TLW's Broadwayscope™ (Broadway Historyscope)
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: Aug. 5, 2015. Last Update: Apr. 23, 2017.
Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to Broadway 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.
The Broadway Theater District along Broadway in Manhattan, N.Y. currently consists of 40 500+-seat theaters, which in 2014 sold $1.36B in tickets to 13.13M buyers; most Broadway shows are musicals; there have been 116 Broadway shows with 1K or more performances.
In 1642 Dutch explorer Capt. David Pieterszoon de Vries (1593-1655) makes the first written mention of Broadway (Dutch "Brede weg") in Manhattan, N.Y., originally called the Wickquasgeck ("birch bark country") Trail by the natives.
About 1750 the first Broadway theater is founded on Nassau St. in Manhattan by actor-mgrs. Walter Murray and Thomas Kean, performing Shakespeare plays and ballad operas incl. "The Beggar's Opera" (1728). Meanwhile prudish Puritan Boston, Mass. passes the Puritans' Act of 1750, prohibiting theatrical performances, causing it to lag far behind New York City, Charleston, Providence, and Philly; on Sept. 29, 1769 a brave soul gives a public reading of "The Beggar's Opera", calling it a "moral lecture"; the act is abolished in 1799 after the Board Alley opens in 1792 and takes all the heat.
In 1752 after his competitor Drury Lane Theatre, run by David Garrick puts him out of biz, English theater mgr. William Hallam (1712-58) sends 12 actors under the dir. of his brother Lewis Hallam (1714-56) to Williamsburg, Va., touring from the Carolinas to New England and introducing Garrick's acting style; in 1754 Lewis Hallam builds a theater in Manhattan, N.Y. on Nassau St., touring all 13 colonies.
On Apr. 19, 1775 the Am. Rev. War begins, ending on May 12, 1784 after 8 years 4 mo. and 15 days, during which time the theaters in New York City are shut down.
In Jan. 1798 the 2K-seat Park (New) Theatre opens at 21-25 Chatham St. (later called Park Row) in Manhattan, N.Y., bringing theater back to Broadway, enjoy a monopoly but failing to make enough profit, causing it to be sold in 1805 to Stephen Price and Edmund Simpson (1784-1848), who create a star system with imported English talent, concentrating on English drama and Italian opera and gaining an upper-class audience until competition from the Chatham Garden and Bowery in the 1820s cause it to switch to Blackface acts and melodrama; it is demolished on Dec. 16, 1848 after a fire.
In 1823 Niblo's Garden on Broadway near Prince St. in Manhattan, N.Y. is founded as Columbia Garden, acquired in 1828 by Irish-born coffeehouse owner William Niblo (1790-1878), who turns it into the San Souci theater, and Niblo's Theater in 1834, going on to host P.T. Barnum's first exhibition 1835 and form a vaudeville co. in summer 1837; after being destroyed by a fire on Sept. 18, 1846 and reopened in summer 1849 with 3.2K cap. ($2/seat), it begins producing Italian opera, becoming the best-equipped and most fashionable theater in New York City; it is destroyed by fire in 1872 and rebuilt by dept. store magnate A.T. Stewart; the final performance is given on Mar. 23, 1895.
On Sept. 27, 1847 the (Old) Broadway Theatre at 326-330 Broadway and 98 Anthony (Worth) Street in Manhattan, N.Y. (cap. 4.5K) opens, modeled on the Haymarket Theatre in London, becoming the largest theater so far in New York City, closing on Apr. 2, 1859 with a production of Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra".
In 1850 the Winter Garden Theatre (originally Tripler's Hall) in New York City at 667 Broadway opens as a venue for Swedish Nightingale Jenny Lind; too bad, when she arrives it isn't finished, causing her to appear at Castle Garden instead; in Dec. 1850 thousands of Freemasons meet there; in Feb. 1842 a memorial service for novelist James Fenimore cooper is held there, presided over by Daniel Webster, with eulogies by Washington Irving and William Cullen Bryant; in 1854 it is rebuilt as the New York Theatre; on May 15, 1855 it is renamed Metropolitan Hall, followed on Dec. 27, 1855 by Laura Keene's Varieties; too bad, the Panic of 1857 causes it to close; in 1859 it is remodeled by Dublin, Ireland-born impresario Dion Boucicault (Dionysius Lardner Boursiquot) (1820-90), who renames it Winter Garden Theatre; on Nov. 25, 1864 Junius Brutus Booth, Junius Brutush Booth Jr., Edwin Booth, and John Wilkes Booth stage a benefit performance of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" to raise funds for a statue of Shakespeare in Central Park, after which on Apr. 14 (Good Fri.), 1865 John Wilkes Booth asassinates Lincoln at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. while viewing a performance of "Our American Cousin", crying out the words of Brutus "Sic semper tyrannis".
