershwin, which runs 467 performances.

1921 The Klaw Theatre on West 45th Street opens with a production of Rachel Crothers' Nice People. Owned by theatrical producer Marc Klaw, the house is renamed the Avon in 1929. Columbia Broadcasting System takes it over for its radio studio in 1934. The theatre is demolished in 1954.

1955 Harold Clurman directs Bus Stop. Kim Stanley and Elaine Stritch are two of the stranded passengers in the William Inge play.

1960 Don Ameche stars in the memorable flop 13 Daughters, with book, music, and lyrics by Eaton Magoon, Jr. The show runs 28 performances at the 54th Street Theatre.

1975 Did anyone guess the careers Gilda Radner, John Belushi, and Bill Murray would have? All three appear in The National Lampoon Show at the Palladium in New York. The revue, directed by Martin Charnin, runs 23 weeks.

1989 Ken Ludwig's Lend Me a Tenor, starring Victor Garber, Philip Bosco, and Tovah Feldshuh, opens on Broadway at the Royale Theatre. Bosco and director Jerry Zaks win Tony Awards for their work.

1995 Opening night for Smokey Joe's Cafe, the musical revue saluting the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Directed by Jerry Zaks, the show runs 2,036 performances at the Virginia Theatre, making it the longest-running revue in Broadway history, save Oh! Calcutta!

2000 Susan Stroman and John Weidman's dance play Contact starts performances at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. The show, which sold out its Off-Broadway run at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, gains Broadway status (and Tony eligibility) in the move. It officially opens March 30, and wins the Tony Award for Best Musical, despite using an entirely prerecorded score of jazz music and pop tunes.

2014 The New York premiere of Sarah Ruhl's romantic comedy Stage Kiss opens Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. Jessica Hecht and Dominic Fumusa star as actors in a forgotten 1930s melodrama who quickly lose touch with reality as their onstage story follows them offstage.

2017 Joshua Harman's Significant Other opens on Broadway at the Booth Theatre following a successful Off-Broadway run. Gideon Glick stars as a gay, single twentysomething whose bond with his once-inseparable group of friends begins to fracture as the women in his life get married. The production runs 61 performances.

2020 Company returns to Broadway (with a twist) as a new revival of the Stephen Sondheim and George Furth musical begins previews at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. Marianne Elliott’s gender-reversed production starring Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone was officially scheduled to open March 22—Sondheim’s 90th birthday—but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It would instead end up opening December 9, 2021. 

2020 Diana, the new musical about the late Princess of Wales, begins previews at Broadway's Longacre Theatre. The musical was scheduled to officially open March 31, but was delayed due to COVID-19. The show would instead open in November 2021 and close a month later. 

More of Today's Birthdays: Marc Blitzstein (1905-1964). Martin Ritt (1914-1990). Desi Arnaz (1917-1986). Eddie Lawrence (1919-2014). John Cullum (b. 1930). Robert Falls (b. 1954). Daniel Craig (b. 1968). Bryce Dallas Howard (b. 1981). Bobby Steggart (b. 1981).

More Today in Theatre History

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