TLW's British Theatrescope™ (British Theatre Historyscope)
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: May 6, 2017. Last Update: June 20, 2017.
Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to British theatre and British playwright history. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.
London has its own Broadway called Theatreland in West End, London, consisting of about 40 theatres in the region bounded by The Strand, Oxford Street, Regent Street, and Kingsway, with the main streets being Drury Lane, Shaftesbury Ave., and The Strand; in 2013 gross ticket sales were £585.5M, and attendance was 14.59M; the longest-running West End shows are "The Mousetrap" (1952), with 26K+ perf., followed by "Les Miserables" (1985) with 13K, "The Phantom of the Opera" (1986) with 12K+, "The Woman in Black" (1989) with 11K+, and "Blood Brothers" (1988) with 10,013. West End theatre has a cross-fertilizing relationship with New York City's Broadway theatre.
On Apr. 23, 1564 (May 3 Gregorian) (Sun.) (St. George's Day) English Elizabethan/Jacobean #1 poet-playwright ("the Bard of Avon") William "Will" Shakespeare (1564-1616) (anagram for "We all make his praise", "I am a weakish speller") [Taurus] is born in a tall jar, er, a half-timber Tudor house in Stratford-upon-Avon (Stratford-on-Avon) 100 mi. N of London in Warwickshire (second w not pronounced); he was baptized on Apr. 26, and we're just guessing that he was born on Apr. 23. He was the eldest of six children (3rd eldest of eight, of whom the first two died before him) incl. Joan (1558), Margaret (1562-3), Gilbert (1566-1612), Joan II (1569-1646), Anne (1571-79), Richard (1574-1613), and Edmund (1580-1607); father John Shakespeare (1531-1601) from Snitterfield was a glove maker and leather merchant, and worked for the town council tasting locally-produced beer, and acted as bailiff (sheriff); mother Mary Arden (1537-1608) (married in 1557) was from a wealthy local family; in summer 1564 the plague killed 200+ of his neighbors; Will attends King Edward VI Grammar School, whose teachers came from Oxford U.
In 1567 the Red Lion Theatre in Whitechapel (modern-day Tower Hamlets) outside London is built, becoming the first permanent theater in England built since Roman times; too bad, it folds after presenting The Story of Samson because it's built on open farmland that's too hard to get to in the winter.
In Dec. 1576 after James Burbage (Burbadge) (1530-97) (father of Richard Burbage) gets pissed-off at the city of London for passing regulations on Inn-yards in 1574 and signs a 21-year lease of land in Finsbury Fields, Shoreditch (modern-day Hackney) outside the City of London Wall in an area known for houses of sin, with permission to build a playhouse, he opens The Theatre, becoming London's 2nd permanent theater after the Red Lion (1567), and the first successful permanent dedicated theatre built in England since Roman times, becoming home to the Lord Chamberlain's Men and actor-playwright William Shakespeare.
In Dec. 1576 the Admiral's (Lord Howard's) (Earl of Nottingham's) Men (Company), backed by powerful patron Lord High Adm. Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham (1536-1624) (cmdr. of the English fleet against the 1588 Spanish Armada) begin performing, becoming the #2 acting troupe after Shakespeare's Lord Chamberlain's Men.
In 1581 17-y.-o. Canterbury, Kent-born Christopher "Kit" Marlowe (1564-93) becomes a divinity student at Benet (later Corpus Christi) College at Cambridge; he leaves before taking Anglican orders to become a playwright, writing his first play Dido, Queen of Carthage (debuts in London in 1587-1593) (which contains suspiciously homoerotic scenes?), and joining London's entertainment industry, which is always looking for good scripts? - I like the nightlife, I love to boogey?
In 1583 the Queen's Co. of Players is formed in London by Sir Edmund Tilney (Tylney) (1536-1610) after the Puritan-run Corp. of London closed the theaters on the Surrey shore under the claim that they spread the plague each summer.
In 1589-91 Shakespeare writes the comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona, his first play, which showed that he wasn't ready to handle scenes with more than four characters. It has the smallest cast of any Shakespeare play, and was the first in which the heroine (Julia) dresses as a boy. It borrows from Jorge de Montemayor's 1559 romance "Diana Enamorada", and John Lyly's 1589 play "Midas". It was not performed until 1762. It's the first of three plays (The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet) set in Verona on the Adige River in N Italy, known for its humid subtropical climate. Summary: Valentine, his clownish servant Speed and babe Silvia (daughter of the duke of Milan); friend Proteus, whose servant is Launce (whose dog is Crab), and who jilts his babe Julia (whose maid is Lucetta) for Sylvia, and gets Valentine banished so he can close in; meanwhile foolish Thurio has been chosen for Sylvia by her daddy, and closes in on her, while pissed-off Julia dresses in drag and becomes Proteus' page Sebastian to win him back, after which Proteus tries in vain to woo Silvia, and finally tries to rape her, but she is saved by Valentine, who then turns around and gives her to him for friendship's sake, causing Julia to faint, give her identity away, and cause Proteus to suddenly fall in love with her, allowing Valentine to marry Silvia. "To be in love, where scorn is bought with groans" (Valentine) (1.1.30); "I have no other, but a woman's reason;/ I think him so because I think him so" (1.2.23-4) (Lucetta); "They do not love that do not show their love. (Julia)/ O! they love least that let men know their love (Lucetta)" (1.2.31); "Though ne'er so black, say they have angels' faces./ That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man,/ If with his tongue he cannot win a woman" (3.1.103-4) (Valentine); "Nay then, the wanton lies; my face is black" (Thurio)/ "But pearls are fair, and the old saying is,/ Black men are pearls in beauteous ladies' eyes" (Proteus)/ 'Tis true, such pearls as put out ladies' eyes;/ For I had rather wink than look on them" (5.2.10-14) (Julia).
In 1588-93 Christopher Marlowe (1564-93) debuts his tragedy Doctor Faustus (The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus), which is performed 25x by the Admiral's Men between Oct. 1594 and Oct. 1597; scholar Faust makes a pact with the Devil, allowing him to become invisible and steal from the pope, then finds himself unable to burn his books or repent to God to get the contract annulled, and is carried off by demons; gets Marlowe arrested on blasphemy charges, insuring his fame?
In 1590-1 Shakespeare writes the history Henry VI, Pt. 2 ("The First part of the Contention betwixt the two famous Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, with the death of the good Duke Humphrey: And the banishment and death of the Duke of Suffolke, and the Tragicall end of the proud Cardinal of Winchester, with the notable Rebellion of Jack Cade: and the Duke of Yorke's first claim unto the Crowne"). Summary: Henry VI and his son Prince Edward of Wales (Edward VI), Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, Cardinal Beaufort, bishop of Winchester (great-uncle of Henry VI); Duke Richard Plantagenet of York and his son Duke Richard of Gloucester (Richard III); Edmund Beaufort, 2nd duke of Somerset; William de la Pole, 1st duke of Suffolk; Humphrey Stafford, 1st duke of Buckingham, Thomas Clifford, 8th baron de Clifford and his son John, Richard Neville, 5th earl of Salisbury; Richard Neville, 16th earl of Warwick, Thomas de Scales, 7th baron Scales; James Fiennes, 1st baron Saye and Sele. "Open your ears; for which of you will stop/ The vent of hearing when loud Rumor speaks?" (Intro., lines 1-2); "To weep is to make less the depth of grief" (2.1.85); "The game's afoot" (3.1.32); "Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep" (3.1.53); "Small things make base men proud" (4.1.106); "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" (Dick the Butcher) (4.2.83-4); "Presume not that I am the thing I was" (5.5.57). In 1590-1 he also wrote the history Henry VI, Pt. 3 (best of the three?). Summary: Henry VI, Queen Margaret of Anjou and son Prince Edward of Wales (Edward VI), Louis XI of France, Edmund Beaufort, 4th Duke of Somerset, Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter, John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland, Ralph Neville, 2nd Earl of Westmorland, John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford, Duke Richard Plantagenet of York and his son Duke Richard of York (Richard III), Earl Edmund of Rutland, Duke George of Clarence, John Mowbray, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu, Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings. "O tiger's heart wrapped in a woman's hide!" (1.4.137); "The battle fares like to the morning's war,/ When dying clouds contend with growing light,/ What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails,/ Can neither call it perfect day nor night." (2.5.1-4); "Peace! Impudent and shameless Warwick, peace;/ Proud setter up and puller down of kings!" (3.3.156); "I'll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;/ I'll slay more gazers than the basilisk;/ I'll play the orator as well as Nestor,/ Deceive more slily than Ulysses could,/ And, like a Sinon, take another Troy./ I can add colours to the chameleon,/ Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,/ And set the murderous Michiavel to school./ Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?/ Tut, were it farther off, I'll pluck it down." (3.3.187-94); "Hasty marriage seldom proveth well" (4.1.18); "A little fire is quickly trodden out/ Which, being suffered, rivers cannot quench" (Duke of Clarence) (4.8.7); "Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust?/ And, live how we can, yet die we must" (5.2.23-28); "Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind;/ The thief doth fear each bush an officer" (5.6.11-12); "Down, down to hell; and say I sent thee thither" (Gloucester) (5.6.69).
In 1590-2 William Shakespeare writes the comedy The Taming of the Shrew, which is first performed on June 13, 1594 at Newington Butts Theatre, becoming his first performed play; set in Verona. Summary: Baptista of Padua has two daughters, the shrew Katherina and the beautiful money daughter Bianca, and holds off marrying Bianca until somebody takes Katherina off his hands; enter Petruchio, who tames her, allowing Lucentio to pay a fortune for the other. "I'll not budge an inch" (1.14); "Such duty as the subject owes the prince/ Even such a woman oweth to her husband" (Katherina) (5.2.156-7).
In 1591 Shakespeare writes the history Henry VI, Pt. 1; his weakest play?
In 1591-2 Shakespeare writes his first tragedy, the gory Titus Andronicus; Titus has 687 lines, 14th most. Summary: Roman Gen. Titus Andronicus vs. Gothic Queen Tamora; Titus' sons Lucius, Quintus, Martius, and Mutius; Tamora's sons Demetrius, Chiron, and Alarbus; Tamora's lover Aaron the Moor.
In 1592 Christopher Marlowe (1564-93) debuts his blank verse tragedy The Jew of Malta (The Famous Tragedy of the Rich Jew of Malta), written in 1589-90; based on Machiavelli; he gets a barbarous revenge against the city authorities; puts him on the top of the heap alongside Shakespeare?
In 1592 Shakespeare writes the history Richard III; Richard III has 1,124 lines, 3rd most. Summary: Edward IV of England (who usurped the throne from Henry VI), his brother George, Duke of Clarence, his other brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Richard III), his wife Elizabeth, Richard's ally the Duke of Buckingham, Lady Anne (widow of Edward, prince of Wales) (later Richard's wife), Henry VI's widow Margaret, the Earl of Richmond (Henry VII). "Now is the winter of our discontent/ Made glorious summer by this sun of York" (1.1.1); "No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity" (1.2.71); "Talkers are no good doers" (1.3.351); "Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour" (1.3); "For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground/ And tell sad stories of the death of kings"; (3.2); "Not all the water in the rough rude sea/ Can wash the balm from an anointed King" (3.2); "Discharge my followers; let them hence away,/ From Richard's night to Bolingbrooke's fair day" (3.2); "A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!" (5.4.7); "Keep time! How sour sweet music is when time is broke and no proportion kept!/ So it is in the music of men's lives./ I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;/ For now hath time made me his numb'ring clock;/ My thoughts are minutes, and with sighs they jar/ Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,/ Whereto my finger, like a dial's point,/ Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears”; (5.5.42-54); "No matter where; of comfort no man speak:/ Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;/ Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes/ Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth"; "For sorrow ends not, when it seemeth done"; "No deeper wrinkles yet?/ Hath sorrow struck/ So many blows upon this face of mine/ And made no deeper wounds?'; "I hate the murderer, love him murdered"; "More are men's ends mark'd than their lives before:/ The setting sun, and music at the close,/ As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last,/ Writ in remembrance more than things long past"; "Mine honor is my life; both grow in one./ Take honor from me, and my life is done"; "O that I were a mockery king of snow/ Standing before the sun of Bolingbroke/ To melt myself away in water drops!'; "Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay; the worst is death and death will have his day"; "This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle/ This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars./ This other Eden, demi-paradise./ This fortress built by Nature for herself/ Against infection in the hand of war,/ This happy breed of men, this little world,/ This precious stone in the silver sea,/ Which serves it in the office of a wall/ Or as a moat defensive to a house,/ Against the envy of less happier lands, - / This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England."
In 1592-3 Thomas Kyd (1558-94) and Shakespeare writes the history Edward III, which is filled with gibes against Scotland and its people; it is printed anonymously in 1596, and not incl. in the First Folio, which was pub. during the reign of Scottish king James I. Coincidence or not, on May 11, 1593 the English privy council orders the arrest of all authors of "divers lewd and mutinous libels" that had been posted around London, and on May 12 Kyd is arrested at the Chislehurst home of Thomas Walsingham of Scadbury (1561-1630) (where he lived with Christopher Marlowe, who had been given the home to ride out the plague), and an Arian tract is found that "denies the eternal deity of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour", causing him to be tortured and rat out rommate Marlowe, who is arrested on May 20 to obtain his release; on May 30 after appearing before the privy council and awaiting their decision, Canterbury, Kent-born gay pedophile ("They that love not tobacco and boys are fools") and blasphemy-loving ("Christ was a bastard and his mother unchaste", "The woman of Samaria and her sister were whores and Christ porked them", "St. John the Evangelist was Christ's gay bud and that's why he always leaned in his bosom, he used him as the sinners of Sodom") poet-playwright Christopher "Kit" Marlowe (1564-93) is killed (stabbed above the right eye) in a Deptford house brawl (after arguing over the bill) by Ingram Frizer (-1627) (a member of Walsingham's secret service, along with Marlowe?) with a dagger that he snatched from Marlowe's hand (after Marlowe snatched it from him and attacked him first?), dying theatrically with a blood-curdling scream, cursing and blaspheming; Frizer gets a royal pardon for self-defense on June 28; Kyd is ruined and soon died bankrupt; was Marlowe meeting with agents of Sir Robert Cecil about a secret mission to Scotland concerning James VI?; was the corpse of a murdered sailor substituted for Marlowe's for the inquiry, and Marlowe faked his death, going on to be the real Shakespeare?; the murder took place 4 mi. from the site of John Penry's execution. Marlowe's work established blank verse in English theater, although his bombastic, blood-and-thunder plots, filled with improbabilites and impossibilities and wildly ranting dialogue are no match for Shakespeare?
In May 1594 the theaters in London are reopened; the Lord Chamberlain's Men is chartered by Lord Chamberlain (1585-96) Henry Carey (1687-1743), 1st Baron Hunsdon (1526-96), son of Anne Boleyn's sister Mary and first cousin to Elizabeth I; when he disd his son George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon (1547-1603) takes over; Shakespeare works for the company for most of his career; besides Shakeaspeare, the company's main actor is Richard Burbage (1568-1619), son of impresario James Burbage, who plays the title role in Shakespeare's "Hamlet", "Othello", "Richard III", and "King Lear", having no problemo with the unprecedented number of lines he had to memorize. Too bad, he has to play second fiddle to tall London thespian Edward Alleyn (1566-1626), who specialized in Marlowe's and Kyd's plays, and never acted in one of Shakespeare's, founding the rival Admiral's Men at the Rose on the S shore.
In 1594 Shakespeare writes the comedy (his shortest play) The Comedy of Errors (The Night of Errors) (1770 lines total), about two sets of twins, Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio, and Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant Dromio; Adriana, Luciana, Egeon and Emilia, Angelo; only play to mention America; "err" refers to syphilis. In 1594-5 he wrote the comedy Love's Labour's Lost, first pub. in 1597. Inspired by Sir Francis Bacon's travels in 1576-9 with Sir Amyas Paulet, English ambassador in France, incl. Navarre. Summary: the king of Navarre and his lords Berowne, Longaville and Dumain, Holofernes the schoolmaster (really Italian-born English court brain man John Florio (1553-1625)?), the princess of France and her attendants Rosaline, Maria, and Katherine, and her advisor Boyet, Don Armado from Spain, country girl Jacquenetta and her beau Costard the clown, who plays "fast and loose" (1.2.153) by breaking the king's commandment to keep all women at least 1 mi. from his court for 3 years; Act 1 Scene 5 contains Shakespeare's longest word (27 letters) (uttered by Costard), "honorificabilitudinitatibus" (the state of being able to achieve honors); an anagram for "hi ludi, F. Baconis nati, tuiti orbi" (these plays, F. Bacon's offspring, are preserved for the world" and/or "I, B. Ionsonii, uurit a lift'd batch" (I, Ben Johnson, writ a lift'd batch) - let me floccinaucinihilipilificate about that a minute? In 1594-6 he wrote the history play King John, which was not pub. until the First Folio in 1623. Summary: King John of England, his mom Eleanor, his nephew Arthur, King Philip of France, justiciar Hubert de Burgh, Philip Faulconbridge the Bastard (Sir Richard Plantagenet, son of Richard Lionheart), Cardinal Pandulph; "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily.../ Is wasteful and ridiculous excess" (4.2.11-16); "This England never did, nor ever shall,/ Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror" (5.7.112-3).
In 1595 Shakespeare might have written the comedy Love's Labour's Won, which was mentioned by Christopher Hunt in Aug. 1603 but never found.
Also in 1595 Shakespeare writes the history Richard II (Richard II has 753 lines, 11th most). Summary: Richard II of England and his cousin Henry Bolingbroke (Henry IV), Henry's daddy John of Gaunt, Duke Edmund of York (John's brother), Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. "The purest treasure mortal times afford/ Is spotless reputation" (1.1.177); "How long a time lies in one little word!" (1.3.213); "This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle/... This happy breed of men, this little world,/... This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,/ This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,/ Fear'd by their breed and famous by their birth" (2.1.40); "The ripest fruit first falls" (2.1.154); "You pluck a thousand dangers on your head/ You lose a thousand well-disposed hearts" (Edmund) (2.1.205-6); "Not all the water in the rough rude sea/ Can wash the balm from an anointed king" (3.2.54); "The worst is death, and death will have his day" (3.2.103); "And nothing can we call our own but death,/ And that small model of the barren earth/ Which serves as paste and cover to our bones./ For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground/ And tell sad stories of the death of kings.../ All murdered; for within the hollow crown/ That rounds the mortal temples of a king/ Keeps Death his court... and with a little pin/ Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!" (3.2.152-170). "He is come to open/ the purple testament of bleeding war" (3.3.93); "And my large kingdom for a little grave,/ A little little grave, an obscure grave" (3.3.153).
Also in 1595 Shakespeare writes the tragedy Romeo and Juliet, an update on the Pyramus and Thisbe story set in Verona, based on the 1562 Arthur Brooke (Broke) poem The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet; "It is a play of itself the worst that I ever heard in my life" (Samuel Pepys, 1662); first romantic play to feature an onstage kiss between a man and woman. Summary: Romeo Montague and his friend Mercutio, Juliet Capulet and her nurse and cousin Tybalt, Friar Laurence, Count Paris (whom Juliet jilts for Romeo); Romeo means "pilgrim to Rome" in Italian, Juliet means "youthful". "Two households, both alike in dignity"; "A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life" (Prologue, line 6); "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?/ Deny thy father, and refuse thy name;/ Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,/ And I'll no longer be a Capulet" (2.2.33); "What's in a name? that which we call a rose/ By any other name would smell as sweet" (2.2.43); "Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized" (2.2.50); "For stony limits cannot hold love out" (2.2.67); "At lovers' perjuries/ They say, Jove laughs" (2.2.92); "In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond" (2.2.98); "O! swear not by the Moon, the inconstant Moon,/ That monthly changes in her circled orb,/ Lest that thy love prove likewise variable" (2.2.109-11); "Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow,/ That I shall say good night till it be morrow" (Juliet) (2.2.184); "Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast" (2.3.94); "O flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified!" (2.4.41); "A plague o' both your houses!/ They have made worms' meat of me" (3.1.112); "Adversity's sweet milk, philosophy" (3.3.54); "Hang up philosophy!/ Unless philosophy can make a Juliet" (3.3.54); "My only love sprung from my only hate" (Juliet).