In 1865 Madison Square Theatre (AKA Fifth Ave. Theatre) at Broadway and West 24th St. between Sixth Ave. and Broadway near the Fifth Ave. intersection in Manhattan, N.Y. (cap. 1K) opens, staging Divorce by Augustin Daly in 1871 for 200 perf., going on to pioneer advances in stage technology, theater design, and tour mgt.; it is demolished in 1908.
On Sept. 12, 1866 Charles M. Barras', Theodore Kennick's, and Thomas Baker's The Black Crook debuts at 3.2K-seat Niblo's Garden (474 perf.), becoming the first Broadway musical; set in 1600 in the Harz Mts. of Germany, it's about evil Count Wolfenstein, who woos village girl Amina from her fiance Rodolph by having his servant Hertzog make a pact with the Devil, only to be saved by Fairy Queen Stalacta; The Black Domino/Between You, Me and the Post debuts in 1866, becoming the first Broadway musical comedy.
On Feb. 3, 1869 the spectacular modern Booth's Theatre at the corner of 23rd St. and Sixth Ave. in Manhattan, N.Y. opens, built by Bel Air, Md.-born Shakespearean actor Edwin Thomas Booth (1833-93) (brother of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth), featuring a large statue of his Shakeseparean actor father Junius Brutus Booth by sculptor Thomas Ridgeway Gould, and the fist stage lights that can be completely extinguished during a performance; too bad, the public's taste is too low for Shakespeare, and it goes bankrupt, and is sold in Dec. 1881, becoming McCreery & Co. Dept. Store (until 1965).
In 1875 the Manhattan Theatre (originally the Eagle Variety Theatre, then the Standard Theatre in 1878-98) at 102 West 33rd St at Sixth Ave. and 33rd St. across from Greeley Square (cap. 1.1K) opens, becoming the home of authorized U.S. debuts of many Gilbert & Sullivan operas, featuring actors Fred Billington, Marie Fedor, Minnie Maddern Fiske, Courtice Pounds, Emily Stevens, Tyron Power St., George Thorne, and Geraldine Ulmar; on Oct. 10, 1881 it debuts Gilbert & Sullivan's comic opera Patience (177 perf.), making $100K in 1907 it switches to movies, becoming the first New York City theater to show movies as the main attraction, adding several vaudeville acts to justify the 10 cent admission price; in 1909 it is demolished to make way for the Gimbels dept. store.
On Nov. 17, 1879 San Francisco, Calif.-born playwright David Belasco (1853-1931) debuts his play Hearts of Oak (co-written by James A. Herne), based on the British play "The Mariner's Compass" by Henry Leslie (1830-81), becoming a hit and making him a fortune; in 1884 after moving to New York City in 1882 and working as a stage mgr. at the Madison Square Theatre and Lyceum Theatre, Belasco begins his producing career, producing, directing, or writing 100+ Broadway plays while discovering and promoting dozens of stage performers incl. Leslie Carter, Maude Adams, Jeanna Eagels, Lenore Ulric, David Warfield, and Barbara Stanwyck; Cecil B. DeMille begins his stage career with Belasco; Belasco goes on to pioneer modern stage lighting incl. colored lights concealed below floor level, tracking spotlights, motorized color wheels, sometimes injecting scents into the ventilators to set the mood.
In the early 20th cent. 10 theaters on a single block make 42nd Street in Manhattan, N.Y. internationally famous for its playhouses, starting in 1881 with Wallack's Theatre at 30th St. and Broadway.
In 1883 the Metropolitan Opera House moves to West 39th St. and Broadway, ramping up the Manhattan Theater District, bounded by West 40th St., West 54th St., Sixth Ave., and Eight Ave., incl. Times Square; the section of Broadway that runs through it between 42nd and 53rd Streets is called the Great White Way, gaining its name from its Brush arc lamps; the term is first used by Shep Friedman in the New York Morning Telegraph in 1901.
