Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: November 21 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: November 21 In 1934, the original Broadway production of Anything Goes, starring includes Ethel Merman, opens at the Alvin Theatre.
Ethel Merman in Anything Goes

1694 Birthday of French author François Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire, whose satirical novel Candide serves as source material for the 1956 Leonard Bernstein/Lillian Hellman/Dorothy Parker musical.

1888 Birthday of Adolph Marx, better known as Harpo, silent sibling of the Marx Brothers comedy team, seen on Broadway in I'll Say She Is, Animal Crackers, and The Cocoanuts, and a character in the biographical musical Minnie's Boys.

1933 Birthright has just seven performances at the 49th Street Theatre. Richard Maibaum's play deals with the suffering of a German-Jewish family under the Nazi regime.

1934 With words and music by Cole Porter, Anything Goes opens at the Alvin Theatre. The cast includes Ethel Merman, William Gaxton, and Victor Moore in the one year-plus run. The book, about cabaret singer Reno Sweeney and Public Enemy No. 13 chasing around a France-bound ocean liner, is provided by Guy Bolton, P.G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay, and Russel Crouse. Songs include "I Get a Kick Out of You" and "Blow, Gabriel, Blow."

1944 George S. Kaufman directs his own script of The Late George Apley, based on the Pulitzer-winning novel by John P. Marquand. Leo G. Carroll plays the title character, and the production runs 384 performances at the Lyceum Theatre.

1979 Strider, based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, comes to the Helen Hayes Theatre after first being seen at the Chelsea Theatre Center. Gerald Hiken stars as a horse named Strider and is saddled with the part for 27 weeks.

1983 Garry Trudeau's comic strip Doonesbury comes to life in a musical by Trudeau and Elizabeth Swados. It runs just 104 performances at the Biltmore Theatre, but features several future stars: Gary Beach, Kate Burton, and Mark Linn-Baker.

1994 Eileen Atkins and Vanessa Redgrave star in the Zoe Caldwell-directed Vita and Virginia, based on the correspondence between Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf, at the Union Square Theatre. Atkins had previously played Woolf in a 1991 Off-Broadway stage adaptation of A Room of One's Own. This show, which The Times calls a "literary tea-for-two," runs 29 performances.

1999 Carol Burnett raises a glass with fellow partygoers John Barrowman, George Hearn, Ruthie Henshall, and Bronson Pinchot as they try Putting It Together at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The cocktail party is a front to perform a "review" of songs by Stephen Sondheim. The show was conceptualized and created by Sondheim in 1992, when it was produced in London by Cameron Mackintosh. It then came to Off-Broadway starring Julie Andrews. Now on Broadway at last, the show runs 101 performances.

2004 The national tour of the new Disney musical On the Record, featuring more than 50 songs from the Disney catalog, bows at Cleveland's Palace Theatre, starring Emily Skinner and Brian Sutherland. It continues through summer 2005 but does not go to Broadway.

2010 Simon Bent's Elling, an odd-couple comedy about two inmates from a mental institution who are given a shot at living on their own, opens on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Directed by Doug Hughes, the cast includes Brendan Fraser, Denis O'Hare, Jennifer Coolidge, Richard Easton, and Jeremy Shamos. The production closes the following Sunday, after 9 performances.

2011 For the first time since they dazzled audiences in the original Broadway production of Evita, Tony winners Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin share a Broadway stage in An Evening With Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin. The pair perform songs including "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues," "Don't Cry For Me Argentina," "Oh What a Circus," and the famous bench scene from Carousel. The limited engagement runs 63 performances at the Barrymore Theatre.

2013 The world premiere of Amanda Peet's The Commons of Pensacola opens Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club. Blythe Danner and Sarah Jessica Parker star in the play about a woman who was forced to leave her luxurious New York life after her husband's Wall Street scam became headline news.

2017 Billy Crudup plays a shy, Midwestern man masquerading as a highbrow Londoner in David Cale's solo play Harry Clarke, opening Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre. The production extends twice at the Vineyard, and later transfers to the Minetta Lane Theatre for a return engagement.

More of Today's Birthdays: Vivian Blaine (1921-1995). Will B. Able (1923-1981). Marlo Thomas (b. 1937). Robert Drivas (1935-1986). Laurence Luckinbill (b. 1934). Lorna Luft (b. 1952). Larry Hochman (b. 1953). Cherry Jones (b. 1956). Moisés Kaufman (b. 1963). Carly Rae Jepsen (b. 1985).

Putting It Together on Broadway

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