In 1595-6 Shakespeare writes the comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream, composed for a noble marriage in the winter as a visualization of an ideal summer, and one of the few plots he didn't borrow from others. Ben Jonson points out that it is set on the eve of May Day. Summary: Duke Theseus of Athens and his fiance Hipollyta the Amazon are to be married on the first night of the new Moon, and are approached by lovers Lysander and Hermia for permission to marry, but he orders her to marry Demetrius instead or face death or a nunnery, causing Lysander and Hermia to plan a secret elopement in the woods, filled with fairies ruled by King Oberon (whose servant is Puck AKA Robin Goodfellow) and Queen Titania; meanwhile Helena, who was jilted by Demetrius tries to get him back by giving away their plan, while in the woods, Quince the Carpenter, Snug the Joiner, Bottom the Weaver, Flute the Bellows-Mender, Snout the Tinker, and Starvelin the Tailor decide to stage a play about tragic lovers Pyramus and Thisby, which they turn into a comedy, while Titania falls in love with an ass; after a bunch of doo doo all four lovers are found in the woods by the duke, who first wants to kill Lysander, then changes his mind after Demetrius says he now loves Helena, allowing the two marriages to proceed after viewing the play. "The course of true love never did run smooth" (1.1.132) (Lysander); "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,/ And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind" (1.1.234) (Helena); "The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of/ Pyramus and Thisby" (1.2.11); "Over hill, over dale,/ Thorough bush, thorough brier,/ Over park, over pale,/ Thorough flood, thorough fire" (2.1.2); "Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania" (2.1.60); "I'll put a girdle round the earth/ In forty minutes" (2.1.175); "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" (3.2.115).
In June 1596 the Spanish merchant vessel San Andreas runs aground in Essex, England, causing William Shakespeare to refer to it in "The Merchant of Venice" when Salarino refers to "my wealthy Andrew docked in sand".
In 1596-8 Shakespeare writes the tragi-comedy The Merchant of Venice, written to capitalize on the success of Christopher Marlowe's 1592 play "The Jew of Malta". Summary: Shylock the Jew and his daughter Jessica, her lover Lorenzo, servant Launcelot, rich heiress Portia, merchant Antonio and his friend Bassanio (Portia's beau); the name Jessica (the original Jewish American princess?) is invented for the play; a rich Jew lends 3K ducats with the surety being a pound of Antonio's flesh (to get even for all his mistreatment), but it backfires bigtime; "Your mind is tossing on the ocean" (1.1.8); "You have too much respect upon the world:/ They lose it that do buy it with much care" (1.1.74); "What news on the Rialto?" (1.3.34); "The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose" (1.3.99); "But love is blind, and lovers cannot see/ The pretty follies that themselves commit" (2.6.36); "Young in limbs, in judgment old" (2.7.71); "Here are a few of the unpleasant'st words that ever blotted paper" (3.2.252); "I am not bound to please thee with my answers" (Shylock) (4.1.65); "The quality of mercy is not strain'd,/ It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven/ Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd" (4.1.184-6); "To do a great right, do a little wrong" (4.1.216); "He is well paid that is well satisfied" (4.1.416); "How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!/ Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music/ Creep in our ears" (5.1.54-6).
In Oct. 1596 after William Shakespeare's application to become a gentleman is denied, his father John Shakespeare is granted the Shakespeare Family Coat of Arms, consisting of "Gould, on a Bend, Sables, a Speare of the first Steeled Argent. And for his creast or cognizaunce a falcon, his winges dispplayed Argent standing on a wreath of his coullers", i.e., a yellow spear on a yellow shield, with the Latin inscription "Non Sans Droict", meaning "Not without Right".
In 1596 James Burbage purchased the old Blackfriars Theatre in London (founded on the site of a 13th cent. Dominican monastery), whose lease was held in the mid-1580s by well-connected courtier and art patron Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604), but because of neighborhood pressure he couldn't use it for his company, so in 1599 it ended up being used by the pre-pubescent boys from the Chapel Royal under the name Children of the Chapel, who innovated with artificial lighting and music between acts while successfully charging high prices. In 1608 Burbage finally got control again, and used it for winter performances, with the Globe used during the summer. It was demolished on Aug. 6, 1655.
In 1596-7 Shakespeare writes the history Henry IV, Pt. 1. Summary: Henry IV of England, his son Prince Hal, Hotspur (Henry Percy) (son of the earl of Northumberland), Sir John Falstaff, Welsh rebel Owen Glendower, English rebel Edmund Mortimer, Scottish rebel Earl of Douglas. "Sink or swim" (1.3.194); "I am not in the roll of common men" (3.1.43); "He was but as the cuckoo is in June,/ Heard, not regarded" (3.2.75); "My nearest and dearest enemy" (3.2.123); "The better part of valor is discretion" (5.4.130); "I have more flesh than another man, and therefore more frailty" (3.3.187); "The very life-blood of our enterprise" (4.1.28). In 1596-7 he also writes Henry IV, Pt. 2; Falstaff has a total of 1,178 lines in Pts. 1 & 2. Summary: "It was always yet the trick of our English nation, if they have a good thing, to make it too common" (1.2.244); "He hath eaten me out of house and home" (2.1.82); "Let the end try the man" (2.2.53); "Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance?" (2.4.283); "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown" (3.1.31); "O God! that one might read the book of fate" (3.1.45); "There is a history in all men's lives" (3.1.80); "A man can die but once; we owe God a death" (3.2.253); "We see which way the stream of time doth run/ And are enforc'd from our most quiet sphere/ By the rough torrent of occasion" (4.1.70); "The wish was father, Harry, to that thought!" (4.5.91); "Before thy hour be ripe" (4.5.95); "Commit the oldest sins the newest kind of ways" (4.5.124); "His cares are now all ended" (5.2.3); "How ill white hairs become a fool and jester!" (5.5.52).
In 1596-7 Shakespeare also writes the comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor; Falstaff has 436 lines, which would make his the role with the most lines if the 1,178 from "Henry IV, Pts. 1&2" are added). Summary: Falstaff, Master Ford and Mistress Ford, Master Page and Mistress Anne Page, Fenton, Doctor Caius, Sir Hugh Evans, Master Slender, Justice Shallow; "In despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason, that they were fairies" (Falstaff) (5.5.126-7).
In 1597 Love's Labour's Lost becomes the first play pub. under William Shakespeare's name; financially fixed, he buys the timber-brick on Chapel St. for £60 from William Underhill, "a praty howse of brike and tymbar" (John Leland, Itinerary, 1540) (with 10 fireplaces), the 2nd largest house in Stratford-upon-Avon, built in 1486 for his family by future lord mayor of London (1491-) Sir Hugh Clopton (1440-96); demolished in 1759 by Rev. Francis Gastrell.
In 1598 Westminster, London-born Benjamin "Ben" Jonson (1572-1637) debuts his play Every Man in His Humour at the Curtain Theatre in London; performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men, incl. Shakespeare; chars. represent the humours (physical-mental dispositions) of ancient physiology and psychology; his first success; he goes on to become the #2 English playwright after William Shakespeare during the reign of James I, with his vast classical education and appetite for controversy influencing poets in the Jacobean (1603-25) and Caroline (1625-42) eras.
In 1598-9 Shakespeare writes the omedy, er, comedy Much Ado About Nothing, a pun on Much Ado About an O Thing, i.e., vagina, and Noting, i.e., overheard gossip. Summary: Prince Don Pedro of Arragon and his bastard brother Don Juan, Gov. Leonato of Messina and his niece Beatrice and her lover Benedick (bent his what on an O thing?), Leonato's daughter Hero and her lover Claudio, silly constable Dogberry. "I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your books (1.1.79); "I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face:/ I had rather lie in the woollen" (2.1.31); "As merry as the day is long" (2.1.52); "She speaks poniards, and every word stabs" (2.1.257); "I will tell you my drift" (2.1.406); ""To be a well-favored man is the gift of fortune, but to write and read comes by nature" (3.3.14); "There was never yet philosopher/ That could endure the toothache patiently" (5.1.35); "What though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle/ enough in thee to kill care" (5.1.135); "I was not born under a riming planet" (5.2.40).
In 1598-9 Shakespeare also writes the history Henry V; Henry V has 1,025 lines, 5th most. Summary: Henry V of England, Charles of France and his daughter Princess Katherine ("Kiss me, Kate"), Welsh Capt. Fluellen, Pistol, Corporal Bardolph. "this wooden O" (Prologue 13); "That's the humor of it" (2.1.63); "As cold as any stone" (2.3.26); "I would give all my fame for a pot of ale, and safety" (3.2.14); "Men of few words are the best men" (3.2.40); "The fewer men, the greater share of honour" (4.3.22); "O Kate! Nice customs curtsy to great kings" (5.2.291).
In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain's Men build the 2.5K-seat open-roofed Globe Theatre (a 20-sided icosagon) in Southwark, London after Giles Allen, owner of the land under the N London Playhouse they had been performing in claimed to own the playhouse as well, causing them to dismantle the building at night and ferry it across the Thames to the S bank and rebuild it; Allen tried to take them to court but lost. On Sept. 18-Oct. 20, 1599 Swiss physician Thomas Platter the Younger (1574-1628) visits London theatres, and on Sept. 21 (2:00 p.m.) attended a performance of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" at the Globe Theatre, later writing about it and giving precious details, incl. the stench in the dog enclosure in the rear, where 120 English mastiffs are chained in separate kennels next to a stall with 12 large bears, one blind, and another stall with several bulls: "And the place was evil-smelling because of the lights [offal] and meat on which the butchers fed the said dogs."
In 1599 Shakespeare writes the tragedy Julius Caesar; Brutus has 701 lines, 12th most; Caesar speaks less than 150 lines, and is murdered in Act 3 Scene 1. Summary: Julius Caesar and his wife Calphurnia, Mark Antony, Octavius Caesar, Marcus Brutus ("the noblest Roman of them all" - Antony, 5.5.68), Cassius ("Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: Such men are dangerous" - Caesar), Lepidus; the 2nd of four Shakespeare plays to have a ghost on stage ("Great Caesar's ghost") (Richard III, Hamlet, Macbeth). "It was Greek to me" (Casca) (1.2.288); "... and there have sat/ The livelong day, with patient expectation,/ To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome" (Marullus) (1.1.38-43); "Beware the ides of March" (1.2.18); "Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world/ Like a Colossus" (Cassius) (1.2.133-4); "Cowards die many times before their deaths;/ The valiant never taste of death but once." (Caesar) (2.2.32-3); "I am constant as the northern star" (Caesar) (3.1.60); "Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar" (Caesar's last words) (3.1.77); "Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more" (Brutus) (3.2.21); "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;/ I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him./ The evil that men do lives after them,/ The good is oft interred with their bones" (Antony) (3.2.79-82); "For Brutus is an honorable man;/ So are they all, all honorable men" (3.2.88-9); "Ambition should be made of sterner stuff" (3.2.98); "This was the most unkindest cut of all" (3.2.188); "Cry Havoc!, and let slip the dogs of war" (3.1.273); "Put a tongue/ In every wound of Caesar, that should move/ The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny" (3.2.232-3); "Forever and forever, farewell, Cassius!/ If we do meet again, why, we shall smile;/ If not, why then, this parting was well made" (5.1.117); "It is is impossible... to look without a revulsion... at this travestying of a great man as a silly braggart, whilst the pitiful gang of mischief-makers who destroyed him are lauded as statesmen and patriots" (George Bernard Shaw).
In 1599-1600 Shakespeare writes the comedy As You Like It, based on Thomas Lodge's prose romance "Rosalynde" (1590); Rosalind has 668 lines, 16th most. Summary: Set in the Arden Forest in Warwickshire or the Ardennes in France; The Duke, his cross-dressing daughter Rosalind/Ganymede (most admirable Shakespeare character?) and her Herculean wrestler lover Orlando (son of Sir Rowland de Boys), the Duke's brother Duke Frederick, his attending lords Jaques (pr. likes Jakes) and Amiens, his courtier Le Beau, "motley fool" Touchstone the clown (truant court jester) (a touchstone to prove Rosalind's golden spirit), vicar Sir Oliver Martext, Orlando's brother Oliver and Rosalind's friend Celia/Aliena (daughter of Frederick), lovesick shepherd Silvius and Phoebe, old faithful servant Adam (played by Shakespeare?); "Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens" (2.1.55); "I met a fool i' th' forest,/ A motley fool" (Jaques) (2.7.12-13); "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players" (Jaques) (2.7.139-40); "Time travels in divers paces with divers persons" (3.2.328); "When a man's verses cannot be understood, nor a man's good wit seconded with the forward child, understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room" (Touchstone) (3.3.9-11) (reference to Marlowe?); "Dead shepherd, now I find thy saw of might: "Who ever lov'd that lov'd not at first sight?" (3.5.91) (from Christopher Marlowe); "Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love" (Rosalind) (4.1.103); "Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?" (Rosalind) (4.1.116-7); "Men are April when they woo, December when they wed. Maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives" (Rosalind) (4.1.136-8).
About 1600 the Fortune Playhouse between Whitecross St. and Golden Lane on modern-day Fortune St. in St. Giles-without-Cripplegate just outside London is founded by Philip Henslowe and Edward Alleyn for the Admiral's Men, becoming the chief venue for dramas in London until it is closed by the Puritans in 1642.
In 1600-1 Shakespeare writes the tragedy The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, based on the story of Amleth in Gesta Danorum, a history of Denmark to 1187 in 16 vols. by Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus (1150-1220); a first vers. was written in 1588-93?; set in Elsinore (Helsingor) (site of Kronborg Castle); hammy Hamlet has 1,422 lines, most of any Shakespearean role; Shakespeare plays the ghost? Summary: Danish prince Hamlet avenges the murder of his father the king by killing evil uncle Claudius while fighting bipolar disease?; Prince Hamlet of Denmark, King Claudius of Denmark (Hamlet's uncle) and Queen Gertrude (Hamlet's mother), sententious advisor Polonius and his son Laertes and daughter (Hamlet's babe?) Ophelia (who goes mad); Norwegian Prince Fortinbras; Hamlet's loyal friend Horatio and disloyal friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; the fictitious play "The Murder of Gonzago". "Not a mouse stirring" (1.1.10); "The memory be green" (1.2.2); "Frailty, thy name is woman!" (1.2.146); "It is not nor it cannot come to good" (1.2.158); "Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral baked meats/ Did coldly furnish forth the marriage table" (Hamlet) (1.2.180-1); "In my mind's eye, Horatio" (1.2.185); "I doubt some foul play" (1.2.254); "Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,/ Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,/ Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,/ Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,/ And recks not his own rede" (1.3.51-5); "Neither a borrower nor a lender be,/ For loan oft loses both itself and friend" (Polonius) (1.3.75-6); "This above all: to thine own self be true,/ And it must follow, as the night the day,/ Thou canst not then be false to any man" (Polonius to Laertes) (1.3.78-82); "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" (1.4.90); "Murder most foul, as in the best it is" (1.5.27); "Yea, from the table of my memory/ I'll wipe away all trivial fond records" (1.5.98-9); "Within the book and volume of my brain" (1.5.103); "One may smile, and smile, and be a villain" (1.5.108); "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy" (Hamlet) (1:5.166); "To put an antic disposition on" (1.5.172); "The time is out of joint" (1.5.188); "They say an old man is twice a child" (2.2.413); "The play, I remember, pleased not the million; 'twas/ caviare to the general" (2.2.465); "They are the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time" (2.2.555); "Oh! what a rogue and peasant slave am I" (2.2.584); "What's Hecuba to him or he to Hecuba,/ That he should weep for her?" (2.2.593); "Brevity is the soul of wit... More matter, with less art" (2.2.90-5); "The apparel oft proclaims the man" (Polonius); "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" (2.2.259); "This goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory" (2.2.317); "What a piece of work is a man! How noble in/ reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving,/ how express and admirable! in action how like an/ angel! in apprehension how like a god!" (2.2.322-5); "The play's the thing/ Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king" (Hamlet) (2.2.641); "To be, or not to be: that is the question/ Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,/ Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,/ And by opposing end them?/... To die, to sleep;/ To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;/ For in that sleep of death what dreams may come/ When we have shuffled off this mortal coil/ Must give us pause" (Hamlet) (3.1.56-68); "The undiscover'd country from whose bourn/ No traveler returns" (3.1.79-80); "There's hope a great man's memory may outlive his life half a year" (3.2.141); "For 'tis a question left us yet to prove,/ Whether love lead fortune or else fortune love" (Player King) (3.2.197-8); "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" (3.2.242); "My words fly up, my thoughts remain below/ Words without thoughts never to heaven go" (Claudius) (3.3); "Oh shame! where is thy blush?" (3.4.82); "I must be cruel only to be kind" (3.4.178); "A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king,/ and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm" (4.3.29); "We know what we are, but know what we may be" (4.5.43); "Alas! poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of/ infinite jest, or most excellent fancy" (5.1.201-2); "Sweets to the sweet: farewell" (5.1.265); "And dog will have his day" (5.1.313); "There's a divinity that shapes our ends,/ Rough-hew them how we will" (5.2.10); "It did me yeoman's service" (5.2.36); "The rest is silence" (Hamlet's last words) (5.2.372); "Good night, sweet prince,/ And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!" (5.2.373); an "artistic failure" (T.S. Eliot); "The only objection to Hamlet is that it exists" (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
On Mar. 13, 1601 English lawyer John Manningham (-1622) makes an entry in his diary telling how actor Richard Burbage was playing Richard III in William's Shakespeare's play, and met a comely woman who invited him to her house, telling him to use the code name Richard III, but Shakespeare overhears her and goes in his place, later sending Burbage a bragging note "William the Conqueror was before Richard III" - should have said came before?
In 1601 Shakespeare wrote the comedy (his funniest play?) Twelfth Night (What You Will), named after it debuted on Jan. 6, 1602 (Epiphany, manifestation of the Christ child to the Magi). Summary: Countess Olivia and her suitor Duke Orsino of Illyria on the E coast of the Adriatic, shipwrecked Viola/Cesario and her twin brother Sebastian, rescued by homoerotic Antonio (played by Shakespeare?), Olivia's drunken uncle Toby Belch, never-smiling steward Malvolio (satire of Ben Jonson and his comedy of the two humors, choler and blood, AKA Thanatos and Eros, the first of which causes fury, the second lust?), silly knight-suitor Sir Andrew Aguecheek, maid Maria, butler Fabian, and clown Feste; Viola pretends to be a eunuch named Cesario so she can work for her dream man Orsino, and when she attempts to convince his love Olivia (whose family died earlier, causing her to become an ice queen), it backfires and Olivia goes for him/her, suggesting a lez relationship that cannot be in this Jacobean era where everyone has a natural place; meanwhile drunken Toby Belch pushes Aguecheek on Olivia, and after a bunch of antics, where Maria fools Malvolio into thinking Olivia's in love with him with a fake letter, which causes him to get locked up in a dark room for lunacy, and Sebastian is confused with Cesario by Olivia, it all comes out right when Olivia marries Sebastian, Viola marries Orsino, and Belch marries Maria, restoring the natural order (it works just as good when Olivia pairs with Viola, and Sebastian with Orsino, and Antonio, Aguecheek, Fabian and Malvolio meet again in a gay bar?); Antonio ends up pairless after crying, "Which is Sebastian"; poor Malvolio is so mistreated he walks off swearing that he'll "be revenged on the whole pack of you". "If music be the food of love, play on" (Orsino) (1.1.1); "Love's night is noon" (Olivia) (3.1.162); "Then westward-ho!" (3.1.148); "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them" (Malvolio).
In 1601 Shakespeare wrote the comedy-tragedy Troilus and Cressida, which was not performed at the Globe because of the resemblance between Achilles and the Earl of Essex, or because lying "dog-fox" politician Ulysses resembles court personages. Summary: Trojan lovers Troilus and Cressida, who leaves him for Diomedes after being sent to the Greek camp in a POW exchange, after which Troilus' brother Hector is murdered by Achilles; Paris, Ulysses, Ajax, Margarelon (Priam's bastard son), Cressida's VD-infected pimp uncle Pandarus (source of the verb "to pander"), Greek slave Thersites ("a deformed and scurrilous Greek"); a speech by Ulysses to Achilles makes the word "fashionable" fashionable. "Men prize the thing ungain'd more than it is" (1.2.313); "This is the monstruosity in love, lady: That the will is infinite, and the execution confined: that the desire is boundless, and the act a slave to limit" (Troilus) (3.2.79-81); "The fractions of her faith, orts of her love... are given to Diomed" (Troilus) (5.2.157-9); "O, 'tis fair play" (Troilus) (5.3.40-43).