In 1883 the Herald Square Theatre at 1331 Broadway in Manhattan, N.Y. (cap. 1,150) opens; in 1900 it becomes the first Broadway theater owned by the Shubert family; in 1911 after a fire it becomes the first New York theater to be converted into a silent movie theater, and is closed in 1914 after the Garment District expands into the neighborhood and the Broadway theater district moves N of 40th Street.
In 1889 wealthy Stettin, Prussia-born Jewish cigar manufacturer Oscar Hammerstein I (184-1919) builds his first theater, the Harlem Opera House at 211 West 125th St. in Harlem, Manhattan, N.Y., becoming the first theater in Manhattan, followed in 1890 by Columbus Theatre on 125th St., in 1893 by the Manhattan Opera House on 34th St., and on Nov. 25, 1895 by the Olympia Theatre at 1514-16 Broadway in Longacre (later Times) Square, which debuts his comic opera Santa Maria before failing, followed in 1899 by the Victoria Theatre at 42nd Street and Seventh Ave., which goes vaudeville in 1904 under the mgt. of his son William "Willie" Hammerstein (1875-1914) (father of Oscar Hammerstein II) before failing in 1915, along with the Paradise Roof Garden atop the Victoria Theatre and Theatre Republic; he follows on Sept. 27, 1900 with the Theatre Republic at 209 West 42nd Street (between 7th and 8th Aves.), which he leases in 1902 to producer David Belasco, who renames it the Belasco Theatre, then changes it in 1910 to the Republic Theater; in 1931 Bill Minsky acquires it and turns it into Minsky's Burlesque, featuring stripper Gypsy Rse Lee; in 1942 it becomes the Victory Movie Theater; in 1972 it becomes the first 42nd St. theater to show XXX porno films; in 1990 New 42nd Street Inc., owned by New York City and the state of N.Y. for redevelopment of seven aging theaters between 7th and 8th Aves. takes it over and restores it, and on Dec. 11, 1995 rename it the New Victory Theater, the area's first theater for families and children, and the oldest operating theater in New York City; he follows on Dec. 5, 1904 with the Lews Fields Theatre at 254 West 42nd Street, and in 1906 by his 2nd Manhattan Opera House at 311 West 34th Street to compete with the Metropolitan Opera, followed in 1908 by the Philadelphia Opera House in Philly.
In 1890 the Garrick Theatre (Harrigan's Theatre until 1895) at 67 West 35th St. in Manhattan, N.Y. (cap. 910) opens, producing the comedy Enter Madame on Aug. 16, 1920 (350 perf.); in 1896-1915 Charles Frohman manages it; in 1916 it is acquired by the Shuberts, who lease it to Otto Kahn, who gives it to the Theatre Guild, producing Saint Joan on Dec. 28, 1923, starring Winifed Lenihan, followed by They Knew What They Wanted (Nov. 24, 1924) (192 perf.); in 1925 the Shuberts resume mgt., and after descending to burlesque it closes in 1929.
On Jan. 25, 1893 Boston, Mass.-born blonde-blue actress Ida Conquest (1876-1937) makes her stage debut as First Girl Friend in The Harvest at Miner's Theater on Fifth Ave. in Manhattan, N.Y., going on to become a top Broadway star; her final Broadway appearance is in Henrik Ibsen's "Little Eyolf" (1910) at the Nazimova 39th Street Theatre.
On Jan. 25, 1893 Charles Frohman (1856-1915) and Raphael "Al" Hayman (1847-1917) open the Empire Theatre in New York City across from the Metropolitan Opera House near 40th St., going on to become the #1 New York City playhouse until the 1940s; demolished in 1952; David Belasco's "The Girl I Left Behind Me" is the first production.
In 1896 theatrical mgrs. and booking agents Charles Frohman (1856-1915), Al Hayman (1847-1917), Abraham Lincoln "Abe" Erlanger (1859-1930), Marcus "Marc" Klaw (1858-1936), Samuel Frederic Nixon-Nirdlinger (1848-1918), and Fred Zimmermann of Philly form the Theatrical Syndicate in New York City, which goes on to gain a monopoly over the entire U.S. (until 1910); about this time Woodlawn Cemetery (founded in 1863) in Bronx, N.Y. becomes the cemetery of choice for Jewish, er, theater people, incl. Oscar Hammerstein I, Ida Conquest, Vernon and Irene Castle, Irving Berlin, George M. Cohan, and Antoinette Perry, musicians incl. Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, W.C. Handy, and Max Roach, and writers incl. Joseph Pulitzer, Damon Runyon, Countee Cullen, and Herman Melville.