On Jan. 17, 1603 Elizabeth I dines with Lord Thomas Howard at the Charterhouse, and creates him Lord Howard de Walden, then on Jan. 21 moves her court from Whitehall to "her warm winter box" of Richmond, wearing summer clothes in the cold weather, and telling Lord Nottingham, "My seat hath been the seat of kings, and I will have no rascal to succeed me; and who should succeed me but a king?"; on Feb. 6 she makes her last public appearance, receiving Venetian envoy (first during her reign) Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, speaking to him in Italian and gloating about scoring a coup against the pope by getting the Doge to recognize her after 45 years; on Feb. 16 she okays a pardon for Irish rebel Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone, and attends the funeral of her cousin and closest female friend the Countess of Notthingham, daughter of Lord Hunsdon at Richmond, going into a depression and having to have her coronation ring sawed off after it becomes impacted, then writes to Henry IV of France that "All the fabric of my reign, little by little, is beginning to fail"; on Feb. 26 she delays a meeting with French ambassador de Beaumont; in Mar. she develops a fever, rallies on Mar. 11, relapses on Mar. 12, refuses medical treatment and food, lays on the floor on cushions in her clothes, develops pneumonia, and refuses to be put in bed, explaining that "If she once lay down, she would never rise"; on Mar. 17 after being lifted into a low chair, and being helped to rise, she remain standing for 15 hours, then is helped back onto her cushions, remaining for 4 more days in 3-week-old clothes, then on Mar. 21 finally takes to bed; meanwhile the rumors caused tons of people to head for Scotland to be with King James VI when the good, er, bad news arrived; after a bunch of woo woo woo stuff and giving her soul to Jesus she finally dies before 3 a.m. on Mar. 24 (Thur.), lying on her back with her face to the wall "mildly like a lamb, easily, like a ripe apple from a tree, as the most resplendent sun setteth at last in a western cloud", according to her chaplain Dr. Parry; she died after viewing Hamlet, which debuted earlier in the year; at her death, there was not a single known English colonist in the New World (except possibly the lost colonists of Roanoke, who went injun). On Mar. 24, 1603 James I (1566-1625) (James VI of Scotland since 1567) became king of England, attempting in vain to unite Scotland with England, while dissing tobacco and sponsoring the King James Bible (1604-11), which Shakespeare probably helped with, at least the Psalms. He launched the Bible-thumping Jacobean Era, which saw England move into North America, starting with Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, Newfoundland in 1610, and Plymouth, Mass. in 1620.
On May 19, 1603 James I "licences and authorizes" Elizabeth I's Lord Chamberlain's Men, who are renamed the King's Men, and perform at the English royal court more than any other company, giving almost 200 performances in the next 10 years, modulo a little self-censorship to avoid boring or shocking kingey; James I visits Mary Sidney, who watched the King's Men perform. Too bad, in Dec. 1603 bubonic plague kills 33K in London (25% of the pop.), causing the theatres to be closed; on Nov. 1, 1604 William Shakespeare's Othello debuts at London's Whitehall Palace after the theatres are allowed to open.
In 1603-4 Shakespeare writes the comedy Measure for Measure; Vincentio has 820 lines, 7th most). Based on "Promos and Cassandra" by George Whetstone. The title is an allusion to Christ's Sermon on the Mount ("With what measure yet mete, it shall be measured to you again"); the first play Shakey writes after giving up acting? Summary: Duke Vicentio of Vienna and dickteaser Isabella, Isabella's brother Claudio and Juliet, Angelo and Mariana, ducal advisor Escalus, rogue ("fantastic") Lucio and the whore Kate Keepdown, condemned murderer Barnardine; Vienna is a hotbed of lechery according to Duke Vicentio, so he entrusts supposedly pure Angelo to clean it up by enforcing a capital law against unmarried sex while pretending to leave town but actually disguising himself as a friar; Angelo condemns Claudio to death for doing it with his wife before marriage, causing his sister, wannabe nun Isabella to plead for him, but she's such a babe that he can't control his lusts and makes her decide between giving herself to him or having Claudio tortured, which she refuses even though Claudio says go for it; meanwhile he has rogue Lucio condemned for you know what with a whore; the disguised duke overhears it all and gets Angelo's past jilted lover Mariana to sub for Isabella in a bed trick, but Angelo orders Claudio executed anyway; happily, the duke gets the jailer to substitute condemned prisoner Barnardine for him, who refuses to be executed, then returns sansa disguise, straightens everything out, saves all the necks, and makes Angelo marry Mariana, Claudio marry Juliet, and Lucio marry his whore, then asks for Isabella's hand for himself, which she apparently consents to without saying anything?; "It is excellent to have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant" (Isabella) (2.2.107-9); "I swear I will not die today for any man's persuasion" (Bernardine) (4.3.59); "Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure,/ Like doth quit like, and Measure still for Measure" (5.1.411); "What's mine is yours, and what is yours is mine" (5.1.539).
On Jan. 6, 1605 (Twelfth Night) Ben Jonson (1572-1637) debuts his masque The Masque of Blackness at Whitehall Palace in London; written at the request of James I's wife Anne of Denmark for a blackface masque; how black skin used to be beautiful, but is now replaced by white skin; sets, costumes, and stage effects designed by Smithfield, London-born Inigo Jones (1573-1652), who hooks up with Jonson for a string of masques, going on to stage 500+ performances by 1640, ending in them arguing over whether lit. or stage design is more important in theatre.
In 1603-4 Shakespeare writes the tragedy The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice; Othello has 860 lines, 6th most, and Iago 1,094, 4th most. Based on Cinthio's "Hecatommithi". Summary: black Venetian Gen. Othello the Moor and his way younger white Venetian wife Desdemona, daughter of Brabantio, who marries him because "she did pity them" (1.3.169); "demi-devil" villain Iago, 3rd in command to Othello, who resents his promotion over his head of Cassio ("motiveless malignity" - Samuel Taylor Coleridge) escorts them along with his wife Emilia on a little jaunt to Cyprus to kick Turk butt, poisoning his mind about her by framing her hooking up with Cassio, causing Othello to murder her, find out that he was tricked, and stab and kill himself, with the soundbyte "One that loved not wisely, but too well"; Desdemona's former beau Roderigo. "An old black ram is tupping your white ewe" (1.1.88); "Play the villain" (2.3.345); "O beware, my lord, of jealousy/ It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock/ That meat it feeds on" (3.3.165-7); "I am declined into the vale of years" (3.3.265); "But this denoted a foregone conclusion" (Iago) (3.3.429-30); "Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war" (3.3.355); "I hate the Moor" (Iago).
On Jan. 6, 1605 (Twelfth Night) Ben Jonson (1572-1637) debuts his play The Masque of Blackness at Whitehall Palace in London; written at the request of James I's wife Anne of Denmark for a blackface masque; how black skin used to be beautiful, but is now replaced by white skin.
In 1605-6 Shakespeare writes the tragedy (his best play?) King Lear; Lear has 697 lines, 13th most. Summary: Aging English King Lear asks his daughters Goneril (eldest) (bad) (wife of the Duke of Albany), Regan (Gael. "little king") (bad) (wife of the Duke of Cornwall), and Cordelia (Lat. "heart") (good) to tell him who loves him most, and the bad liars split faithful Cordelia's share of the kingdom, while she is exiled to France along with his former trusted adviser the Earl of Kent; the bad sisters then turn on daddy, take away his servants and force him to spend the night outdoors during a storm accompanied only by his jester the Fool, causing him to go mad, after which Cordelia returns and helps him restore his sanity, only to see the armies of the bad sisters capture them and kill Cordelia; Goneril then poisons Regan over a man they both love, then kills herself, leaving Lear mourning over the body of Cordelia; meanwhile the Earl of Gloucester banishes his good son Edgar in favor of bad son Edmund after he forges a document to ruin him, then Edmund has Regan's husband blind his father, causing him to see the er, light too late; "Nothing will come of nothing" (1.1.92); "Come not between the dragon and his wrath" (1.1.124); "The infirmity of his age" (1.1.296); "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is/ To have a thankless child" (Lear) (1.4.312); "The prince of darkness is a gentleman" (3.4.147); "Do me no foul play, friends" (Gloucester) (3.7.30-31); "The wheel is come full circle" (5.3.176).
In 1605-6 Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton (1580-1627) write the tragedy Timon of Athens; Timon has 795 lines, 9th most. Summary: Timon and his faithful steward Flavius and false friend Vertidius, philosopher Apemantius, "planetary plague" Athenian Capt. Alcibiades.
In spring 1606 Ben Jonson (1572-1637) debuts his comedy Volpone, or The Sly Fox at the Globe Theatre in London; a Venetian gentleman pretends to be on his deathbed in order to dupe three men lusting after his fortune, Voltore (the Vulture), Corbaccio (The Raven), and Corvino (The Crow); Volpone's parasite servant Mosca (The Fly) pumps them with disinfo.; his most popular play.
In summer 1606 English dramatists Francis Beaumont (1584-1616) and John Fletcher (1579-1624) debut their play The Woman Hater; performed by the Children of Paul's; first of their plays to be pub. (1607); Fletcher is William Shakespeare's successor as house playwright for the King's Men; first of 55 plays.
In 1606 (1603-7) Shakespeare writes the tragedy Macbeth; Macbeth has 681 lines, 15th most). Summary: Set in Dunsinane (Glamis) Castle 5 mi. S of Forfar in Angus; "a tempest set to music"; a ripoff of the Adam and Eve story, of course blaming Eve?; the Three Weird Sisters; King Duncan I "the Sick" (-1040) of Scotland and sons Malcolm (Malcom III Canmore) ("big head") (1031-93) and Donalbain (Donalbane) (Donald Bane) "the Fair" (-1099); "red king" (1040-57) Macbeth (-1057), thane (earl) of Glamis and Cawdor, and his goading ambitious wife Lady Macbeth (Gruoch), Macbeth's friend Banquo and his son Fleance, Macduff (loyal to Duncan), "untimely ripped from his mother's womb" (5.8.15-16) (Cesarian section?); "Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him" (4.1.92-3) (see 1054 C.E.); "So foul and fair a day I have not seen" (Macbeth) (1.3.38); "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well/ It were done quickly" (Macbeth) (1.7.1-3); "I have no spur/ To prick the sides of my intent, but only/ Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself/ And falls on th' other" (Macbeth) (1.7.25-28); "I am one, my liege,/ Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world/ Hath so incensed that I am reckless what/ I do to spite the world" (3.1.108-11); "Double, double, toil and trouble;/ Fire burn and caldron bubble" (4.1.10-11); "Bleed, bleed, poor country:/ Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure" (Macduff) (4.3.32-33); "What, all my pretty chickens, and their dam,/ At one fell swoop?" (Macduff) (4.3.218-9); "Out, damned spot!" (Lady Macbeth) (5.1.36); "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow/ Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,/ To the last syllable of recorded time;/ And all our yesterdays have lighted fools/ The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!/ Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player/ That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/ And then is heard no more. It is a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/ Signifying nothing" (Macbeth) (5.5.19-28). That year Shakespeare's Macbeth debuted at Hampton Court before James I and his brother-in-law Christian of Denmark, and James I banned it for five years because of the witches.
In 1606 Shakespeare also writes the tragedy Antony and Cleopatra; Antony has 766 lines, 10th most. Summary: Roman Gen. Mark Antony (ruler of the East) and his babe Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, Octavius Caesar (ruler of the West) and sister Octavia (Antony's wife), Lepidus (ruler of the South), Pompey; Cleopatra's attendant Charmian, who follows her to aspy death. "My salad days,/ When I was green in judgment" (Cleopatra) (1.5.73); "The triple pillar of the world transform'd/ Into a strumpet's fool" (1.1.12-13) (Philo, about Antony); "Ambition,/ The soldier's virtue" (3.1.22).
In 1606-7 Shakespeare writes the comedy All's Well That Ends Well (last play in which Shakespeare acted?), based on "The Palace of Pleasure", tr. by William Painter. Summary: Bertram, Count of Rossillion marries adoring wife Helena (an orphan who was raised by his mother the Countess of Rossillion), then dumps her as too low class, writing her a letter saying that she can never call him husband unless she gets a ring from his finger and becomes pregnant by him, which she proceeds to do by taking the place of a girl he falls for; Lord Lafew, Diana, Parolles ("words"); "My friends were poor, but honest" (1.3.203); "They say miracles are past" (2.3.1); "A young man married is a man that's marr'd" (2.3.314); "The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together" (4.3.68); "All's well that ends well; still the fine's the crown./ Whate'er the course, the end is the renown" (Helena) (4.4.35-6).
In 1607 Shakespeare and George Wilkins (1576-168) write the comedy Pericles, Prince of Tyre; only Shakespeare country title not in Europe; Pericles has 592 lines, 20th most. Summary: Pericles and his wife Princess Thalsa of Pentapolis, their daughter Marina, and their counselor Lord Helicanus; Tarsus Gov. Cleon, Lord Cerimon of Ephesus; Pericles is parted from his wife and daughter and presumes them dead, but reunites with them at the end; Pericles discovers the secret that King Antiochus had incest with his daughter Thalsa.
In 1607-8 (1605-8?) Shakespeare writes the tragedy The Tragedy of Coriolanus; Coriolanus has 809 lines, 8th most). Summary: Set in 490 B.C.E.; Roman Gen. Caius Martius (Coriolanus), his mother Volumnia and friend Menenius Agrippa, Rome's sole consul Gen. Cominius (no tribunes), Volscian Gen. Tullus Aufidius (Coriolanus' enemy); Corioli is the Volscian city that you-know-how single-handedly conquers, then is banished from Rome, joins his enemies, and returns, being talked out of it at the last moment by mommy, causing the Volscians to kill him. "Action is eloquence" (3.2.76) (Volumnia).
In Aug. 1608 the King's Men ttake over the roofed-in Blackfriars Theatre, which is smaller than the Globe but could stage performances at night and in winter and charge more; in Sept. (momma's boy?) William Shakespeare's mother Mary died, and he entered his Fancy Free Age (1608-13).
In 1609-10 Shakespeare writes the comedy The Winter's Tale; Leontes has 648 lines, 17th most. Summary: King Leontes of Sicilia and his wife Queen Hermione, son Prince Mamillius, and daughter Perdita ("marooned"), who is marooned on "the sea-coast of Bohemia"; King Polixenes of Bohemia and his son Prince Florizel; thief Autolycus, Sicilian lord Antigonus and his wife Paulina; Leontes' advisor Camillo, who refuses to poison Polixenes and helps him escape after Leontes gets jealous of Polixenes, thinking he's hooking up with his wife Hermione, with Leontes uttering the soundbyte: "And many a man there is, even at this present,/ Now while I speak this, holds his wife by th'arm,/ That little thinks she has been sluiced in's absence/ And his pond fished by his next neighbor, by/ Sir Smile, his neigbor" (1.2.192-6); after Polixenes escapes, Leontes imprisons Hermione and has her newborn child Perdita abandoned, after which Mamillius dies pining for his mother Hermione, who dies of a broken heart, after which Leontes wakes up, and tries to find Perdita in vain, after which she grows up and hooks up 16 years later with Florizel, is revealed as Leontes' daughter, and Perdita is found to be playing a statue to keep away from him, but now hooks back up with him, for a happy ending, except for Mammilius; "You pay a great deal too dear for what's given freely" (1.1); We were, fair queen,/ Two lads that thought there was no more behind/ But such a day to-morrow as to-day,/ And to be boy eternal/... We were as twinned lambs that did frisk i' the sun,/ And bleat the one at the other: what we changed/ Was innocence for innocence; we knew not/ The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dream/d/ That any did/... 1.2.78-87) (Polixenes to Hermione about him and Leontes in their youth); "But to be paddling palms and pinching fingers,/ As now they are, and making practised smiles,/ As in a looking-glass" (Leontes) (1.2.115-7); "How like, methought, I then was to this kernel, This squash, this Gentleman" (1.2); "A sad tale's best for winter: I have one/ Of sprites and goblins" (Mamilius) (2.1.25-26); "It is a heretic that makes the fire,/ Not she who burns in 't" (2.3); "I am a feather for each wind that blows" (2.3); "What's gone and what's past help/ Should be past grief" (3.2.223-4) (Paulina to Hermione); "Exit, pursued by a bear" (meaning Antigonus) (3.3.58); "For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale" (Autolycus) (4.3.4); "A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles" (Autolycus) (4.3.1); "Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance" (Autolycus) (4.4.712-3); "I love a ballad in print o'life, for then we are sure they are true" (4.4); "To unpathed waters, undreamed shores" (4.4); "'Tis time; descend; be stone no more; approach" (Paulina to the statue of Hermione) (5.3.99).
In 1610 Ben Jonson (1572-1637) debuts his comedy The Alchemist, a satire on the follies, vanities, and vices of mankind; his best comedy?; after Lovewit flees his home in London to avoid the plague, his butler turns it into a con game HQ, becoming Captain Farce and hiring conman Subtle and ho Doll Common; marks incl. Dapper, Drugger, Sir Epicure Mammon, Surly, and Ananias the Anabaptist.
In 1610-11 Shakespeare writes the comedy The Tragedy of Cymbeline, King of Britain. Summary: Cymbeline, Celtic king of Britain and his queen, Posthumous and Imogen, Pisanio, Cloten, Belarius, Guiderius (Polydore), Arviragus (Cadwal), Iachimo. "Hath his bellyful of fighting" (2.1.24); "Hark! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings" (2.3.22); "The game is up" (3.3.107); "Slander,/ Whose edge is sharper than the sword" (3.4.35); "I have not slept one wink" (3.4.103).
In 1610-11 Shakespeare writes the comedy The Tempest for the marriage of German "Winter king" Friedrich V and Elizabeth of Bohemia; his last play written without the collaboration of John Fletcher; the first play in the First Folio; Prospero has 603 lines, 19th most; Summary: Prospero (duke of Milan) ("the favored one") (It. trans. of Faustus), Miranda, Alonso, Ferdinand, Antonio, Sebastian, Ariel (Heb. "lion of God") (a sprite), "savage and deformed slave", "howling monster", "drunken monster", "most scurvy monster" Caliban (father is a sea devil, mother is the Algerian witch Sycorax), Trinculo; "Full fathom five thy father lies./ Of his bones are coral made./ Those are pearls that were his eyes./ Nothing of him that doth fade,/ But doth suffer a sea-change/ Into something rich and strange/ Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell"; "Our revels now are ended. These our actors,/ As I foretold you, were all spirits, and/ Are melted into air, into thin air" (Prospero) (4.1.148-50); "How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, /That has such people in 't!" (Miranda) (5.1.183-4); "strange bedfellows" (Trinculo and Caliban) (2.2). In 1878 French writer Ernest Renan (1823-92) pub. Caliban, claiming that Caliban represents democracy, Prospero autocracy, and Ariel the religious establishment, which flourishes in the service of Prospero under the govt. of the many-headed brute Caliban. The 1956 film Forbidden Planet, starring Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Nielsen, and Anne Francis is based on this play.
In 1611 the govt.-sponsored King James Bible is pub., becoming a dud with Puritans but forced into all Anglican churches by royal decree, giving them no choice, which turns out well because the language is so beautiful; Psalm 46 features word 46 from the beginning "shake" and word 46 from the end "spear", and of course William Shakespeare (b. 1564) is 46 the first part of this year; a tribute, or did he translate it? - it's a pajama people special?
In 1612-13 Shakespeare and John Fletcher (1579-1625) write the comedy The History of Cardenio, based on Miguel Cervantes' "Don Quixote"; it is now lost; in 2010 English prof. Brean Hammond claimed that Lewis Theobald's 1727 play "Double Falsehood" is based on it, like he claimed all along.
Also in 1612-13 Shakespeare and Fletcher write the history Henry VIII, or All Is True. "No man's pie is freed/ From his ambitious finger" (1.1.52); "The mirror of all courtesy" 2.1.53); "I would not be a queen/ For all the world" (2.3.45); "Press not a falling man too far" (3.2.334).
In 1613 Shakespeare and Fletcher wrote the comedy The Two Noble Kinsmen. Summary: Theseus, Duke of Athens and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, Emilia, Palamon, and Arcite. "O grief and time,/ Fearful consumers, you will all devour!" (1.1.69-70);
On June 29, 1613 the Globe Theatre in Southwark, London burns down in two hours after a loose dick, er, tom, er cannon was set off during a performance of Shakespeare's "Henry VIII"; no one is hurt and the Globe is rebuilt in June 1614, and closed in 1642. Too bad, in 1610 at the pinnacle of his career Shakespeare retires to New Place in Stratford-upon-Avon, also buying a house in Blackfriars; John Fletcher takes over as the house playwright for the King's Men - from spears to arrows?
On Oct. 31, 1614 Ben Jonson (1572-1637) debuts his comedy Bartholomew Fayre (Fair): A Comedy at the Hope Theatre in Bankside, followed by Whitehall, London in Nov. 1; performed by Lady Elizabeth's Men, starring Nathan Field, who is paid 10 pounds by James I; last of four comedies; the 4-day fair in Smithfield each year on Aug. 24-27; amateur playwright Littlewit and his friends Quarious and Winwife plot to win widow Dame Purecraft from hypocritical Puritan Zeal-of-the-Land Busy; meanwhile Cokes comes to town with his servant Wasp to marry Grace Wellborn, ward of justice of the peace Adam Overdo, whose wife is Cokes' sister.
On Apr. 23, 1616 (his birthday?) well-to-do retired William Shakespeare (b. 1564) dies of fever in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, leaving 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems et al.; he coined 6.7K (3K?) English words; his vocabulary was 17K-29K words, and he used 7K+ different words only once; Anglican Archdeacon Richard Davies of Lichfield, who had known him later wrote that he had been a secret (illegal) Roman Catholic; his last will and testament leaves the bulk of his estate to his daughter Susanna and her husband, leaving his "second best bed with the furniture [bedclothes]" to his wife; his literary work isn't mention in his will; he was buried in the same place where he had been christened, Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon; his epitaph is "Curst be he that moves my bones", keeping him from being buried in Westminster Abbey?; his grave marker shows him holding a bag of grain, which is changed to a quill in 1747; in 2001 the Journal of Science pub. an analysis of clay pipe fragments dug up from his garden, revealing residues of marijuana, cocaine, and myristic acid; he died from mercury poisoning from treatment for syphilis?
In 1616 Ben Jonson (1572-1637) pub. Works (Folio Ed.), the first folio ed. of its kind, setting a precedent used for Shakespeare's plays in 1623, and Beaumont and Fletcher's plays in 1647.
In Nov. 1623 the posth. First Folio (Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, Published According to the True Originall Copies), is pub. in London, ed. by fellow actors John Heminges (1556-1630), and Henry Condell (-1627); contains 36 plays; Preface by Ben Jonson; "an office to the dead, to procure his orphans' guardians", "to keep the memory of so worthy a friend and fellow alive as was our Shakespeare"; dedicated to Jonson's patron William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke (1580-1630) (chancellor of Oxford U.) and his brother Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke (1584-1650); the title page engraving of WS by Brussels-born Martin Droeshout (1601-51) was drawn from instructions only, since he never saw his subject, and was 15 when Shakespeare died; the "monstrous" drawing of Big S is oddly assymetrical, with a funny line behind his ear down to his chin, as if he has a mask on, giving conspiracy theorists plenty to munch on; the Chandos Portrait of William Shakespeare by John Taylor (1585-1651), painted in 1600-10 is the only contemporary portrait; in 1856 it becomes the first acquisition of the Nat. Portrait Gallery in London; "The play's the thing... look not on his picture but his book"; "He was not of an age, but for all time!"; "Soul of the Age! The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage!"; "Take him and cut him out in little stars/ And he will make the face of heaven so fine,/ That all the world will be in love with night"; "Our Star of Poets" (Ben Jonson); by the 21st cent. only 40 copies survive; on Oct. 8, 2001 one sold at a New York City Christie's Auction for $6,166,000; on July 13, 2006 Sotheby's auctioned one for $5.2M. On Dec. 5, 1623 Sir Edward Dering, 1st Baronet (1598-1644) becomes the first person to buy a copy of the First Folio (two copies at 2 pounds each, along with a vol. of Ben Jonson for 9 shillings), producing an amateur production of "Henry IV" parts 1 and 2 in a household in Pluckley, Kent this year, becoming the first amateur performance of a Shakespeare play.
In 1623 Philip Massinger (1583-1640) begins writing plays for the Lady Elizabeth's Men at the Cockpit Theatre in London (until 1526), giving him more work along with writing plays for the King's Men (since 1616) and Queen Henrietta's Men (formed 1625).
In 1623 William Prynne (1600-69) pub. Histrio-Mastix (Histriomastix): The Players Sourge, or Actors Tragedie, detailing how the Bible proves "that popular stage-playes are sinfull, heathenish, lewde, ungodly spectacles, and most pernicious corruptions". The English Civil War in 1642-51 is a V for the the Puritan Roundheads (Parliamentarians) over the Anglican Cavaliers (Royalists), putting a Bible police state in power that shut down the theaters until the death of leader Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), yes, it was Shakespeare against the Bible.
In 1626 Philip Massinger (1583-1640) debuts his tragedy The Roman Actor at Blackfriars Theatre in London; performed by the King's Men; John Lowin plays Roman emperor Domitian, and Joseph Taylor plays Paris, who gives a defense of the acting profession.
In Sept. 1642 the Puritan Parliament wastes no time 'getting' Shakespeare, forbidding all stage plays and closing all theatres; Christmas is banned in England by the mirthless Puritans, incl. taking the day off from work, decorating with greens, and mince pies (first brought back from the Middle East by 13th cent. Crusaders) for associations with Roman Catholic idolatry; the theaters don't reopen until 1660 - so I quit the police department and got myself a steady job?
In 1660 the English Restoration puts Charles II on the English throne, after which he issues letters patent to his former page boy Thomas Killigrew (1612-83) and poet-playwright Sir William Davenant (D'Avenant) (1606-68), giving them a monopoly right to form two London theatre companies for "serious" drama; in 1662 the letters patent are reissued with women allowed to perform as actresses, replacing boys, with Margaret "Peg" Hughes (Hewes) (1630-85) becoming the first English prof. stage actress, debuting on Dec. 8 as Desdemona in "Othello" (played by Clare Market); in 1661 Davenant establishes the Duke of York's Players (Duke's Co.) (named after Prince James, Duke of York) in Lisle's Tennis Court in Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1661, moving to Dorset Garden in 1671, and closing in 1705 after becoming the first London theatre with moveable scenery, performing his own works plus those of William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and John Fletcher, causing people to believe he's really Shakespeare's son. ; on Aug. 21 Killigrew establishes the King's Company, which debuts at the new Theatre Royale in Drury Lane in 1663, until it is taken over by the Duke's Co. in 1682 and merge as the United Co.; the 1843 Theatres Act ends the monopoly of the patent theatres.
In 1660 Restoration Comedy (AKA comedy of manners) (ends 1710) in England is characterized by sexual explicitness, personally encouraged by horndog Charles II, who launches the career of Canterbury-born Aphra Behn (1640-89), who becomes the first prof. woman playwright, starting out working for the King's Co. and the Duke's Co., debuting her first play "The Forc'd Marriage" in 1670, followed by "The Amorous Prince" (1671); on Mar. 24, 1677 she debuts The Rover at the Duke's Theatre in Dorset Gardens, London. In 1688 she pub. the novel Oroonoko; Or, The Royal Slave. A True History in London, which is made into a play in 1695 by Thomas Southerne, causing sales of the novel to skyrocket.
In 1661 Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre (originally the Duke's Theatre until 1695) is founded from Lisle's Tennis Court in Lincoln's Inn Fields, London's largest public square, laid out in the 1630s next to Lincoln's Inn; it goes on to stage the first prof. production of Henry Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas" (1700), John Gay's "The Beggar's Opera" (1728), and Handel's last two operas in 1740-1.
On Feb. 5, 1663 England's top poet (poet laureate in 1668), Northamptonshire-born John Dryden (1631-1700) debuts his first play (a comedy) The Wild Gallant at the Vere Street Theatre in London, staged by the King's Co.; too bad, it's a dud. In 1664 he debuts his tragicomedy The Rival Ladies, which makes him an instant success. In spring 1665 he debuts his tragedy The Indian Emperor, or the Conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane; staged by the King's Co.; stars Michael Mohun as the Emperor, Charles Hart as Cortez, Edward Kynaston as Guyomar, Nicholas Burt as Vasquez, William Wintershall as Odmar, Anna Marshall as Almeria, and William Cartwright as the Priest; features a "gorgeously feathered cloak" brought back from Suriname by Aphra Behn; defines the genre of heroic drama (rhymed heroic tragedy). On Nov. 7, 1667 Dryden and Sir William Davenant D'Avenant (1606-68) debut their comedy The Tempest, or The Enchanted Island at the Duke's Theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, based on William Shakespeare's "The Tempest". In Apr. 1673 he debuts his comedy Marriage a la Mode at the Duke's Theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, becoming his best comedy; stars William Wintershall as Polydamas, Edward Kynaston as Leonidas, Michael Mohun as Rhodophil, Nicholas Burt as Palamede, William Cartwright the Younger as Hermogenes, Elizabeth Cox as Palmyra, Rebecca Marshall as Doralice, Elizabeth James as Amalthea, and Elizabeth Boutell as Melanth; "Why should a foolish marriage vow,/ Which long ago was made,/ Oblige us to each other now/ When passion is decay'd?/ We lov'd, and we lov'd, as long as we could,/ Till our love was lov'd out in us both;/ But our marriage is dead, when the pleasure is fled: 'Twas pleasure first made it an oath." In May 1673 he debuts his tragedy Amboyana; Or, The Cruelties of the Dutch to the English Merchants at the Duke's Theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, staged by the King's Co.; about the 1623 Amboyna Massacre, showing how cruel the nasty Dutch are; stars Nicholas Burt as Perez, and Rebecca Marshall as Ysabinda. Dryden goes on to become England's #1 dramatist as well as poet.
On May 7, 1663 the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London opens, designed by Thomas Killigrew; too bad, it is burns down in 1672, and Christopher Wren designs a new one.
In 1664 Berkshire, England-born Sir George Etherege (1635-91) debuts his comedy The Comical Revenge, or Love in a Tub, which becomes a hit, gaining him the patronage of the court. In 1668 he debuts his comedy She Wou'd If She Cou'd, which is another hit; too bad, he leaves for Constantinople as secy. of English ambassador Sir Daniel Harvey until 1671, and doesn't debut another play until 1676. In 1676 he debuts his last comedy The Man of Mode; or, Sir Fopling Flutter at the Duke's Theatre in London; libertine Dorimant chases young heiress Harriet while trying to dump Mrs. Loveit; popularizes the word "fop".
In July 1665 the Great Plague of London breaks out (ends Oct. 1666), with bubonic plague killing 20% of London's 500K pop.; the theatres in London are closed; the dogs and cats are suspected of spreading it, so they are killed, helping the rats spread it faster; tobacco smoking is thought to ward off the plague and is made compulsory at Eton; plague also rages in Cologne and in the Rhine district for the next five years.
On Oct. 19, 1667 Irish soldier-politician-playwright Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery (1621-79) debuts his play The Black Prince at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London, staged by the King's Co.; helps found the genre of heroic drama; the opening is attended by Charles II, and the 2nd and 3rd performances are attended by Samuel Pepys; stars Edward Kynaston as the Black Prince, Michael Mohun as Edward III, William Wintershall as King John, Charles Hart as Lord Delaware, Nicholas Burt as Count Guesselin, William Cartrwight as Lord Latimer, Katherine Corey as Cleorin, Nell Gwyn as Alizia Pearce, and Rebecca Marshall as Plantagent.
In early 1671 Shropshire, England-born William Wycherley (1641-1716) debuts his comedy Love in a Wood, or St. James's Park at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London, getting him the patronage of George Villiers, 2nd duke of Buckingham, and the king's mistress Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, who hooks up with him. In Jan. 1675 he debuts his comedy William Wycherley (1641-1716), The Country Wife at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London; title is a pun on "cunt"; based on the plays of Moliere, with the verse replaced by lewd sexually-explicit prose; a rake pretends to be impotent to get into married women's beds; meanwhile an inexperienced young you know what arrives in London and discovers sex. On Dec. 11, 1676 he debuts his last comedy The Plain Dealer, based on Moliere's "The Misanthrope"; Capt. Manly loses his sweetheart Olivia to his best friend Vernish, and gets revenge by sending a girl dressed as a pageboy to seduce her; "I know not of a single comedy of either the ancients or the moderns where there is so much wit" (Voltaire); Wycherly's masterpiece?; so full of obscenity that Isaac Bickerstaffe bowlderizes it.
On Dec. 7, 1671 George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham (1628-87) debuts his satirical play The Rehearsal at the Theatre Royal, aimed at John Dryden and his heroic dramas, esp. "Conquest of Granada", making him give them up.
In 1683 Sadler's Wells Theatre on Rosebery Ave. in Clerkenwell, C London (cap. 1,560) opens, named after owner Richard Sadler and the monastic springs on the site, becoming the 2nd theater opened in London after the Restoration after Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, opening on Easter Monday and closing after summer; it is rebuilt in 1765; in 1843 after passage of the 1843 Theatres Act, new mgr. Samuel Phelps (1804-78) saves it from bankruptcy by introducing productions of Shakespeare that return to the text of the First Folio, starting with "Macbeth" in 1844, becoming the debut of actress Isabella Glyn (1823-89); in 1875 it becomes a roller skating rink, followed by a boxing arena; in 1879 it reopens as a music hall, featuring Harry Champion, Marie Lloyd, Roy Redgrave et al.; in 1896 it becomes a cinema; it closes in 1915.
In 1688 the Glorious Rev. in England sees Roman Catholic convert James II overthrown by Protestants William III, Prince of Orange (1650-1702) and his wife Mary (eldest daughter of James II), who become William III and Mary II, after which the middle class comes into its own, bringing their bourgeous morality with them and systematically ending the licentious productions in English theatres as the market changes.
In 1690 Bloomsbury, London-born Colley (OE "dark-haired") Cibber (1671-1757) becomes an actor for Thomas Betterton's United Co. at Drury Lane Theatre, rising to mgr. in 1710 (first British actor-mgr.), going on to write 25+ crummy plays for his co., which are criticized as a "miserable mutilation... of crucified Moliere and hapless Shakespeare"; in 1730 after pulling strings, he becomes poet laureate of England, his appointment pissing-off the literati esp. Alexander Pope, who makes him the Head Dunce in his satirical poem "The Dunciad"; he leaves the bestselling memoir "Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber, Comedian" (1740), which becomes an historical source. In 1696 he debuts his comedy Love's Last Shift; or, The Fool in Fashion (the last sentimental comedy?), in which he backs off some from aristocratic intellectualism and sexual frankness while trying to have something for everybody; Sir William Wisewould, Loveless, his servant Snap, Sir Novelty Fashion (Cibber), Elder and Young Worthy, and his servant Sly; free-living rake Loveless leaves London for his wife Amanda, hanging out in whorehouses, then returns and no longer recognizes her, causing her to pretend to be a high-class ho and give him the night of his dreams, after which she reveals her identity and he immediately reforms.
In 1693 Bardsey, West Yorkshire-born playwright-poet William Congreve (1670-1729)" debuts his first play, the comedy The Old Bachelor at the Drury Lane Theatre in London; "surly old pretended woman-hater" Heartwell falls for and marries Silvia without knowing that he is the jilted mistress of Vainlove, or that the parson who married them is Vainlove's friend Belmour, who was intriguing with Laetitia, young wife of old banker Fondlewife, later finding out that the marriage was only a pretense, and she marries foolish Sir Joseph Wittol after she pretends to be wealthy, while his cowardly bully companion Capt. Bluffe marries her maid; stars Thomas Betterton and Anne Bracegirdle; a big success, making a fan of John Dryden and launching his career that shapes the English comedy of manners through satire and clever dialogue. On Apr. 30, 1695 he debuts his comedy Love for Love at Lincoln's Inn Fields in London, a new theater which he becomes mgr. of.; Valentine, his resourceful servant Jeremy, Sir Sampson (known for "blunt vivacity"), rough young sea-dog Ben, Miss Prue and her half-wit beau Tattle, who ends up married to Mrs. Frail, Angelica, and gullible old astrologer Foresight; contains the immortal soundbyte: "You must not kiss and tell." In 1697 he debuts his tragedy The Mourning Bride at Lincoln's Inn Fields in London; Queen Zara is held captive by King Manuel of Granda, who fall in love, after which he is murdered while wearing a disguise, and she commits suicide; incl. the immortal soundytes: "Music has charms to soote a savage breast", and "Heaven has no rage, like love to hatred turned,/ Nor hell a fury, like a woman scorned." In Mar. 1700 he debuts his last play (comedy) The Way of the World at Lincoln's Inn Fields in London; lovers Mirabell (John Verbruggen) and Millamant (Anne Bracegirdle) can't marry until they get past her aunt Lady Wishfort, who hates him and wants her nephew Sir Wilfull to marry her instead; a flop, causing him to go into retirement, but is later considered his masterpiece; he really quits after writing only five plays after Jeremy Collier (1650-1726) pub. A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage (Mar. 1698), ruining his market and scaring him off?
In Nov. 1696 London-born architect-playwright Sir John Vanbrugh (1664-1726) debuts his comedy The Relapse, or Virtue in Danger at Drury Lane in London, a sequel to Colley Cibber's "Love's Last Shift; or, The Fool in Fashion" (1696); the supposedly reformed rake Loveless gets in a new love affair with widow Bernithia, while his wife Amanda becomes the target of a seduction attempt by Worthy, which she barely resists; last true Resotration comedy?; stars Cibber as Lord Foppington (formerly Sir Novelty) ("very industrious to pass for an ass", "a mwn who Nature has made no fool" - Amanda), who is tricked by his younger brother Tom out of his fiance and her large dowry; a big hit, immortalizing foppery; bowlderized by Richard Brinsley Sheridan as "A Trip to Scarborough" (1777).
In 1698 after starting out as an actor in Dublin and accidentally wounded another actor on stage, causing him to leave for London, Derry, Ireland-born George Farquhar (1677-1707) debuts his first play Love and a Bottle (comedy), about Roebuck, "an Irish Gentleman of wild roving Temper" flees for London after knocking a woman up, and makes friends with Lovewell; "Heav'n was plea'd to lessen my Affliction, by taking away the She-brat"; a hit, causing him to go into playwriting while working as a soldier in the regiment of the earl of Orrery, discovering actress Anne Oldfield (1683-1730). In 1700 he debuts his comedy The Constant Couple, or A Trip to the Jubilee at Drury Lane, London, starring Robert Wilks as Sir Henry Wildair, becoming a big hit; followed by "Sir Harry Wildair" (1701). In 1702 he writes the comedies The Inconstant; or, The Way to Win Him, and The Twin Rivals. In 1706 he debuts his comedy The Recruiting Officer at Drury Lane in London; English officers Plume and Brazen (Colley Cibber) recruit soldiers for the War of the Spanish Succession in Shrewbury; big hit; first play to be staged in New York City (Dec. 6, 1732). On Mar. 8, 1707 he debut his last play (a comedy) The Beaux' Stratagem at the Theatre Royal in Haymarket, London; Archer and Aimwell hatch a scheme to visit small towns and entrap young heiresses; too bad, in the first town, Lichfield, Aimwell is entrapped by Dorinda; landlord Boniface causes the term "boniface" to be coined for an innkeeper or tavernkeeper; Farquhar dies on Apr. 29.
In 1700 Susanna Centlivre (Carroll) (nee Freeman) (1667-1723) debuts her first play (a tragedy) The Perjured Husband; or, The Adventures of Venice at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London; the prologue boasts that the author is a woman, and it becomes a hit; she goes on to debut 19 plays by 1722. In 1702 she debuts The Beau Duel; or, A Soldier for the Ladies, and The Stolen Heiress. In 1705 she debuts her comedy The Gamester, which becomes a big hit, and The Basset Table (4 perf.), which gains her access to the highest lit. circles, incl. Colley Cibber (1671-1757), Richard Steele, George Farquhar (1677-1707), and Nicholas Rowe (1674-1718). In 1706 she debuts her play Love at a Venture; Colley Cibber disses the play as too bawdy, then plagiarizes it for his "The Double Gallant". In 1707 she debuts her play The Platonick Lady; the printed vers. has a preface dissing sexism. In 1709 she debuts her play The Busie Body (Busybody), about Marplot, becoming her biggest hit, a favorite role of David Garrick, and later a favorite of George I and George II; also The Man's Bewitched, which disses the Tory squirearchy, causing them to get even by pub. a fake interview in The Female Tatler framing her on insulting her actors. In 1714 she debuts her play The Wonder: A Woman Keeps a Secret, dedicated to George I. In 1715 she writes her play The Gotham Election, a satire of bribery in Parliamentary elections, pissing-off the mgrs. of Drury Lane, who ban it, so that it first debuts in 1724 at the Haymarket Theatre. On Feb. 3, 1718 she debuts her satire A Bold Stroke for a Wife at Lincoln's Inn Fields in London; big hit in the U.S.; debuts on Broadway at Wallack's Theatre in 1863; Col. Fainwell and Anne Lovely are in love, but he must court her in disguse to get around her four guardians, and goes too far when he impersonates Quaker Simon Pure, who has to fight an identity thief; a satire of the Tories, religious hypocrisy, and capitalism, supporting the Whigs; causes the term "simon-pure" to be coined for untainted.
In 1700 Bedfordshire, England-born Nicholas Rowe (1674-1718) debuts his first play The Ambitious Stepmother at Lincoln's Inn Fields, produced by Thomas Betterton and set in Persepolis, which is a hit. In 1701 he debuts his play Tamerlane; Tamerlane is really William III, and Bajazet is really Louis XIV; performed for many years on the anniv. of William III's Nov. 5, 1688 landing in Torbay; provokes a riot in Dublin in 1712. In 1702 he debuts his play The Fair Penitent, an adaptation of Philip Massinger's and Nathan Field's "Fatal Dowry"; big hit; set in Genoa; Sciolto, Altamont, Horatio, young rake Lothario, Rossano, infidelity queen Calista, Lucilla; causes the term Lothario for young rake to become popular; makes a fan of Samuel Johnson. In 1714 he debuts his play The Tragedy of Jane Shore at Drury Lane, London (19 perf.); stars Mrs. Oldfield. In 1715 he debuts his play The Tragedy of Lady Jane Grey, which flops, causing him to give up playwriting. In 1715 he becomes British poet laureate.
In 1701 Dublin, Ireland-born Sir Richard Steele (1672-1729) debuts his first play (a comedy) The Funeral, or Grief a la Mode at Drury Lane, London, which is a big hit, making him a celeb with the king and the Whigs. In 1703 he debuts his sentimental comedy The Lying Lover; or The Ladies' Friendship, which flops. In 1705 he debuts his comedy The Tender Husband. On Apr. 12, 1709 he debuts his tri-weekly lit.-society journal The Tatler, writing under the alias Isaac Bickerstaff "to expose the false arts of life, to pull off the disguises of cunning, vanity, and affectation, and to recommend a general simplicity in our dress, our discourse, and our behavior", with contributions by his Wiltshire-born friend Joseph Addison (1672-1719); it features the gossip column "Jennifer's Diary", becoming known for discretion and accuracy; on Mar. 1, 1711 they begin pub. the journal The Spectator, which lasts for 555 daily issues (until Dec. 6, 1712); through its fictional char. Sir Roger de Coverly it becomes the moral conscience of England.