On Mar. 5, 1900 David Belasco (1853-1931) debuts his play Madame Butterfly at the Herald Square Theatre in New York, based on the 1898 short story by John Luther Long (1861-1927), set in Nagasaki; U.S. Navy Lt. B.F. Pinkerton of the USS Abraham Lincoln marries 15-y.-o. geisha Cio-Cio San (Madame Butterfly) (played by Blanche Bates, followed by Valerie Bergere, and Clara Blandick), then leaves for the states, promising to return "when the robins nest again", but after three years, during which time she has borne his half-breed son, she learns that he has married a white woman, after which she gives her boy a small U.S. flag and a doll, then commits hara-kiri, uttering the soundbyte "To die with honor, when you can no longer live with honor"; incl. "Un Bel Di" (One Fine Day).
In Mar. 1900 the Shubert Org. (Family), founded by brothers Samuel S. "Sam" Shubert (1878-1905), Levi "Lee" Shubert (1875-1953), and Jacob J. Shubert (1879-1963) of Syracuse, N.Y. moves into New York City, leasing the Herald Square Theatre at the corner of Broadway and 35th Street in Manhattan, putting on shows in rented circus tents to get around the monopolistic Theatrical Syndicate (founded 1886) of Abe Erlanger and Marc Klaw; in 1910 they form the Independent Nat. Theatre Owner's Assoc. to break their monopoly, and finish breaking them in 1922, developing Broadway as the #1 theater district while controlling 1K theaters nationwide, becoming the largest theater empire of the 20th cent., incl. the Winter Garden Theatre and Shubert Theatre.
On Feb. 18, 1903 Will Marion Cook (1869-1944), Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906), and Jesse Allison Shipp Sr. (1864-1934) debut In Dahomey: A Musical Comedy in New York Theater in New York City for 53 perf., becoming the first full-length musical written and played by blacks to be performed at a major Broadway house; two Boston con men devise a plan to colonize you know what; ends with a spectacular cakewalk.
On Oct. 12, 1903 the Lyric Theatre (cap. 1.3K) at 213 West 42nd St. and 214-26 West 43rd St. (complete with two formal entrances) opens with Richard Mansfield's production of Old Heidelberg, going on to produce several Shakespeare plays; in 1906 Sarah Bernhardt appears there; in 1918 it produces Sigmund Romberg's 1917 musical Maytime; on Dec. 8, 1925 the Marx Brothers' musical The Cocoanuts, with books by George S. Kaufman and lyrics by Irving Berlin debuts there (276 perf.) (filmed in 1929); on Feb. 2, 1927 Florenz Ziegfeld debuts his musical Rio Rita (494 perf.),followed on Mar. 13, 1928 by The Three Musketeers (318 perf.); on Nov. 27, 1929 Cole Porter's musical Fifty Million Frenchmen debuts there (254 perf.); in 1934 it is converted into a movie theater; in 1992 it closes, and in 1996 it is combined with the former Apollo Theatre to become the Ford Center, later the Lyric Theatre.
On Sept. 21, 1906 the Astor Theatre at 1537 Broadway at West 45th St. in Times Square, New York City opens with Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night Dream"; in 1925 Loew's Theatres acquires it and turns it into a first-run movie theater for MGM, debuting with "The Big Parade" (96 weeks); it closes in 1972.
On Sept. 6, 1909 the Comedy Theatre at 110 West 41st St. in Manhattan, N.Y. (cap. 687) opens with The Melting Pot, becoming the place where Katharine Cornell and Ruth Draper make their debuts; in 1927 Eugene O'Neill's In the Zone debuts, becoming his first Broadway play; in 1937 it reopens as the Mercury Theatre, debuting Orson Well's adaptation of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", in which he plays Brutus; on Oct. 31, 1938 reporters hound Welles during an all-night rehearsal of Georg Buechner's Danton's Death the day after his infamous The War of the Worlds radio broadcast there; in 1939 it switches to classic Yiddish theater; in 1942 it is demolished.
On Jan. 10, 1910 the Globe Theatre at 205 West 46th St. in Manhattan, N.Y. (cap. 1,509) opens with a production of the musical "The Old Town", featuring a rollback ceiling and seats individually cooled by ice and heated by hot air vents; in 1930s it becomes a movie theater; in 1957 it is acquired by Playhouses, Inc., which renames it the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, reopening on May 5, 1958 with Friedrich Durrenmatt's The Visit, starring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.