In 1705 the Queen's Theatre in Haymarket, Westminster, West End, London (cap. 1,216) opens as an opera house, designed by London-born architect-playwright Sir John Vanbrugh (1664-1726), who produces 25+ operas by George Frideric Handel by 1739; in 1714 on the accession of George I it becomes the King's Theatre, followed in 1837 by Her Majesty's Theatre, His Majesty's Theatre in 1901, and Her Majesty's Theate in 1952.
On Jan 29, 1728 Barnstaple, England-born John Gay (1685-1732) and Berlin, Germany-born composer Johann Christoph Pepusch (1667-1752) debut their comic ballad opera The Beggar's Opera at Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre in London; a big hit, running for a record 62 consecutive perf., helping build the new London Royal Opera House; runs for 1,463 perf. in 1920 at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith; satirizes Italian opera; Newgate prisoner Macheath is helped to escape by the cruel gov.'s daughter Lucky Lockit, and returns to London's criminal underworld to woo Polly Peachum; a satire of Sir Robert Walpole, pioneering the device of using lower-class criminals to satirize upper-class society; incl. Fill Every Glass, Over the Hills and Far Away. The sequel Polly: An Opera, Being the Second Part of the Beggar's Opera (ballad opera) sees Polly Peachum going to the West Indies to search for Macheath and his ho Jenny Diver, after which Macheath is executed and Polly marries Indian prince Cawwawkee; too bad, performance is banned by the govt. after Sir Robert Walpole is no longer amused, but gets pub. and widely read until its debut in England on June 19, 1777 at the Haymarket Theatre in London - mama don't take my pollychrome away?
On Feb. 16, 1728 Somerset, England-born Henry Fielding (1707-54) debuts his first play (a comedy) Love in Several Masques at the Theatre Royal in London (4 perf.). In Apr. 1737 he debuts his political satire The Historical Register for the Year 1736, which along with the anon. (Fielding?) political satire The Golden Rump, which knocks the admin. of PM (1721-42) Robert Walpole cause so much alarm among English authorities that they pass the Licensing Act of 1737, putting theatres under the direct control of the Lord Chamberlain (until 1968), ending Fielding's dramatic career; the number of London theatres is restricted; modified by the Theatres Acts of 1843 and 1934, and repealed by the Theatres Act of 1968.
In 1740 Dublin, Ireland-born Margaret "Peg" Woffington (1720-60) makes her stage debut in Covent Garden, London as Sir Harry Wildair in George Farquhar's "The Constant Couple", and goes on to star there and at Drury Lane, specializing in female roles requiring male clothing, becoming the mistress and co-star of Hereford, England-born David Garrick (1717-79), who this year debuts his first play Lethe; or, Aesop in the Shade at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London, followed in 1741 by The Lying Valet: A Peep Behind the Curtain; Or, the New Rehearsal. On Oct. 19, 1741 Hereford, England-born David Garrick (1717-79), pupil of Irish actor Charles Macklin (1697-1797) makes his acting debut in Thomas Southerne's "Oroonoko or the Royal Slave" in Ipswich, followed by the title role in Shakespeare's "Richard III" in Goodman's Fields, London, displaying a new more realistic acting style that makes him a star, appearing in 18 different roles in 6 mo. in London's Drury Lane and Covent Garden; his career raises acting to a more respected profession; Charles Fleetwood hires him for a season at the Theatre Royale in Drury Lane, London, where he remains for five years. In 1747 Garrick becomes co-owner and co-mgr. of Drury Lane Theatre, enforcing his own acting style on all the actors and creating an ensemble, ending the custom of letting the privileged sit on the stage, and producing 24 Shakespeare plays - I was completely in tears until I clicked? On Sept. 6-8, 1769 famed Shakespearean actor David Garrick (1717-79) organizes the first Shakespeare Jubilee in Stratford-upon-Avon, which thousands brave rainy weather to see, causing him to build the Shakespeare Pavilion (cap. 1K); too bad, none of Shakespeare's plays are performed. On Oct. 14, 1769 after his big pageant is rained-out on Sept. 8, Garrick debuts The Jubilee at Drury Lane Theatre in London (90 perf.), its success allowing him to recoup his losses. In June 1776 after selling his interest in Drury Lane Theatre and giving a series of farewell performances in favorite roles, David Garrick appears in The Wonder: A Woman Keeps a Secret (1714) by Susanna Centlivre (Carroll) (nee Freeman) (1667-1723), becoming his last stage appearance.
In 1755 London-born Frances "Fanny" Abington (nee Barton) (1737-1815) debuts as Miranda in Susanna Centlivre's "Busybody" in Haymarket, London, getting her a recommendation by Samuel Foote to join the Drury Lane co., remaining for 18 years and becoming the first to play 30+ important chars., incl. Shakespeare's Beatrice, Desdemonia, Ophelia, and Portia, and Lady Teazle in 1777.
On Nov. 28, 1760 after his first work Leucothoe (Leucothoé) (1756) flops and he has to join the marines, Dublin, Ireland-born Isaac John Bickerstaffe (Bickerstaff) (1733-1812) and London-born composer Thomas Augustine Arne (1710-78) debut their light opera Thomas and Sally (The Sailor's Return) in Covent Garden, London; milkmaid Sally sees her sailor beau Thomas off on a sea voyage, allowing a squire to go after her, encouraged by matron Dorcas; becomes the first English comic opera to be sung throughout, becoming a big hit and touring the Brititsh Empire all the way to Philly and Kingston, Jamaica, staying the most popular full-length English opera until the 20th cent. On Dec. 8, 1762 Arne and Bickerstaffe debut their ballad opera Love in a Village at the Royal Opera in Covent Garden, London, becoming the first English comic opera; libretto based on Charles Johnson's 1729 play "The Village Opera"; contains 42 musical numbers, with 24 by other composers; features the song The Miller of Dee; spawns a vogue for pastiche opera that lasts until the 19th cent. In 1765 he and Samuel Arnold (1740-1802) debut their play The Maide of the Mill in London, becoming a hit. In 1768 he and Charles Dibdin (1745-1814) debut their opera The Padlock at Drury Lane Theatre in London (6 perf.); libretto based on Miguel de Cervantes' "The Jealous Husband"; stars Didbin in blackface as Mungo, a black servant from the West Indies, who likes to break into song when Massuh isn't around; a hit in the U.S. as late as 1843; "Dear heart, what a terrible life am I led!/ A dog has a better, that's shelter'd and fed;/ Night and day, 'tis de same,/ My pain is dere game." Too bad, in 1772 he is accused of homosexuality, causing him to flee to France, ending his life in poverty while his former colleague Charles Didbin is accused of plagiarizing his songs; meanwhile David Garrick is implicated in the scandal by William Kenrick in his comedy "Love in the Suds".
On May 21, 1762 Southampton-born singer-songwriter-dramatist Charles Dibdin (1745-1814) debuts his first operetta "The Shepherd's Artifice" at Covent Garden, London, becoming a hit as Ralph in Samuel Arnold's opera "The Maid of the Mill" at Covent Garden in 1765, running 50 nights, with Ralph handkerchiefs worn by the audience; in 1767 he composes the music for Isaac Bickerstaffe's "Love in the City", and for his play "Lionel and Clarissa" at Covent Garden; in 1768 after David Garrick woos him to Drury Lane, he composes the music for his play "The Padlock", and plays Mungo, one of the first blackface roles in English theatre, causing "that degree of sensation in the public which is called a rage"; in 1772 Thomas King hires him to compose songs for Sadler's Wells Theatre; in 1774 he debuts his opera "The Waterman" at the Haymarket Theatre, and his short opera "The Quaker" on May 3, 1775, followed by "The Imposter, or All's Not Gold That Glibbers" (Sadler's Wells Theatre, 1776), "The Seraglio" (comic opera) (Covent Garden, Nov. 1776), "Poor Vulcan" (Covent Garden, 1778), and "The Gipsies" (w/Thomas Arne) (Haymarket Theatre, 1778); in 1778 Covent Garden mgr. Thomas Harris appoints him musical dir., breaking with him in 1781 and opening the Royal Circus and Equestrian Philharmonic Academy on Nov. 4, 1782 in Lambeth, London, which becomes the Surrey Theatre, featuring 60 child performers in Oct. 1788 he debuts his 1-man show "The Whim of the Moment"; in 1796 he builds San Souci Theatre near Leicester Square in Westminster, London, composing 1K+ mainly patriotic sea songs for it by 1804, some of which are adopted by the Royal Navy, earning him a govt. pension in 1803.
In 1766 Florence, Italy-born George Colman the Elder (1732-94) and Hereford, England-born David Garrick (1717-79) debut their comedy The Clandestine Marriage at Drury Lane in London, based on an engraving by William Hogarth; merchant Sterling wants to marry off his elder daughter to Sir John Melvil, who is in love with her younger sister Fanny, who is in love with clerk Lovewell, whom she you know what, after which she ends up betrothed to Melvil's elderly uncle Lord Ogleby; David Garrick refuses to play Ogleby, pissing-off Colman.
On Jan. 17, 1775 Dublin, Ireland-born Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) debuts his first play (a comedy of manners) The Rivals at the Covent Garden Theatre in London, with prologue by David Garrick, about "The deceptive nature of appearances, the fickleness of reputation, the often disreputable guise behind which goodness and honesty can conceal itself"; chars: Sir Anthony Absolute, his son Capt. Jack Absolute, Lydia Languish and her guardian Mrs. Malaprop (whose misuse of language, e.g., "Put The Innocent Adultery into The Whole Duty of Man" causes the term "malapropism" to be coined). On May 2, 1775 he debuts his play St. Patrick's Day; or, The Scheming Lieutenant at the Convent Garden Theatre in London, written in two days for lead actor Lawrence Clinch to reward him fror playing Sir Lucius O'Trigger in "The Rivals". On Nov. 21, 1775 Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816), Thomas Linley the Elder (1733-95), and Thomas Linley the Younger (1756-78), debut their opera The Duenna at the Covent Garden Theatre in London (75 perf); makes fans of Dr. Samuel Johnson, William Hazlitt, and Lord George Byron, who calls it "The best opera ever written." In 1776 Dublin-born dramatist Sheridan, who married Elizabeth Linley in 1773 uses his profits from his smash 1775 hits "The Rival" and "The Duenna" to buy half (later all) of the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London, and in 1778 he gets his elocution teacher daddy Thomas Sheridan (1719-88) appointed mgr. (until 1781). On May 8, 1777 he debuts his play The School for Scandal at the Drury Lane Theatre in London; Sir Benjamin Backbite, Rowley, Snake, Mrs. Candour, Crabtree; Lady Sneerwell tries to hook Charles Surface (William "Gentleman" Smith) away from Maria, who is also wooed by rival Joseph Surface (John Palmer); Fanny Abington plays Lady Teazle; after it fails on the first night, he hires a better actor, who makes it a hit, after which it becomes an English classic; filmed in 1923 and 1930 - a succès de scandale, succès d'estime, or succès fou? after which it becomes an English classic; filmed in 1923 and 1930 - a succès de scandale, succès d'estime, or succès fou?
On Feb. 15, 1776 Devon-born Hannah Cowley (nee Parkhouse) (1743-1809) debuts her play The Runaway at the Drury Lane Theatre in London, becoming a hit; written after attending a play earlier in the year with her husband and telling him she could write a better one, then producing it within two weeks and sending it to David Garrick, going on to a hit career after he retires this season. On Feb. 22, 1780 she debuts her romantic comedy of manners The Belle's Stratagem at Drury Lane Theatre in London; takes its title from George Farquhar's "The Beaux' Stratagem"; big hit of the season; makes a fan of Queen Charlotte, who decrees that it be performed by the royal season annually; Letitia Hardy (Harriet Smithson/Ellen Terry) and Doricourt; Sir George Touchwood and Lady Frances Touchwood.
In 1782 Brompton, London-born George Colman the Younger (1762-1836) debuts his first play The Female Dramatist at the Little Theatre in Haymarket, London, based on Tobias Smollett's "Roderick Random"; a flop. In 1784 he debuts his play Two to One, becoming his first hit. In 1786 he and London-born composer Samuel Arnold (1740-1802) debut their musical comedy Turk and No Turk at the Little Theatre in Haymarket, London. In Aug. 1787 he and Samuel Arnold debut their opera Inkle and Yarico in London; London-bred Inkle and his servant Trudge are left on a cannibal island, and he falls in love with Yarico, then must choose between her and his betrothed Narcissa in Barbados. In 1788 Colman debuts his play Ways and Means. In 1793 he debuts his play The Battle of Hexham. In 1796 he debuts his play The Iron Chest, based on William Godwin's 1794 "Adventures of Caleb Williams". On July 15, 1797 he debuts his comedy The Heir at Law at the Little Theatre in Haymarket, London (27 perf.); pompous Dr. Pangloss, L.L.D. and A.S.S. (John Fawcett) (borrowed from Voltaire's 1759 "Candide") is hired at 300 pounds/year to tutor merchant Daniel Dowlas, Lord Duberly (Richard Suett); "Lend me your ears. Shakespeare. Hem!"; "Verbum sat. Horace. Hem!"; debuts at the Park Theatre in New York in Apr. 1799, and later (1857) becomes a favorite role of comedian Joseph Jefferson. In 1802 he debuts his play The Poor Gentleman. In 1803 he debuts his comedy John Bull; or, An Englishman's Fireside, becoming his biggest hit.
In 1792 after starting out as a stable boy and becoming a correspondent for The Morning Herald in Paris, Leicester Fields, London, England-born Thomas Holcroft (1745-1809) debuts his biggest hit (a comedy) The Road to Ruin; a revival runs for 118 nights in 1873. Too bad, in fall 1794 after helping with the pub. of Part I of Thomas Paine's "The Rights of Man" in 1791 and joining the Society for Constitutional Information, he is indicted for high treason and held in Newgate Prison, then released in Dec. 1794 without a trial, causing secy. of war William Windham to call him an "acquitted felon", ruining his career, which doesn't stop him from cranking out 31 plays.
In 1795 English dramatist Thomas John Dibdin (1771-1841), son of Charles Dibdin debuts his first comic operetta (burletta) Something New in Liverpool, followed by The Mad Guardian in ditto. In 1798 he deubts his farce The Jew and the Doctor at Theatre Royal in Covent Garden, London. On Dec. 18, 1802 he and London-born composer William Reeve (1757-1815) debut their comic opera Family Quarrels; or, The Jew and the Gentle at the Covent Garden Theatre in London, starring comedian John Fawcett as Proteus, John Braham as Charles Supplejack, and Charles Incledon as Foxglove. In 1803 Reeve debuts his comic opera The Caravan at Drury Lane in London, with an onstage water tank into which Carlos the Wonder Dog leaps to rescue a drowning child, becoming such a big hit that Sadler's Wells Theatre installs a 3-ft.-deep 8K gal. water tank beneath the stage, and after becoming co-owner and dir. of music, Reeve writes and produces about 80 musicals with librettos by Dibdin. In 1807 Dibdin debuts his pantomime play Harlequin and Mother Goose; or, The Golden Egg: A Comic Pantomime (Theater Royal, Covent Garden), becoming a big hit for English clown Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837).
In 1800 Covent Garden, London-born composer-dramatist Charles Dibdin the Younger (Charles Isaac Mungo Dibdin) (1768-1833) AKA Charles Pitt, illegitimate son of Charles Dibdin and Harriet Pitt, elder brother of Thomas John Dibdin, and godson of David Garrick becomes mgr. of Sadler's Wells Theatre in London, staging his own works until the Napoleonic Wars (1803-15) ruin his audience, causing him to declare bankruptcy in 1819 and end up in a debtors' prison, bailing himself out in 1821 by selling his shares, continuing his career as dir. of the Royal Amphitheatre in 1822-3 and mgr. of the Surrey Theatre in 1825-6.
In 1819 Piccadilly Circus (named after the late 16th cent. broad cut-work lace Piccadill collar) in Westminster, West End, London is built to connect Regent St. with Piccadilly Rd., becoming a traffic hub for Coventry St. (Leicester Square), the Haymarket, and Shaftesbury Ave. (theatre district).
In 1843 The Theatres (Regulation) Act of 1843 is passed in Britain, amending the 1737 Licensing Act by restricting the Lord Chamberlain's power to only prohibit the licensing of plays that in his opinion "is fitting for the preservation of good manners, decorum or of the public peace", giving powers to local authorities to license theaters, breaking the monopoly of the patent theaters and encouraging the building of saloon theaters and music halls; it is repealed by the Theatres Act of 1968.
In 1864 the Gaiety Theatre (Strand Musick Hall until 1868) in Aldwych, Westminster, West End, London on the E end of The Strand is founded on the site of the former Lyceum Theatre, becoming a major influence on the development of British musical comedy; it closes in 1939, and is demolished in 1956.
On Dec. 26, 1871 Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911) and Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan (1842-1900), debut their first comic operetta Thespis, or The Gods Grown Old at the Gaiety Theatre in West London (63 perf.); a Christmas entertainment about the aging gods of Mount Olympus, who trade places with an acting troupe led by Thespis, Father of Greek Drama, with the humans messing up so bad that they are sent back to Earth as "eminent tragedians, whom no one ever goes to see."
On Mar. 21, 1874 the Criterion Theatre in Piccadilly Circus, Westminster, West End, Lndon (cap. 588) opens with "An American Lady" by mgr. Henry J. Byron, and "Topsyturveydm by Alfred Cellier and W.S. Gilbert; on Apr. 15, 1876 is opens under new mgr. Charles Wyndham with "The Great Divorce Case", becoming a leading London light comedy house; in Mar. 1883 the theatre closes so that new ventilation and electricity can be installed, reopening on Apr. 16, 1884.
On Mar. 25, 1875 Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911) and Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) debut their comic operetta #2 Trial by Jury at the Royalty Theatre in London (131 perf.); a breach of promise of marriage lawsuit; no spoken dialogue; the judge is played by Arthur Sullivan's brother Fred.
On Nov. 17, 1877 Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911) and Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) debut their comic operetta #3 The Sorcerer at the Opera Comique in London (178 perf.); Alexis Pointdextre is set to marry blue-blood Aline Sangazure in the village of Ploverleigh, while the heart of young maiden Constance Partlet belongs to the vicar Dr. Daly, causing John Wellington Wells of J.W. Wells & Co., Family Sorcerers to be hired to make a batch of love potion.
On May 25, 1878 Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911) and Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) debut their comic operetta #4 H.M.S. Pinafore; or, The Lass That Loved A Sailor at the Opera Comique in London (571 perf.), becoming their first big hit; Royal Navy Capt. Corcoran's daughter Josephine is in love with low class foremast hand Ralph Rackstraw, "smartest lad in all the fleet", while her daddy wants her to marry the incompetent first lord of the admiralty Sir Joseph Porter; features the songs He Is an Englishman, I Am the Monarch of the Sea. the debut of actress-singer Lillian Russell (1861-1922), who becomes the Anglo-Am. ideal of beauty for the rest of the cent.
On Dec. 31, 1879 Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911) and Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) debut their comic operetta #5 The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York, followed by the Opera Comique in London on Apr. 3, 1880; Frederic is about to be released from his bondage to pirates on his 21st birthday when he learns that his birthday is Feb. 29, meaning that he has to wait another 63 years; the Pirate King, Maj.-Gen. Stanley and his daughters incl. Mabel; incl. The Major-General's Song, with cool lyrics; "I am the very model of a modern major-general,/ I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral,/ I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical/ From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;/ I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,/ I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,/ About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o'news,/ With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse./ I'm very good at integral and differential calculus;/ I know the scientific names of beings animalculous:/ In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,/ I am the very model of a modern major-general."
On Oct. 10, 1881 the Savoy Theatre in the Strand, Westminster, West London opens as the home of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Co., founded in 1875 by West End, London-born impresario Richard D'Oyle Carte (1844-1901), becoming the first public bldg. on Earth to be entirely lit by electricity, going on to produce all 14 "Savoy operas" of Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911) and Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan (1842-1900), causing the term "Savoyard" to be coined for an actor, producer, or admirer of their operas, and "Gilbertian" to mean a humorous play.
On Oct. 15, 1881 the brick-stucco Comedy Theatre (originally Royal Comedy Theatre until 1884) opens on Panton St. in Leicester Square in Westminster, West End, London; in 1883 it debuts the operetta Falka, followed in 1885 by Erminie; in 1856 producer Anthony Field founds the New Watergate Club to get around the 1843 Theatres Act, which has no power over private clubs, producing Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge", Robert Anderson's "Tea and Sympathy", and Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin roof"; in Oct. 31, 2011 it is renamed the Harold Pinter Theatre.
In Jan. 1884 the Prince of Wales Theatre on Coventry St. between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square in West End, London (cap. 800) opens as the Prince's Theatre (until 1886); the first production is W.S. Gilbert's "The Palace of Truth", starring Herbert Beerbohm Tree; in 1885 the theater helps launch the career of Lillie Langty; in 1892 the first English musical comedy "In Town" debuts there; rebuilt in 1937, with cap. 1,160.
On Mar. 14, 1885 Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911) and Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) debut their comic operetta #9 The Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu at the Savoy Theatre in West End, London (672 perf.); the Mikado ("honorable gate"), his son Nanki-Poo, who is loved by elderly Katisha, Ko-Ko the Lord High Executioner, with a jackhammer smile on his face and his fiance Yum-Yum and wards Peep-Bo and Pitti-King, Poo-Bah, Lord High Everything Else, Lord Pish-Tush; incl. the phrase "short, sharp shock" to mean a quick severe punishment, and "Let the punishment fit the crime"; features three Geishas singing Three Little Maids From School Are We, later becoming a gay favorite; "I doubt if there is a single joke in the whole play that fits the Japanese. But all the jokes in the play fit the English." (G.K. Chesterton)
On Sept. 25, 1886 English composer Alfred Cellier (1844-91) and English lyricist-librettist Benjamin Charles "B.C." Stephenson (1839-1906) debut their comic opera Dorothy at the Gaiety Theatre in West End, London, becoming the first production under new dir. George Edwardes, getting off to a rocky start before Edwardes sells it to his accountant Henry J. Leslie, who moves it to the Prince of Wales Theatre, becoming a big hit, with the profits used to build the Lyric Theatre, where it moves in 1888, reaching 931 perf., becoming a record until the musical comedy "A Chinese Honeymoon" (1899); stars Furneaux Cook as Sir John Bantam, Squire of Chanticleer Hall, Redfern Hollins/Ben Davies as his nephew-heir Geoffrey Wilder, Marion Hood/Marie Tempest as his daughter Dorothy Bantam, and C. Hayden Coffin as Geoffrey's friend Harry Sherwood; makes a star of Marie Tempest (Mary Susan Etherington) (1864-1942) after Marion Hood gets sick; features the songs Queen of My Heart, features the songs Queen of My Heart, Be Wise in Time, Hark For'ard!, With a Welcome to All, and The Time Has Come.
In 1886 Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) pub. Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, about mad scientist Dr. Henry Jekyll, who drinks a strange elixir to turn into psychokiller Edward Hyde, and is investigated by London lawyer Gabriel John Utterson; "Man is not truly one, but truly two... recognize the primitive duality of man"; the novel is immediately turned into a hugely successful stage play, but after the Whitechapel "Jack the Ripper" murders begin in 1888 the producers shut it down, believing it to be in poor taste.
On Dec. 7, 1889 Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911) and Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) debut their comic operetta #12 The Gondoliers at the Savoy Theatre in West End, London (554 perf.); a young bride wants to marry the heir to the throne of Barataria, who was raised by a drunken gondolier as his own son, and after the king dies both sons jointly rule because nobody knows which is the real one; meanwhile they marry local girls, and the bride-to-be is in love with another man.
On Jan. 31, 1891 Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) and Julian Sturgis (1848-1904) debut their opera Ivanhoe at the Royal English Opera House in Westminster, West End, London (160 perf.), based on the 1820 novel by Sir Walter Scott; the first production of the red brick Palace Theatre (originally the Royal English Opera House) at Shaftesbury Ave. near Charing Cross Rd. in West End, London on the W side of Cambridge Circus (cap. 1.4K), designed by architect Thomas Edward Collcutt for Richard D'Oyle Carte.; in 1897 it begins screening films; in 1925 it produces the comedy "No, No, Nanette"; in 1961 it produces "The Sound of Music" (2,385 perf.); in 1972-80 it produces "Jesus Christ Superstar"; in 1985-2004 it produces "Les Miserables"; in 1983 it is acquired by Andrew Lloyd Webber; in 2006-Jan. 2009 it produces Monty Python's "Spamalot".
On Sept. 10, 1892 the Duke of York's Theatre (originally the Trafalgar Square Theatre until 1895) in St. Martin's Lane in Westminster, West End, London (cap. 900), designed by Walter Emden for Frank Wyatt and Violete Melnotte opens with "Wedding Eve", going on to debut J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" on Dec. 27, 1904.
On Oct. 15, 1892 F. Osmond Carr (1858-1916), Adrian Ross (1859-1933), and James T. Tanner (1858-1915) debut their musical comedy In Town at the Prince of Wales Theatre, moving to the Gaiety Theatre on Dec. 26 (292 perf.), and the Knickerbocker Theatre in New York on Sept. 6, 1897 (40 perf.); the first Edwardian musical comedy, launching a new era of modern-dress musical shows, boosting London coutieries, ending with "The Maid of the Mountains" (1917); stars Arthur Roberts, Edmund Payne, Florence St. John, Topsy Sinden, Eric Lewis, and Edmund Payne as Shrimp the Call Boy; produced by George Joseph Edwardes (1855-1915), who teams with writer-dir. James Tolman Tanner (1858-1915); features the song The Man About Town.
On Oct. 14, 1893 composer James Sidney Jones (1861-1946), writer Owen Hall (James "Jimmy" Davis) (1853-1907), and lyricist Henry Harveston "Harry" Greenbank (1865-99) debut their musical comedy A Gaiety Girl at the Prince of Wales Theatre in West End, London (413 perf.); first true musical comedy?; produced by George Edwardes; stars C. Hayden Coffin, Louie Pounds, Decima Moore, Eric Lewis, W. Louis Bradfield; features the Gaiety Girls incl. Blanche Massey, who soon attract wealthy Stage Door Johnnies hoping to escort them to dinner and later propose matrimony; after worldwide success, Jones, Hall, and Greenbank become a team producing the successful Daly's Theatre musicals incl. "An Artist's Model" (1895), "The Geisha" (1896), "A Greek Slave" (1898), and "San Toy" (1899).
On Apr. 21, 1894 Dublin, Ireland-born London (since 1873) playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) debuts his play Arms and the Man at the Avenue Theatre, West End, London, followed by the Herald Square Theatre in New York on Sept. 17, becoming his first success; title comes from Virgil's "Aeneid" ("Arma virumque cano" - Of arms and the man I sing); influenced by Henrik Ibsen; seeks to introduce a new realism into English drama, attempting to show the futility of war; set during the 1885 Serbo-Bulgarian War; Bulgarian woman Raina Petkoff is engaged to war hero Sergius Saranoff until she falls for Swiss mercenary soldier in the Serbian army Capt. Bluntschli, "my chocolate-cream soldier".
On Oct. 27, 1894 Frank Osmond Carr (1858-1916) and William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911) debut their comic opera His Excellency at the Lyric Theatre in West End, London (162 perf.), followed by the Broadway Theatre in New York on Oct. 14, 1895 (88 perf.); produced by George Edwardes; set in Elsinore, Denmark in 1801; stars George Grossmith as Gov. George Griffenfeld, Rutand Barrington as the Prince Regent, Jessie Bond as the gov.'s daughte Nanna, Ellaline Teriss as his other daughter Thora, Alice Barnett as his fiance Dame Hecla Cortlandt, John Le Hay as Syndic Mats Munck, and Charles Kenningham as sculptor Erling Sykke.
On Nov. 24, 1894 Ivan Caryll (1861-1921), H.J.W. Dam, Adrian Ross (1859-1933), and Lionel Monckton (1861-1924) debut their musical comedy The Shop Girl at the Gaiety Theatre in West End, London (546 perf.), followed by Palmer's Theatre in New York (Oct. 28, 1895) (72 perf.); produced by George Edwardes; stars Seymour Hicks as medical student Charles Appleby, George Grossmith Jr. as Bertie Boyd, Arthur Williams as Royal Stores Proprietor Mr. Hooley, Edmund Payne as shopwalker Mr. Miggles, Maria Davis as Lady Appleby, Willie Warde as her financial secy. Mr. Tweet, Ada Reeve/Kate Cutler/Ellaline Terriss as Bessie Brent the Shop Girl, and Topsy Sinden as dancer Violet Deveney; introduces a coherent story to burlesque, starting a craze.
On Feb. 2, 1895 Sidney Jones (1861-1946), Owen Hall (1853-1907), and Harry Greenbank (1865-99) debut their musical An Artist's Model at Daly's Theatre in West End, London, moving to the Lyric Theatre in West End, Londn on May 28, 1895 (392 perf.), and the Broadway Theatre in New York on Dec. 21, 1895; stars Marie Tempest/Florence Perry as rich widow Adele, who started as a you know what then married a millionaire, along with C. Hayden Coffin as art student Rudolph Blair, Letty Lind as Daisy Vane, Leonora Braham as Lady Barbara Cripps, Louie Pounds as Amy Criips, Eric Lewis as Sir George St. Alban, and Marie Studholme as art student Jessie.
On Feb. 14, 1895 Dublin-born Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854-1900) debuts his final play The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People at St. James's Theatre in London (86 perf.), giving him three hit plays playing simultaneusly, later becoming his most popular play; orphan Ernest/Jack Worthing finds his daddy's name is Gen. Ernest John Moncrieff; Ernest and Gwendolyn Fairfax (daughter of Lady Bracknell), Algernon Moncrieff and Cecily Cardew (ward of Jack Worthing), Dr. Rev. Canon Frederick Chausuble and Miss Laetitia Prism; Lady Bracknell: "My nephew, you seem to be displaying signs of triviality"; "On the contrary, Aunt Augusta, I've now realized for the first time in my life the vital importance of being Ernest"; filmed in 1952, 1992, and 2002; too bad, he is accused (via a card left at Oscar's club) of "posing as a Somdomite" (sic) by the marquess of er, John Sholto Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensbury (1844-1900) over his relationship with his son Lord Alfred Bruce "Bosie" Douglas (1870-1945), the love of Wilde's gay life, whom he met as an undergrad at Oxford (after Bosie had read Wilde's wild gay book "The Picture of Dorian Gray", and was obsessed with its gay imagery); at Bosie's insistence, Wilde makes the big mistake of suing for libel, which ends up exposing his long list of young male lovers in court, causing him to drop his suit, and the crown to have him arrested while drinking hock and seltzer and talking to Bosie at the Cadogan Hotel in London by a Scotland Yard Inspector for the crime of sodomy (carrying up to 10 inches, er, years); his prosecutor is future Liberal PM (1908-16) Herbert Henry Asquith (1852-1928), whose gay son Anthony Asquith (1902-68) dir. the Earnest play in 1952; after a great speech from the courtroom dock, where he uses Bosie's line "the love that dare not speak its name", he ends up convicted on May 25 and sentenced to two years for offenses to minors; the British govt. doesn't declassify its memos on the trial until 1999.
On Mar. 2, 1895 Walter Alfred Slaughter (1860-1908) and Basil Hood (1864-1917) debut their musical comedy Gentleman Joe, The Hansom Cabbie at the Prince of Wales's Theatre (391 perf.), becoming a vehicle for comedian Arthur Roberts (1852-1933), coiner of the word "spoof".
On Apr. 25, 1896 Sidney Jones (1861-1946), Owen Hall (1853-1907), and Harry Greenbank (1865-99) debut their musical The Geisha: The Story of a Tea House at Daly's Theatre in West End London) (760 perf.) (2nd longest running British musical to date); produced by George Edwardes; stars Marie Tempest as O Mimosa San (who marries a Chinese man), and Letty Lind as Molly Seamore (who marries English man Reginald "Reggie" Fairfax, played by Hayden Coffin) at the Tea House of Ten Thousand Joys - play that 13-silk-stringed koto one more time?
On Oct. 16, 1899 Howard Talbot (1865-1928), Ivan Caryll (1861-1921), and Harry Greenbank (1865-99) debut their musical A Chinese Honeymoon at the Theatre Royal in Hanley, followed by the Royal Strand Theatre in Westminster, London on Oct. 5, 1901 (1,075 perf., and the Casino Theatre in New York on June 2, 1902 (376 perf.), becoming the first musical to run for over 1K perf; tall Emperor Hang Chow of Ylang Ylang (Picton Roxborough) promotes an English skipper to lord high admiral Hi Lung (Percy Clifton) and sends him in search of a bride.
On Oct. 21, 1899 Sidney Jones (1861-1946), Edward Morton (1858-1922), Harry Greenbank (1865-99), Adrian Ross (1859-1933), and Lionel Monckton (1861-1924) debut their musical comedy San Toy, or The Emperor's Own at Daly's Theatre in West End, London (768 perf.), followed by Daly's Theatre in New York on Oct. 10, 1900 (200 perf.), passing "The Geisha" as the 2nd longest-running British musical; stars Marie Tempest as San Toy, daughter of Mandarin Yen How (Rutland Barrington), who is raised as a boy to get around conscription laws requiring daughters of Mandarins to join a regiment in Pekins; she is in love with Capt. Bobby Preston (Hayden Coffin), son of Sir George Bingo Preston (Fred Kaye), British Consul of Pynga Pong, until student Fo Hop (Scott Russell) finds out and blackmails her into marriage; Topsy Sinden plays Trixie.
On Nov. 11, 1899 English composer Leslie Stuart (Thomas Augustine Barrett) (1863-1928), Owen Hall (1853-1907), Paul Rubens (1875-1917), and Edward Boyd-Jones debut their musical comedy Florodora at the Lyric Theatre in West End, London (455 perf.), moving to the Casino Theatre in New York in 1900 (552 perf.); stars Evie Greene, Willie Edouin, and Ada Reeve; features the Florodora Girls, who sing the song Tell Me, Pretty Maiden; in 1920-1 a Broadway revival stars Milton Berle (b. 1908) as one of the Florodora Boys.
On May 9, 1903 Leslie Stuart (1863-1928), Paul Rubens (1875-1917), Henry Hamilton, Paul M. Potter, and Charles H. Taylor (1859-1907) debut their musical comedy The School Girl at the Prince of Wales Theatre, West End, London (333 perf.) (Daly's Theatre, New York) (Sept. 1, 1904); produced by George Edwardes and Charles Frohman; stars Edna May, Billie Burke, Pauline Chase, Maude Percival, Marie Studholme, James Blakeley, Reginald Somerville, and G.P. Huntley/George Grossmith Jr.; features the song My Little Canoe.
In 1903 the New Theatre on St. Martin's Lane in Westminster, West End, London (cap. 872) opens, designed by W.G.R. Sprague; in 1973 it is renamed the Albery Theatre; in 1920 Noel Coward appears in his own play "I'll Leave It To You", the first West End production of his play; in 2006 it is renamed the Noel Coward Theatre, opening on June 1 with the London debut of "Avenue Q".
On Dec. 27, 1904 Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland-born Sir James Matthew "J.M." Barrie, 1st Baronet (1860-1937) debuts his play Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up (Peter and Wendy) at the Duke of York's Theatre in London, about Peter Darling, the boy who wouldn't grow up and learned to use his imagination to fly and do other magic, and his adventures in Neverland with the Lost Boys, Tinkerbell the Fairy, Capt. Hook, Smee, and the Crocodile; the Darling kids of Bloomsbury (Peter, Wendy, John, Michael) are inspired by the five boys of Sylvia Jocelyn Llewelyn Davies (1866-1910); Barrie's mother lost her own childhood at age 8?; Peter lost his shadow; the Lost Boys are inspired by real children lost in Kensington Gardens; a kiss is a "thimble"; coins the name "Wendy", which is not related to Gwendolyn, making it popular; Salt Lake City, Utah-born Maude Ewing Adams Kiskadden (1872-1953) plays Peter Pan, which becomes her signature role, causing her to hold out for the movies until color can be perfected to play the part in vain through the 1920s; Sir Gerald Hubert Edward Busson du Maurier (1873-1934) (son of "Trilby" author George du Maurier and father of "Rebecca" author Daphne du Maurier) plays Capt. Hook, making him a star; turned into a 1911 novel, after which in 1929 Barrie gives the copyright to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
On May 22, 1905 the Novello Theatre (originally Waldorf Theatre, Strand Theatre, and Whitney Theatre until 1913) in Aldwych, Westminster, London (cap. 1,105) opens, owned by the Shubert Org.
On May 23, 1905 George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) debuts his drama Man and Superman at the Royal Court Theatre in London; written in 1903; Mr. Whitefield dies, leaving his daughter Ann (Lilah McCarthy) in the care of old Roebuck Ramsden and young stud John "Jack" Tanner (Harley Granville Barker), author of "The Revolutionist's Handbook and Pocket Companion", who "is prodigiously fluent of speech, restless, excitable (mark the snorting nostril and the restless blue eye, just the thirty-secondth of an inch too wide open), possibly a little mad", who tries unsuccessfully to inculcate his rev. beliefs on her, but ends up getting pussy-whipped and marrying him, beating out suitor Octavius Robinson; incl. the seemingly extrandous 3rd act "Don Juan in Hell", in which Don Juan is the quarry not the hunter.
On May 30, 1905 Ivan Caryll (1861-1921), George Grossmith Jr. (1874-1935), Lionel Monckton (1861-1924), Adrian Ross (1859-1933), and Percy Greenbank (1878-1968) debut their musical comedy The Spring Chicken at the Gaiety Theate in West End, London (May 30) (401 perf.); produced by George Edwardes; stars Grossmith as atty. Gustav Babori, Harry Grattan as his client Baron Papuche, Edmund Payne as Mr. Girdle, Connie Ross as Mrs. Girdle, and Gertie Millar as Rosalie.
On Nov. 28, 1905 George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) debuts his play Major Barbara at the Royal Court Theatre in London, followed by the Playhouse Theatre in New York on Dec. 9, 1915; Salvation Army Maj. Barbara Undershaft in West Ham, East London finds out that she is the long-separated daughter of wealthy munitions manufacturer Andrew Undershaft, and they agree to visit each other's place of work, finding her engaged to Greek scholar Adolphus Cusins, and tries to impress her by giving money to the Salvation Army, which only turns her off because she believes his wealth is "tainted", but later decides that "They would take money from the Devil himself and be only too glad to get it out of his hands and into God's"; "I stood on the rock I thought eternal; and... it crumbled under me"; filmed in 1941 starring Wendy Hiller and Rex Harrison; written for English actress Eleanor Robson Belmont (1879-1979), who can't perform the role due to contractual obligations, and retires after marrying rich Yankee August Belmont Jr. on Feb. 26, 1910, going on to found the Metropolitan Opera Guild.
On Jan. 31, 1907 Paul Rubens (1875-1917) and Austen Hurgon debut their musical comedy Miss Hook of Holland: A Dutch Musical Incident at the Prince of Wales Theatre (462 perf.); produced by Frank Curzon; stars Isabel Jay as Miss Sally Hook, and Harry Grattan as distillery foreman Ludwig Schnapps, who is in love with the Hooks' maid Mina (Gracie Leigh).
On Jan. 22, 1907 the Music Hall Strike (War) of 1907 in Britain begins with a strike by music hall performers at the Holborn Empire Theatre, spreading to 22 theatres; entertainers Marie Dainton, Arthur Roberts, Joe Elvin, and Gus Elen, along with popular music hall singer Marie Lloyd (Matilda Alice Victoria Wood) (1870-1922) mans picket lines; after two weeks the strike is favorably settled after Somerset Maugham gets it referred to arbitration; in 1912 the owners exclude Lloyd from the first music hall royal command perf. to get even. On Jan. 26 the Austrian parliament establishes nat. quotas for its 55 seats, giving 241 to Germa
On Jan. 26, 1907 Rathfarnham, County Dublin, Ireland-born Edmund John Millington Synge (1871-1909) debuts his play The Playboy of the Western World at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin; about Christy Mahon, on the lam after believing he has killed his father, given sanctuary by publican Micheal James near a village on the wild coast of Mayo in W Ireland, where he steals his daughter Pegeen Mike from her suitor Shawn Keogh; its nationalism and indecency (a reference to females standing in their shifts or nightclothes) causes near instant rioting (the Playboy Riots) during its premiere; Christy is based on James Lynchehaun (1860-1937), who attacked his eccentric English landlady Agnes MacDonnell and set her Valley House on Achill Island, Ireland on fire after she sacked him, then escaped from jail after seven years and fled to the U.S., where the courts set a precedent by refusing British extradition; he sneaks back this year after the riots disguised as a U.S. tourist and settles in Scotland for the rest of his life?
On June 5, 1913 the Ambassadors Theatre on West St. and Charing Cross Rd. near Cambridge Circus (cap. 444) opens, becoming one of the smallest West End theatres, seating 195 in the Dress Circle and 251 in the Stalls, located across from the renowned restaurant The Ivy, frequented by theatrical elite.