On Mar. 10, 1911 the Winter Garden Theatre at 1634 Broadway in Manhattan, N.Y. between 50th and 51st Sts. (cap. 1,526) (built in 1896 as the Am. Horse Exchange), founded by the Shubert brothers opens with the Jerome Kern musical La Belle Paree, launching the career of Al Jolson.
On Apr. 27, 1911 the Fulton Theatre (originally the Folies-Bergere until Oct. 20) at 210 West 46th Street in Manhattan, N.Y. opens; on Sept. 22, 1911 Mae West makes her Broadway debut, and is discovered by The New York Times; in 1955 it is renamed the Helen Hayes Theatre; it is demolished in 1982, and the Little Theatre at 240 West 44th Street (opened Mar. 12, 1912) is renamed in Hayes' honor.
On Aug. 12, 1912 the 48th Street Theatre at 157 West 48th Street in Manhattan, N.Y. opens, debuting the play "Just Like John" by George Broadhurst; on Apr. 18, 1926 it stages the prof. debut of Martha Graham; it goes on host "The Squall" by Jean Bart (Nov. 11, 1926), "Puppy Love" starring Spring Byington (1926), "The Pagan Lady" starring Leonore Ulric (1930), and "Unexpected Husband" starring Josephine Hull (1931); in 1937 it is acquired by Sam H. Grisman, who renames it the Windsor Theatre, hosting plays for the Internat. Ladies' Garment Workers' Union; on Sept. 1, 1943 it reverts to its original name, going on to host the play "Harvey" by Mary Coyle Chase on Nov. 1, 1944; too bad, on Aug. 23, 1955 a rooftop water tank falls through the roof, spilling 10K gal. of water and causing the bldg. to be demolished.
In 1912 the 44th Street Theatre (originally Weber and Fields' Music Hall until 1915) at 216 West 44th St. opens; in 1918 the Roof Garen becomes the Nora Bayes Theatre; in the 1935-9 it presented shows by the Federal Theatre Project, sponsored by the Works Progress Admin.; in 1942 the basement becomes the Stage Door Canteen; in June 1945 it is demolished.
On Mar. 24, 1913 the Palace Theatre at 1564 Broadway (at West 47th St.) in New York City (cap. 1,743) opens, becoming the home of vaudeville and the #1 booking stage in the U.S. until 1929 after tyrannical owner Edward Franklin Albee II (1857-1930) teams with Joseph P. Kennedy to found the Keith-Albee Orpheum Corp. on Jan. 28, 1928, which is acquired in May by RCA and turned into RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) Pictures, turning their vaudeville circuit into a movie theater chain.
On Oct. 2, 1913 the Shubert Theatre at 225 West 44th Street in Manhattan, N.Y. next to the Booth Theatre (connected by the private Shubert Alley) (cap. 1,460) opens with Shakespeare's "Hamlet" starring Sir John Forbes-Robertson, followed on Oct. 21 by George Bernard Shaw's "Caesar and Cleopatra", going on to host many Tony Awards; the top floors house the offices of the Shubert Org; in 1975-90 it hosts "A Chorus Line" for a record 6,137 perf.
In 1914 the Washington Square Players are formed in Manhattan, N.Y., moving into the Comedy Theatre in 1915; in 1918 after producing Elmer Rice's play The Home of the Free, they disband and form the Theatre Guild in New York City to produce non-commercial works by Am. and foreign playwrights, helping contribute to the success of Broadway in the 1920s-1970, producing 228 plays by 1996 incl. 18 by George Bernard Shaw, and seven by Eugene O'Neill, and introducing Maxwell Anderson, Philip Barry, Sidney Hoard, William Saroyan, and Robert E. Sherwood; Pres. JFK engages it to assemble a co. headed by Helen Hayes to tour the capitals of Europe and South Am. with a repertoire incl. William Gibson, Thornton Wilder, and Tennessee Williams; the last play produced is "State Fair" in 1996.
In 1915 the Neighborhood Playhouse (demolished 1927) is founded in a Jewish ghetto on Grand St. near its intersection with E. Broadway in New York City, launching the Little Theater Movement; the playhouse closes in 1927, then reopens in 1928 as the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre at 340 East 54th St.
On Feb. 5, 1917 the Morosco Theatre at 217 West 45th Street in Manhattan, N.Y. (cap. 955) opens, built by the Shuberts in gratitude to Oliver Morosco (Oliver Mitchell) (1875-1945) for helping them break the Theatrical Syndicate, starting with the musical "Canary Cottage" by Morosco and Earl Carroll; it is demolished in 1982 despite a massive Save the Theatres protest movement led by Joseph Papp.
On Oct. 24, 1919 the Capitol Theatre at 1645 Broadway in Manhattan, N.Y. N of Times Square across from the Winter Garden Theatre (cap. 4K) opens; in 1924 it becomes the flagship of the Loews Theatres chain, and their premiere site for MGM films; In Nov. 22 it debuts The Capitol Theatre Family Show, which is broadcast on the NBC Blue Network on Mar. 7, 1927-July 27, 1931; in 1926-9 Capitol Theatre features light classical concerts led by Russian-born violinist Leo Zeitlin (1884-1930); in 1964 it is converted for Cinerama wide screen films; on Sept. 16, 1968 after debuting the 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey" it closes with an all-star benefit featuring Bob Hope and Johnny Carson.
On Sept. 30, 1920 the Times Square Theatre at 217 West 42nd St. in Manhattan, N.Y. E of the Lyric Theatre (cap. 1,032) opens, with Florence Reed starring in "The Mirage"; on Nov. 17 the Apollo Theatre at 223 West 42nd St. in Manhattan opens, sharing its facade with the Times Square Theatre, debuting the Ira and George Gershwin musical Strike Up the Band on Jan. 14 (191 perf.), and George White's Scandals before turning into a movie theater until the late 1970s; in 1990 the New 42nd Street org. merges it into the new Ford Center, later called the Lyric Theatre.
In 1920 after dropping out of law school, New York City-born librettist Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein II (1895-1960) (grandson of New York City impresario Oscar Hammerstein I) debuts his first musical Always You on Broadway, going on to become a producer and co-write 850 songs in collaboration with Jerome Kern, Vincent Youmans, Rudolf Friml, Richard A. Whiting, Sigmund Romberg, and Richard Rodgers in musicals incl. "Oklahoma!", "Carousel", "South Pacific", "The King and I", and "The Sound of Music".
On May 23, 1921 Baltimore, Md.-born pianist-composer James Hubert "Eubie" Blake (1887-1983) and Indianapolis, Ind.-born jazz composer-playwright Noble Sissle (1889-1975) debut their jazz musical Shuffle Along on Broadway at Daly's 63rd St. Theatre, dir. by Walter Brooks, running for 484 perf. (until July 15, 1922), becoming the first major Broadway production in over a decade written, produced, and performed entirely by African-Ams., and the first black love story, with blacks not restricted to balcony seats; makes stars of Josephine Baker, Adelaide Hall (as Jazz Jasmine), Florence Mills (as Ruth Little), Fredi Washington, Roger Matthews (as Harry Walton), and Paul Robeson, causing "curtain time traffic jams" on 63rd St; about corrupt politicians Sam and Steve, who run for mayor in Jimtown and agree to appoint the loser as chief of police, until virtuous Harry Walton wins the next election and runs them out of town; makes the observation that the lighter an African-Am. woman's skin is, the more desirable she is; features I'm Just Wild About Harry (adopted by Harry Truman for his pres. campaign theme), Love Will Find a Way. (In) Honeysuckle Time, Shuffle Along Overture, If You Haven't Been Vamped by a Brownskin, You Haven't Been Vamped at All, I'm Simply Full of Jazz, and Bandana Days; after leaving New York City it becomes the first black musical to play in white theaters across the U.S., while opening up Broadway to black actors, although only plots portraying blacks as half-civilized become acceptable.
On Dec. 25, 1923 the Imperial Theatre at 249 W. 45th St. in Manhattan, N.Y. (cap. 1,417) opens with the musical "Mary Jane McKane" by Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960) and Vincent Youmans (1898-1946).
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, London (665 perf.), becoming the biggest Broadway hit of the 1920s; stars Binnie Hale (1899-1984) as Atlantic City-loving Nanette, and George Grossmith Jr. (1874-1935) as her guardian, Bible publishing millionaire Jimmy Smith; features the songs No, No, Nanette, and Tea for Two; filmed in 1930 and 1940; revived in 1971.