On Oct. 16, 1913 George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) debuts his play Pygmalion at the Hofburg Theatre in Vienna, followed by the Irving Place Theatre in New York on Mar. 24, 1914, and His Majesty's Theatre in London on Apr. 11, 1914 (118 perf.); based on the Greek myth of Pygmalion of Cyprus, who fell in love with a statue he sculpted; stars Mrs. Patrick Campbell (1865-1940) as Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle, whom he wrote the part for, who might have been based on Alexander Graham Bell's father Alexander Melville Bell (1819-1905); later made into the musical "My Fair Lady" (1956); fear of ridicule causes him to debut it in German in Vienna, after which he gets braver and debuts it in New York (in German) followed by London; "The English have no respect for their language, and will not teach their children to speak it." (preface)
On Aug. 4, 1914 - Nov. 11, 1918 the horrific World War I causes 15M deaths and 39M military casualties. and destroys the Old Order of white formerly Christian Europe. On Feb. 26-28, 1915 the Germans first use a Flamethrower (Flame Projector) in the village of Douaumont, France near Verdun, becoming the first of 653 flamethrower attacks in the war. On Apr. 1, 1915 French aviator Roland Garros (1888-1918) becomes the first pilot to shoot down an aircraft using a deflector gear, which allows shooting through the propeller; after more Vs against German aircraft on Apr. 15 and Apr. 18, he is shot down and the Germans capture his plane, after which Dutch designer Anthony (Anton Herman Gerard) Fokker (1890-1939) clones then improves the deflector gear into the synchronization (interrupter) gear, mounting them on the new Fokker E.I. in Aug., beginning the Fokker Scourge (Scare) as they shoot down nearly every enemy aircraft they encounter and generate the first German aces, incl. Max Immelmann (1890-1916); next year the French counter with the Nieuport 11 Bebe (Bébé), in which the gun is mounted on the top wing clear of the prop, and the British with the Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2b and Airco DH.2 (Feb. 1916), which mount the engine backwards with the prop in back, causing them to be called "pushers", ending the Fokker Scourge by spring 1917. In 1915 arsenic-based vomiting-sneeze gas Adamsite (DM) (diphenylaminechlorarsine) is synthesized by German chemist Heinrich Otto Wieland (1877-1957); in 1918 Am chemist Roger Adams (1889-1971) duplicates it, and both sides stockpile it, but it is allegedly never used on the battlefield. On Mar. 22, 1916 the British have their first success with their new Depth Charge off the SW coast of Ireland, destroying a German U-boat. Are you used to Hell yet, try this? On Sept. 15, 1916 Winston Churchill's pet project the Tank (Russian Water Closet) (Char-Schneider) is first used by the Brits in the Somme.
On Aug. 3, 1916 George Frederic Norton (1869-1946) and Oscar Asche (1871-1936) debut their musical comedy Chu Chin Cow at His Majesty's Theatre in London (2,238 perf.) (most perf. until "Salad Days" in 1954), followed by ? in New York in 1917 (208 perf.), based on the 1911 play "Kismet" by Edward Knoblock; London production stars Oscar Asche as Abu Hasan, Frank Cochrane as Kasim Baba, and Courtice Pounds as Ali Baba; Broadway production stars Tyrone Power Sr. as Abu Hasan, Albert Howson as Kasim Baba, and Henry Dixey as Ali Baba; filmed in 1925 starring Betty Blythe, and in 1934 starring George Robey as Ali Baba.
On Feb. 10, 1917 London-born composer Harold Fraser-Simson (1872-1944), songwriter James William Tate (1875-1922), lyricist Jocelyn Henry Clive "Harry" Graham (1874-1936), St. Helier, Jersey-born writer Frederick Lonsdale (1881-1954), lyricist Frank Clifford Harris (1875-1949), and West-Ham, Essex-born lyricist Valentine (Archibald Thomas Pechey) (1876-1961) debut their musical The Maid of the Mountains at Daly's Theatre in London (1,352 perf.) (2nd most perf. after "Chu Chin Chow"); produced by Robert Evett; dir. by Oscar Asche; big hit in wartime London; bandit maid Teresa (Jose Collins) and her lover, bandit chief Baldassare (Arthur Wontner) high in the Italian Alps decide to disband, and the local retiring governor Gen. Malona (Mark Lester) captures and holds her in the Palace of Santo, promising her freedom for giving up Baldassare, causing her to reply "There is honor among thieves"; meanwhile Baldassare kidnaps new governor Count Orsino, and falls for Angela, daughter of Malona, pissing-off Teresa and causing her to finally betray him, getting sent to Devil's Island, after which she regrets it and he admits he still loves her, and they escape together; features the songs Love Will Find a Way, A Paradise for Two.
On Sept. 24, 1923 Teddington, London-born gay 1-man band Noel (Noël) Peirce Coward (1899-1973) debuts his musical London Calling! at the Duke of York's Theatre in West End, London (367 perf.); title based on the call sign of the new radio station 2LO London, becoming his first revue and first success; produced by Andre Charlot; uses a 3-D stereoscopic shadowgraph in the opening act, patented by Laurens Hammond, requiring the audience to wear color-tinted glasses; choreography by Fred and Adele Astaire; features the song Parisian Pierrot, sung by Gertrude Lawrence (Gertrude Alice Dagmar Klasen) (1898-1952), who goes on to star in more of his musicals.
On Dec. 28, 1923 George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) debuts his historical play Saint Joan at the Garrick Theatre in New York, followed by the New Theatre, West End, London on Mar. 26, 1924; the life of Joan of Arc (1412-31); his only tragedy?; debuts three years after her canonization (May 16, 1920); "A tragedy without villains" (Michael Holroyd); stars Agnes Sybil Thorndike (1882-1976), for whom the role was designed, and she performs in the role repeatedly until 1941; musical score by John Foulds; filmed in 1927 starring Sybil Thorndike, and in 1957 starring Jean Seberg; "There are no villains in the piece. Crime, like disease, is not interesting: it is something to be done away with by general consent, and that is all about it. It is what men do at their best, with good intentions, and what normal men and women find that they must and will do in spite of their intentions, that really concern us" (preface); "O God that madest this beautiful earth, when will it be ready to accept thy saints? How long, O Lord, how long?" (last line)
On Nov. 8, 1924 the Fortune Theatre on Russell St. near Covent Garden in Westminster, West End, London (cap. 422) opens with "Sinners" by Lawrence Cowen; after WWII it becomes a receiving house, going on to host "The Woman in Black" starting in 1989.
On Mar. 11, 1925 Vincent Youmans (1898-1946), Irving Caesar (1895-1996), Otto Harbach (1873-1963), and Frank Mandel debut their musical No, No, Nanette at the Palace Theatre in West End, London (665 perf.), followed by the Globe Theatre in New York on Sept. 16 (321 perf.); London production stars Binnie Hale (1899-1984) as Atlantic City-loving Nanette, and George Grossmith Jr. (1874-1935) as her guardian, Bible publishing millionaire Jimmy Smith; Broadway production stars Louise Groody and Charles Winninger; biggest Broadway hit of the 1920s; features the songs No, No, Nanette, and Tea for Two; filmed in 1930 and 1940; revived in 1971.
On Apr. 27, 1928 the Piccadilly Theatre at 16 Denman St. behind Piccadilly Circus in Westminster, West End, London (cap. 1.4K) opens, featuring Art Deco interior, with the opening day brouchure containing the soundbyte: "If all the bricks used in the building were laid in a straight line, they would stretch from London to Paris"; the opening production is Jerome Kern's musical "Blue Eyes" starring Evelyn Lane; in 1928 Warner Bros. acquires it and debuts the first talkie in Britain, "The Singing Fool" with Al Jolson; in Nov. 1929 it reopens with "The Student Prince"; in Apr. 1936 it becomes the London Casino; during WWII it is hit by a German bomb; in the 1950s it is renovated, with a 1,232-seat auditorium decorated in shades of pink.
On July 2, 1929 Noel Coward (1899-1973) debuts his operetta Bitter Sweet at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, moving to His Majesty's Theatre in London on July 18 (697 perf.), and to the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York on Nov. 5, followed by the Shubert Theatre in New York on Feb. 17, 1930 (159 perf.); produced by Sir Charles Blake "C.B." Cochran (1872-1951), who backs a string of Coward plays; young Sarah "Sari" Millick, Marchioness of Shayne (Peggy Wood) elopes with her music teacher Carl Linden (George Metaxa, after Hans Unterfucker is turned down because of his name) from London to Vienna in 1875; features the songs I'll See You Again, If Love Were All; filmed in 1933 by Herbert Wilcox starring Anna Neagle and Fernand Gravet, and in 1940 by W.S. Van Dyke (MGM) starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.
On Aug. 18, 1930 Noel Coward (1899-1973) debuts his comedy of manners Private Lives at the King's Theatre in Edinburgh, followed by the Phoenix Theatre in London on Sept. 24, and the Times Square Theatre, New York on Jan. 27, 1931; written in two weeks; a divorced couple honeymoons with their new spouses in a hotel, discovering that they are staying in adjacent rooms; stars Coward, Gertrude Lawrence, Laurience Olivier, and Adrianne Allan; debut of the Phoenix Theatre on Charing Cross Rd. in Camden, London (cap. 1,012), which also debuts Coward's "Tonight at 8:30" (1936) (co-starring Gertrude Lawrence) and "Quadrille" (1952).
On Mar. 5, 1931 Phil Charig (1902-60) debuts his musical Stand Up and Sing at the London Hippodrome in West End, London (604 perf.); stars Jack Buchanan, and former dancer Anna Neagle (Florence Marjorie Robertson) (1904-86), who is discovered there by film dir. Herbert Wilcox, rising to the most popular star in Britain in 1949.
On Oct. 13, 1931 Noel Coward (1899-1973) debuts his play Cavalcade at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London (405 perf.); produced by Sir Charles Blake Cochran; a super-expensive production about the Edwardian Marryot family in 1900-29 against a historical backdrop; stars Edward Sinclair and Mary Clare as the Marryot parents; its patriotic theme helps the Conservative Party in the gen. election win the middle class vote; George V and Queen Mary attend the performance on election night and receive Coward in the royal box; Coward utters the soundbyte that he "came to scoff, remained to pray"; filmed in 1933.
In 1932 The avant-garde Group Theatre is founded in London by choreographer Rupert Doone (1903-6) and painter Robert Medley (1905-94), producing plays by W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, Christopher Ishwerwood, Louis MacNeice and Stephen Spender.
In 1933 English playwright Ashley Dukes (1885-1959) founds the Mercury Theatre in Notting Hill Gate, London, which goes on to stage the first performance of T.S. Eliot's "Murder in the Cathedral" in 1935, becoming the home of Ballet Rambert until 1987, run by his Warsaw, Poland-born wife Dame Marie "Mim" Rambert (Myriam Ramberg) (Cyvia Rambam) (1888-1982).
In 1936 South Kensington, London-born Sir Terence Mervyn Rattigan (1911-77) debuts his play French Without Tears at the Criterion Theatre in London) (1K perf.) (New York) (100 perf.); a school where English adults cram French for business use; his first success; stars Reginald Carey "Rex" Harrison (1908-90), making him a star; filmed in 1940 by Anthony Asquith, starring Ray Milland; inspired by a 1933 visit to the village of Marxzell in the Black Forest, where Englishmen come to cram German.
On Dec. 16, 1937 Noel Gay (1898-1954), Douglas Furber (1885-1961), and L. Arthur Rose debut their musical Me and My Girl at the Victoria Palace Theatre in West End, London (1,646 perf.); broadcast by BBC radio live on Jan. 13, 1938, becoming the first full-length musical to be broadcast live on radio; revived at the Adelphi Theatre in West End, London on Feb. 12, 1985 (3,303 perf.) (2nd longest running play in West End, London), and at the Marquis Theatre in New York on Aug. 10, 1986 (1,420 perf.); unrefined cockney gentleman Bill Snibson (Lupino Lane) learns that he is the 14th earl of Hareford; features the song The Lambeth Walk by Lupino Lane, which becomes fashionable in the U.K., and is banned in Germany; filmed in 1939.
On Sept. 1, 1939 - Sept. 2, 1945 the horrific $3.5T World War II resulted in 24M military and 49M civilian deaths, and featured the low point of the Jewish Holocaust (Shoah) by the German Nazis, I guess it was the Jews' fault for not ransoming themselves to go to Israel before they could round them up for the camps. The whole experience turned Jews from lovers into fighters, ramping up the Zionist movement with full world sympathy and support by new world superpower U.S., which had its own guilt trip because on Nov. 24, 1942 Budapest-born Am. Zionist leader Rabbi Stephen Samuel Wise (1874-1949) announced in a press conference in Washington, D.C. that he was authorized by the U.S. State Dept. to confirm that the Nazis had murdered 2M Jews as part of a plan to exterminate all Jews in Europe; too bad, the nat. newspapers didn't consider it front page news, and the U.S. govt. did nada. After the war ended and Americans toured the concentration camps in horror, Polish-born Jewish scholar Raphael Lemkin (1900-59), who single-handedly led an unsuccessful campaign to get the League of Nations to give internat. protections against genocide starting in 1933 finally got what he wanted after his own people got it, namely the Dec. 9, 1948 U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Gen. Assembly Resolution 260), which didn't come in force until Jan. 12, 1951, and which the U.S. still didn't ratify until 1988.
On July 2, 1941 Noel Coward (1899-1973) debuts his comedy Blithe Spirit at the Piccadilly Theatre in West End, London, followed by St. James's Theatre and the Duchess Theatre (1,997 perf.) (Morosco Theatre, New York) (Nov. 5, 1941) (Booth Theatre, New York) (May 18, 1942) (657 perf.); title comes from Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem "To a Skylark": "Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! Bird thou never wert!"; middle-aged writer Charles Condomine (Cecil Parker) hosts a seance with medium Madame Arcati (Margaret Rutherford) and conjures up his first wife Elvira (Kay Hammond), pissing-off 2nd wife Ruth (Fay Compton) when she decides to stay and is audible only to him; Broadway production stars Clifton Webb as Charles, Peggy Wood as Ruth, Leonora Corbett as Elvira, and Mildred Natwick as Arcati; the longest running comedy in British theatre for three decades.
On Sept. 6, 1946 Terence Rattigan (1911-77) debuts his play The Winslow Boy in London, followed by New York in 1947; based on the real-life case of Stonyhurst College cadet George Archer-Shee in 1908; 14-y.-o. Ronnie Winslow at the Royal Naval College at Osborne is accused of stealing a 5-shilling postal order from a fellow cadet, and fights to prove his innocence to prevent his life from being ruined; dir. by Glen Byam Shaw; stars Emlyn Williams, Mona Washbourne, Angela Baddely, and Kathleen Harrison filmed in 1948 by Anthony Asquith, starring Robert Donat as Sir Robert Morton, Sir Cedric Hardicke as Arthur Winslow, and Margaret Leighton as Catherine Winslow.
On Dec. 8, 1949 Joseph Fields (1895-1966), Anita Loos (1889-1981), Leo Robin (1900-84), and Jule Styne (1905-94) debut their musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes at the Ziegfield Theatre in New York (740 perf.), followed by the Princes Theatre in West End, London on Aug. 20, 1962 (223 perf.); based on the 1925 novel by Anita Loos; the Broadway production stars Carol Channing as Lorelei Lee, and Yvonne Adair as Dorothy Shaw; the West end production stars Dora Bryan and Anne Hart; filmed in 1953 starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell.
In 1949 Bristol, England-born Christopher Fry (Arthur Hammond Harris) (1907-2005) debuts his verse play The Lady's Not for Burning at the Arts Theatre in West End, London, followed by the Globe Theatre in West End, London, and the Royale Theatre in West End, London (Nov. 8); #1 (spring) of his four seasonal plays that make him a star in the 1940s-19502; dir. by Jack Hawkins; West End production stars John Gielgud; Broadway production stars Pamela Brown, Richard Burton, and Claire Bloom; set in the Burning Times of England; recent war veteran Thomas Mendip gets tired of the world and wants to be hanged, and hooks up with accused witch Jennet; causes British PM Margaret Thatcher to utter the 1980 soundbyte; "To those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catchprase, the U-turn, I have only this to say: You turn if you want to; the lady's not for turning."
On Oct. 6, 1952 Agatha Christie (1890-1976) debuts her murder mystery play The Mousetrap (Three Blind Mice) at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham, followed by the Ambassadors Theatre in West End, London on Nov. 25, and St. Martin's Theatre in West End, London on Mar. 25, 1974; written for Queen Mary, based the real-life case of Dennis O'Neill, who died after extreme abuse by his farmer foster parents in Shropshire; set after in a snowstorm after news of the murder of Maureen Lyon in Monkswell Manor, run by Giles and Mollie Ralston, with guests incl. Christopher Wren, Mrs. Boyle, Maj. Metcalf, Miss Casewell, Mr. Paravicini, and Det. Sgt. Trotter; audience is pledged to never reveal the twist ending; goes on to become the world's longest-running play; stars David Raven as Maj. Metcalf, Mysie Monte as Mrs. Boyle, and Sir Richard Attenborough as Det. Sgt. Trotter, who returns for its 20,000th perf. on Dec. 16, 2000; has its 25,000th on Nov. 18, 2012; it finally closes in ?.
On Jan. 3, 1953 Samuel Beckett (1906-89) debuts his play Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts (En Attendant Godot) at the Theatre de Babylone in Paris, followed by the Arts Theatre in London on Aug. 3, 1955; Vladimir and Estragon wait for you know who while chit-chatting with Pozzo, Lucky, and Vladimir; Godot is really God?; Well, shall we go?"; "Yes, let's go" (they stay) (ending); "Women don't have prostates" (Beckett, objecting to women acting in it).
On Apr. 14, 1953 Manchester, England-born Alexander Galbraith "Sandy" Wilson (1924-2014) debuts his musical The Boy Friend (Boyfriend) at the Players' Theatre Club in London, followed by Wyndham's Theatre in West End, London on Jan. 14, 1954 (2,078 perf.), and the Royal Theatre in New York on Sept. 30, 1954 (485 perf.); the French Rivieria in the Roaring Twenties; big hit with the queen; Broadway production stars John Hewer, Geoffrey Hibbert, Dilys Laye et al.; the Broadway debut of 19-y.-o. "perfect pitch" Julia Elizabeth "Julie" Andrews (nee Wells) (1935-) as Polly, who is discovered by the producers of "My Fair Lady" there; features the song The Boyfriend; followed by the 1930s musical Divorce Me, Darling! (Players' Theatre, London) (Dec. 9, 1964) (Globe Theatre, West End, London) (Feb. 1, 1965) (91 perf.).
On May 7, 1953 Cole Porter (1891-1964) and Abe Burrows (1910-85) debut their musical Can-Can at the Shubert Theatre in New York (892 perf.), followed by the Coliseum Theatre in West End, London on Oct. 14, 1954 (394 perf.); Broadway production dir. by Abe Burrows and choreographed by Michael Kidd, starring Lilo, Gwen Verdon, Hans Conried, and Peter Cookson; filmed in 1960 starring Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra, Louis Jordan, and Maurice Chevalier, debuting Juliet Prowse; features the songs I Love Paris, C'est Magnifique, It's All Right with Me.
On Nov. 5, 1953 Terence Rattigan (1911-77) debuts his play The Sleeping Prince: An Occasional Fairy Tale at the Phoenix Theatre in West End, London, followed in Nov. 1956 by the Coronet Theatre in New York; set in 1911 London; stars Laurence Olivier as Prince Charles of Carpathia, and Vivien Leigh as young actress Elsie Marina; filmed as "The Prince and the Showgirl" (1957) starring Olivier and Marilyn Monroe, who bought the rights; adopted in 1963 as the musical "The Girl Who Came to Supper" by Noel Coward.
On Aug. 5, 1954 Julian Slade (1930-2006) and Dorothy Reynolds (1913-77) debut their musical Salad Days at the Vaudeville Theatre in West End, London (2,283 perf.); title taken from Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra"; written in 6 weeks, it becomes the longest running show in the U.K. until "Oliver!"; incl. We Said We Wouldn't Look Back, I Sit in the Sun, We're Looking for a Piano.
On Sept. 22, 1954 Terence Rattigan (1911-77) debuts his play Separate Tables at St. James's Theatre in London, followed by the Music Box Theatre in New York on Oct. 25, 1956; in two acts, "Table by the Window" and "Table Number Seven", set in the Beauregard Private Hotel in Bournemouth 18 mo. apart, starring Margaret Leighton as Mrs. Shankland and Sibyl, and Eric Portman as the Labour politician and Maj. Pollock.
On Nov. 12, 1956 Marguerite Monnot (1903-61) and Alexandre Breffort (1901-71) debut their musical Irma La Douce at the Theatre Gramont in Paris, followed by the Lyric Theatre in West End, London on July 17, 1958 (1,512 perf.), and the Plymouth Theatre in New York on Sept. 25, 1960, moving to the Alvin Theatre on Oct. 30, 1961 (524 perf.); poor Parisian law student Nestor le Fripe (Fripé) falls in love with a hooker with a heart of gold, and disguises himself as rich older man Oscar, keeping her by holding down several jobs, which gets him down, so he pretends to kill Oscar, and is convicted of his murder and sent to Devil's Island, then escapes, returns, and proves his innocence, living happily with her forever; filmed in 1963 starring Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon.
On Nov. 29, 1956 Jule Styne (1905-94), Betty Comden (1917-2006), Adolph Green (1914-2002) debut their musical Bells Are Ringing at the Shubert Theatre in New York (924 perf.) (Alvin Theatre) (Coliseum, West End, London) (Nov. 14, 1957) (292 perf.); dir. by Jerome Robbins; choreographed by Robbins and Bob Fosse; Brooklyn telephone operator Ella Peterson (Judy Holliday) of Susananswerphone, known for playing games with customers by assuming fake roles falls for handsome playwright Jeffrey Moss (Sydney Chaplain) while pretending to be old woman Mom on the phone; meanwhile the cops suspect it's a front for a call girl service; filmed in 1960; features the songs Bells Are Ringing, Long Before I Knew You, Just in Time, The Party's Over.
On Apr. 27, 1960 Hackney, London-born Harold Pinter (1930-2008) debuts his 6th play The Caretaker at the Arts Theatre in Westminster, London, moving to the Duchess Theatre in West End, London on (May 30) (444 perf.); his first major success; about two brothers and a tramp, becoming a psychological study of power, allegiance, and corruption; filmed in 1964 by Clive Donner starring Alan Bates as Mick, Donald Pleasence as Davies, and Robert Shaw as Aston (replacing Peter Woodthorpe).
On June 30, 1960 Stepney, London-born Lionel Bart (Begleiter) (1930-99) debuts his musical Oliver! at the New Theatre in West End, London (2,618 perf.), followed by the Imperial Theater in New York on Jan. 6, 1963 (774 perf.); based on Charles Dickens' 1837 novel "Oliver Twist"; dir. by Peter Coe; stars Ron Moody as Fagin, and Georgia Brown as Nancy; Broadway production stars Davy Jones as the Artful Dodger; filmed in 1968; features the songs Food, Glorious Food, Fine Life, Oliver!, Where Is Love?, Oom-Pah-Pah, Consider Yourself, You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two, I'd Do Anything, As Long As He Needs Me.
On July 1, 1960 Robert Oxton Bolt (1924-95) debuts his play A Man for All Seasons at the Globe Theatre in London, followed by the ANTA Playhouse in New York on Nov. 22, 1961 (620 perf.); about Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), played by Paul Scofield; written by an agnostic Socialist who admires his will to stand up to a king; "What matters is not that it's true, but that I believe it; or no, not that I believe it, but that I believe it"; filmed in 1966 starring Paul Scofield, and in 1988 starring Charlton Heston.
In 1967 Hampshire, England-born Simon James Holliday Gray (1936-2008) debuts his first play Wise Child at Wyndham's Theatre, West End London (12 perf.), followed by the Helen Hayes Theatre in New York on Jan. 27, 1972 (4 perf.); orphan Jerry Artminster blackmails criminal Jock Masters (Alec Guinness/Donald Pleasance) to impersonate his mother in a hotel in Reading, Berkshire, where the gay mgr. lusts for him.
On Sept. 26, 1968 the British Theatres Act of 1968 effectively abolishes the Lord Chamberlain's powers of censorship (begun 1737).
On June 17, 1969 Kenneth Peacock Tynan (1927-80) debuts his musical Oh! Calcutta! at the Eden Theater in New York) (1,314 perf.); title taken from a 1946 painting by French artist Clovis Trouille (1889-1975) titled "Oh! Calcutta, Calcutta!", a pun on "Oh quel cul t'as" (Oh what an ass you have); erotic avant-garde theatrical revue about every conceivable erotic fantasy of Western man, with musical lyrics by the Open Door, featuring contributions by Samuel Beckett (1906-89), Jules Feiffer (1929-), Bruce Jay Friedman (1930-), Dan Greenberg, John Lennon (1940-80), Sam Shepard (1943-) et al.; full nudity and blatant sexual content prompt a nat. shaken-and-restirred master debate on censorship; in 1970 the Dave Pell Singers release Oh, Calcutta; in June 1972 the film Oh! Calcutta is released; runs 610 perf., then is revived next year in West End, London (3.9K perf.), and revived again on Broadway on Sept. 24, 1976- Aug. 6, 1989 (5,959 perf.), becoming the 2nd longest-running musical in Broadway history (7th longest by 2012).
In Sept. 1970 Kensington, London-born composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948-) and Shardeloes, England-born lyricist Sir Timothy Miles Bindon "Tim" Rice (1944-) release their concept double album Jesus Christ Superstar (#1 in the U.S.), which sells $40M by the end of the year; banned by the BBC for being sacreligious, making it more popular?; incl. Superstar I Don't Know How to Love Him, King Herod's Song, Pilate's Dream, Hosanna, Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say), Simon Zealotes/Poor Jerusalem, Jesus Must Die. On Oct. 12, 1971 Webber and Rice debut their musical Jesus Christ Superstar at the Mark Hellinger Theatre in New York (711 perf.); dir. by Tom O'Horgan; the last seven days of the life of a most amazing Jew from Galilee, from the modern Jewish-Am. hippie POV, based on the concept album, starring Jeff Fenholt as Judas, Ben Vereen as Judas, and Bob Bingham as Caiaphas.
On June 3, 1971 Alistair Foote and Anthony Marriott (1931-2014) debut their farce No Sex Please, We're British at the Strand Theatre in West End, London (6,761 perf.); only lasts 16 perf. on Broadway, which doesn't stop it from being performed in 52 countries, becoming the longest running comedy in history on Feb. 21, 1979; asst. bank mgr. Peter Hunter lives in a flat above his bank with his new bride Frances, who sends for some mail order Scandinavian glassware, receiving a flood of porno instead; Michael Crawford plays Brian Runnicles; filmed in 1973 starring Ronnie Corbett.
On Feb. 25, 1973 Stephen Sondheim (1930-) and Hugh Callingham Wheeler (1912-87) debut their musical A Little Night Music (English mistranslation of the German name for Mozart's 1787 Serenade No. 13 in G major "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"), at the Shubert Theatre in New York (601 perf.) (Adelphi Theatre, West End, London) (Apr. 15, 1975) (406 perf.) (Piccadilly Theatre, West End, London) (Oct. 6, 1989) (144 perf.); Broadway production dir. by Harold Prince, starring Glynis Johns as Desiree Armfeldt, Len Cariou as Fredrik Egerman, and Hermione Gingold as Madame Armfeldt; inspired by Ingmar Bergman's 1955 film "Smiles of a Summer Night"; filmed in 1977 by Harold Prince; incl. the hit song Send in the Clowns, written for Glynis Johns.
On July 26, 1973 Liverpool-born Sir Peter Levin Shaffer (1926-2016) debuts his play Equus at the Nat. Theatre in London, moving to the Plymouth Theatre in New York on Oct. 24, 1974, and to the Helen Hayes Theatre in New York on Oct. 5, 1976 (1,209 perf.); why did 17-y.-o. stable boy Alan Strang (Peter Firth), blind six horses near Suffolk, Englnd with spikes in the eyes asks pshrink Dr. Martin Dysart (played by Alec McCowen "on the knife edge of professional skill and personal disgust"); the horses are played by actors in brown track suits with wire horse heads; "Harry Potter" Daniel Radcliffe plays Strang in 2007, appearing onstage nude; it has something to do with crucifixes?; filmed in 1977, starring Peter Firth as Alan Strang, and Richard Burton as Martin Dysart.
On Nov. 28, 1977 Jack Good (1931-) and Ray Cooney (1932-) debut their jukebox musical Elvis the Musical at the Astoria Theatre in London (614 perf.), starring Tim Whitnall, Shakin' Stevens, P.J. Proby, and Bogdan Kominowski as Elvis Presley, accompanied by the rock & roll revival group Fumble; co-stars Tracey Ullman.
On June 21, 1978 Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948-) and Tim Rice (1944-) debut their musical Evita at the Prince Edward Theatre in West End, London (3,176 perf.) (Broadway Theatre, New York) (Sept. 25, 1979) (1,567 perf.); dir. by Harold Prince; the West End production makes a star of Elaine Paige (1948-) as Eva Peron, singing Don't Cry For Me, Argentina; also stars Joss Ackland as Juan Peron, and David Essex as Che; the Broadway production stars Patti LuPone as Eva, Mandy Patinkin as Che, and Bob Gunton as Peron; don't miss Act 2, set on the Casa Rosada balcony?; filmed in 1996 starring Madonna.
On Oct. 16, 1980 Portsmouth, Hampshire-born Howard John Brenton (1942-) debuts his play The Romans in Britain at the Nat. Theatre in London; uses the Roman war on the Celts as a parable about imperialism and abuse of power, incl. homosexual rape, taken as symbolic of British troops in Northern Ireland, with onstage nudity getting dir. Michael Bogdanov charged by the police with procuring an act of gross indecency after a campaign by English conservative Christian leader Mary Whitehouse (1910-2010), whose prosecution collapses on Mar. 18, 1982 when the star witness Graham Ross-Cornes reveals that he may have seen an actor's thumb instead of his dick.
On Dec. 21, 1981 Tom Eyen (1940-91) and Henry Krieger (1945-) debut their musical Dreamgirls at the Imperial Theatre in New York (1,522 perf.), followed by the Ambassador Theatre Group in London on Dec. 14, 2016; stars Jennifer Holliday in a story of the African-Am. female singing trio from Chicago called the Dreams; filmed in 2006 by Bill Condon starring Jennifer Hudson.
On Apr. 11, 1983 Willy Russell (1947-) debuts his musical Blood Brothers at the Lyric Theatre in West End, London, followed by the Albery Theatre in West End, London on July 28, 1988 (10,013 perf.), and the Music Box Theatre in New York on Apr. 25, 1993 (840 perf.); fraternal twins Michael "Mickey" Johnstone and Edward "Eddie" Lyons are separated from poor Mrs. Johnstone at birth after Eddie is adopted by a wealthy family headed by her employer Mrs. Jennifer Lyons; stars Barbara Dickson as Mrs. Johnstone, George Costigan as Mickey, Andrew C. Wadsworth as Eddie, and Andrew Scholfield as the narrator; #1 English musical of the year; features the songs Bright New Day, Easy Terms, I'm Not Saying a Word, Kids Game, Light Romance/Madman, Long Sunday Afternoon, Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe 2, Marilyn Monroe 3, My Child, Shoes Upon the Table, Summer Sequence, Take A Letter Miss Jones, That Guy.
On Mar. 27, 1984 Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948-) and Sir Richard Stilgoe (1943-) debut their musical Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in West End, London (7,406 perf.), followed by the Gershwin Theatre in New York on Mar. 15, 1987 (761 perf.); actors perform on roller skates; choreography by Arlene Phillips; Rusty the Steam Train attempts to become the Fastest Engine in the World, inspired by the legend of you know what, winning the first-class girl coach Pearl's heart; stars Stephanie Lawrence, Francis Ruffelle, Jeff Shankley, Jeffrey Daniel, and Ray Shell; debuts in Germany, becoming their #1 musical (until ?).
On Oct. 8, 1985 Claude-Michel Schonberg (1944-), Alain Boubil (1941-), and Herbert Kretzmer (1925-) debut their musical Les Miserables (Misérables) (based on the 1862 Victor Hugo novel) at the Palace Theatre in London, starring Colin Wilkinson as Jean Valjean, and Michael Ball as Marius; on Mar. 12, 1987 it debuts on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre, closing on May 18, 2003 after 6,680 perf.; features the songs I Dreamed a Dream, Do You Hear the People Sing?, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, Castle on a Cloud, One Day More, A Heart Full of Love, Stars, Bring Him Home, Master of the House, Little People, A Little Fall of Rain, On My Own.
On Oct. 9, 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948-), Charles Hart (1961-), and Richard Stilgoe (1943-) debut their musical The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre in London; on Jan. 26, 1988 it opens on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre, New York; based on Gaston Leroux's 1911 novel, it stars Mark Crawford as disfigured musical genius Gerard Butler; breaks the record of Webber's "Cats" on Jan. 9, 2006 with 7,486 perf., and celebrates its 25th anniv. on Jan. 26, 2013 with its 10,400th perf., reaching 12K perf. by Nov. 2016; total receipts are $5.6B, incl. $845M on Broadway, with an audience of 130M in 145 cities in 27 countries by 2011, not passed until "The Lion King" in 2014.
In 1987 Stephen Mallatratt (1947-2004) debuts his 2-person play The Woman in Black ("a Christmas ghost story") at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, followed by the Lyric Theatre, West End, Londo in Jan. 1989, the Strand Theatre in West End, London in Feb. 1989, The Playhouse, in West End in London (Apr. 1989, and the Fortune Theatre in West End, London in Aug. 1989; based on the 1983 book by Susan Hill; dir. by Robin Herford; stars Charles Kay as Arthur Kipps, and John Duttine as The Actor; becomes the 2nd longest running non-musical in West End history after "The Mousetrap" (1952).
On Sept. 20, 1989 Claude-Michel Schonberg (1944-), Alain Boublil (1941-), and Richard Maltby Jr. (1937-) debut their musical Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London, moving to the Broadway Theatre in New York on Apr. 11, 1991 (4,092 perf.); basaed on Giacomo Puccini's opera "Madame Butterfly", about a doomed romance between a U.S. G.I. and a Vietnamese bargirl.
On Oct. 12, 1989 Alan Janes (1951-) debuts his musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story at the Victoria Palace Theatre in West End, London (5,822 perf.); the music of Buddy Holly; first "jukebox musical".
In summer 1991 Luke Creswell (1963-), John McAuley, and Steve McNicholas (1955-) debut their percussion group show Stomp at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London, followed by the Sadler's Wells Theatre in London in Jan. 1994, the Orpheum Theatre in New York in Feb. 1994, and the Ambassadors Theatre in West End, London on Sept. 27, 2007 (6K+ perf.); a physical performance using rhythms, acrobatics, and pantonime.
In 1991 British theatrical producer Sir Cameron Anthony Mackintosh (1946-) ("Les Miserables", "The Phantom of the Opera", "Oliver!", "Mary Poppins, "Cats", and "Miss Saigon") founds the Delfont Mackintosh Theatres, incl. the Gielgud Theatre, Noel Coward Theatre, Novello Theatre, Prince Edward Theatre, Prince of Wales Theatre, Queen's Theatre, Victoria Palace Theatre, and Wyndham's Theatre, with HQ in London.
On July 8, 1997 Tim Rice (1944-), Roger Allers (1949-), Irene Mecchi, and Elton John (1947-) debut their musical The Lion King at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, Minn., which moves on Oct. 15 to the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York, the Lyceum Theatre in West End, London on Oct. 19, 1999, and the Minskoff Theatre in New York on June 13, 2006 (8,074 perf.); based on the 1994 Walt Disney animated film, with mandrill Rafiki changed from male to female, played by Tsidii Le Loka; features the songs "Circle of Life", "Hakuna Matata", "Rafiki Mourns".
On Apr. 6, 1999 Catherine Johnson (1957-), Goran Bror Benny Andersson (1946-), and Bjorn Kristian Ulvaeus (1945-) debut their musical Mamma Mia! at the Prince Edward Theatre in West End, London, moving on Apr. 6 to the Prince of Wales Theatre in West End, London before opening on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York on Oct. 18, 2001 and the Delfont Mackintosh Theatres in London on Sept. 6, 2012 for 5,773 perf. by Sept. 12, 2015; named after the 1975 ABBA hit song, and filled with ABBA hits incl. "Dancing Queen", "Knowing Me, Knowing You", "Lay All Your Love on Me", "Money, Money, Money", "SOS", "Take a Chance on Me", "Thank You for the Music", "Voulez-Vous", "The Winner Takes All"; filmed in 2008.
On Apr. 16, 2002 Richard M. Sherman (1928-), Richard B. Sherman (1925-2012), and Jeremy Sams (1957-) debut their musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium in West End, London, followed by the Lyric Theatre in New York on Apr. 28, 2005 (285 perf.); based on the 1968 film; dir. by Adrian Noble; choreography by Gillian Lynne; the West End production features the £750K flying Chitty car, which becomes the world's most expensive stage prop (until ?), requiring the Palladium's revolving stage to be removed.
On May 14, 2002 Ben Elton (1959-) debuts his rock musical We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre in West End, London (4,659 perf.), featuring the music of Queen, becoming the longest running musical in West End history (until ?).
On May 28, 2003 Stephen Lawrence Schwarz (1948-) and Winnie Holzman (1954-) debut their musical Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco), moving to the Gershwin Theatre in New York on Oct. 30, and the Apollo Victoria Theatre in West End, London on Sept. 27, 2006; based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West"; Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West (Idina Menzel), Galinda (Glinda), the Good Witch (Kristin Chenoweth), and the Wizard (Joel Grey); reaches 5.6K perf. in 2017.
On May 11, 2005 Elton John (1947-) and Lee Hall (1966-) debut their musical Billy Elliot the Music at the Victoria Palace Theatre in West End, London (4,566 perf.), followed by the Imperial Theatre in New York on Oct. 1, 2008, based on the 2000 film about a boxer who becomes a ballet dancer during the U.K. miner's strike of 1984-5 in County Durham, NE England.
On June 17, 2005 Patrick Barlow (1947-) debuts his 4-actor play The 39 Steps at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, followed by the Tricycle Theatre in London on Aug. 10, 2006, the Criterion Theatre in West End, London on Sept. 14, 2006 (3,731 perf.), the Am. Airlines Theatre in New York on Jan. 15, 2008, the Cort Theatre in New York on Apr. 29, 2008, and the Helen Hayes Theatre in New York on Jan. 21, 2009; based on the 1915 John Buchan novel and the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film.
On Nov. 6, 2005 Bob Gaudio (1942-), Bob Crewe (1930-2014), Marshall Brickman (1939-), and Rick Elice (1956-) debut their musical The Jersey Boys at the August Wilson Theater in New York (4,642 perf.), followed by the Prince Edward Theatre in West End, London in Feb. 2008, and the Piccadilly Theatre in West End, London on Mar. 15, 2014 (3,657 perf.); the story of Frankie Valli (1934-) and the Four Seasons.
On Jan. 21, 2009 Adrian Grant debuts his musical revue Thriller Live at the Lyric Theatre in West End, London (3.3K+ perf.), with six actors playing singer Michael Jackson.
On Mar. 10, 2009 Stephan Elliott (1964-) and Allan Scott (1940-) debut their musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre in West End, London, based on the 1994 film about two drag queens and a transgender women who contract to perform a drag show at a resort in Alice Springs; stars Jason Donovan as Mitzi/Tick, Tony Sheldon as Bernadette, and Oliver Thornton as Adam/Felicia; on Mar. 20, 2011 it opens at the Palace Theatre in New York, starring Will Swenson as Mitzi/Tick, Tony Sheldon as Bernadette, and Nick Adams as Adam/Felicia.
On Nov. 24, 2011 Tim Minchin (1975-) and Dennis Kelly (1969-) debut their musical Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre in West End, London, followed by the Shubert Theatre in New York on Apr. 11, 2013, based on the 1988 Roald Dahl children's novel about a 5-y.-o. girl with telekinesis.
On Aug. 2, 2012 Simon Stephens (1971-) and Mark Haddon (1962-) debut their play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Royal Nat. Theatre in London, followed by the Apollo Theatre in West End, London on Mar. 12, 2013, and the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York on Oct. 5, 2014; austistic Christopher John Francis Boone investigates the death of a neighbor's dog with the help of mentor Siobhan.
On Apr. 14, 2013 Berry Gordy (1929-) debuts his musical Motown: The Musical at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York (738 perf.), followed by the Shaftesbury Theatre in West End, London on Feb. 11, 2016; based on Gordy's 1994 autobio. "To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown"; features 66 songs; "The beat of a generation. The soul of a nation."
On June 25, 2013 Marc Shaiman (1959-), Scott Wittman (1954-), and David Greig (1969-) debut their musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, West End, London) (June 25) (1,293 perf.) (Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York) (Apr. 23, 2017); the West End production stars Douglas Hodge/Alex Jennings as Willy Wonka.
On Oct. 8, 2013 Douglas McGrath (1958-) debuts his jukebox musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, moving to the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in New York on Jan. 12, 2014, and the Aldwych Theatre in West End, London on Feb. 10, 2015, telling the life story of singer Carole King; the Broadway production stars Jessie Muller as King, Jake Epstein as Gerry Goffin, Anika Larsen as Cynthia Weil, and Jarrod Spector as Barry Man; the West End production stars Katie Brayben/Cassidy Janson as King, Alan Morrissey as Gerry Goffin, Lorna Want as Cynthia Weil, and Ian McIntosh as Barry Mann.
On Mar. 30, 2014 Alan Menken (1949-), Chad Beguelin (1969-), Howard Ashman (1950-91), and Tim Rice (1944-) debut their musical Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York, followed by the Delfont Mackintosh Theatres in West End, London on June 15, 2016; based on the 1992 Disney animated film.
On Sept. 14, 2014 Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields debut their comedy The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre in West End, London, moving to the Lyceum Theatre in New York on Mar. 9, 2017, about a production that's plagued with disasters.