On Oct. 26, 1925 Irving Berlin (1888-1989), George S. Kaufman (1889-1961), and Morrie Ryskind (1895-1985) debut their musical The Cocoanuts at the Lyric Theatre in New York (276 perf.), starring the Marx Brothers and Margaret Dumont, about a hotel in Cocoanut Beach, Fla. during the 1920s Fla. Land Boom; filmed in 1929.
On Feb. 2, 1927 the Ziegfeld Theatre at 1341 Sixth Ave. in Manhattan, N.Y. (cap. 1,638) opens, built by Broadway impresario Florenz Edward "Flo" Ziegfeld Jr. (1867-1932) with financial backing from William Randolph Hearst, and designed by Joseph Urban (1872-1933) and Thomas White Lamb (1871-1942); it opens with the musical Rio Rita by Guy Bolton, Fred Thompson, Harry Tierney, and Joseph McCarthy, followed on Dec. 27 by Jerome Kern's musical Show Boat (572 perf.); in 1933 it becomes a movie theater; in 1944 it is purchased by showman Billy Rose; in 1955-63 is is leased by NBC-TV for a TV studio, hosting The Perry Como Show; in 1963 it reopens as a Broadway theater, hosting the musical Anya by George Abbott, Guy Bolton, Robert Wright, and George Forrest on Nov. 29, 1965 for 16 perf. before it is torn down to make way for a skyscraper.
On Feb. 24, 1927 the Theatre Masque (Masque Theater) at 252 West 45th Stree in Manhattan, N.Y. (cap. 800) opens with the play "Puppets of Passion"; in 1937 impresario John Golden acquires it and renames it for himself; the exterior is used for a background shot for the 1950 film "All About Eve" and for a location shot for the 1985 film "A Chorus Line".
On Mar. 28, 1927 the Majestic Theatre at 245 West 44th St. in Manhattan, N.Y. (cap. 1,645) opens, becomng one of Broadway's top venues, hosting "Carousel" (1945), "South Pacific" (1949), "The Music Man" (1957), "Camelot" (1960), "A Little Night Music" (1973), "The Wiz" (1975), and "The Phantom of the Opera" (1988) (longest-running Broadway production, 12K+ perf.).
In 1928 Chanin's 46th Street Theatre at 226 West 46th St. in Manhattan, N.Y. opens, becoming the first Broadway theater sans separate entrances for the expensive and cheap seats; in 1931 the Shuberts acquire it, followed in 1960 by Lester Osterman, and in 1978 by Stephen R. Friedman and Irwin Meyer; in 1990 the Nederlander Org. acquires it and changes the name to Richard Rodgers Theatre; it goes on to house the greatest number of Tony Award-winning best plays and musiicals (11) on Broadway incl. "Guys and Dolls" (1950), "Damn Yankees" (1955), "Redhead" (1959), "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (1961), "1776" (1970), "Raisin" (19), "Nine" (1982), "Fences" (1987), "Lost in Yonkers" (1991), "Chicago" (1996), "In the Heights" (1008), "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" (2011), and "Hamilton" (2015).
On Nov. 27, 1929 (1 mo. after the Oct. 29 Wall Street Crash) Cole Porter (1891-1964) and Herbert Fields (1897-1958) debut their musical comedy Fifty Million Frenchmen at the Lyric Theatre in New York (254 perf.); dir. by Monty Woolley; scenic design by Norman Bel Geddes; stars William Gaxton as Peter Forbes, Genevieve Tobin as Looloo Carroll, Betty Compton as Joyce Wheeler, and Lester Crawford as Billy Baxter; filmed in 1931; title taken from the 1927 song "Fifty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong" by Willie Raskin, Billy Rose, and Fred Fisher.
On Dec. 4, 1933 John Kirkland (1903-69) debuts his play Tobacco Road at the Theatre Masque in New York (3,182 perf.), based on the 1932 Erskine Caldwell novel about the Lester family in Jawjaw, 30 mi. from Augusta; Ky.-born Henry Hull (Vaughan) (1890-1977) stars as Jeeter Lester.
On Sept. 10, 1938 Ole Olsen (1892-1963), Chic Johnson (1891-1962), Sammy Fain (1902-89), and Charles Tobias (1898-1970) debut their music revue Hellzapoppin at the Shubert Theatre in Boston, moving to the 46th Street Theatre in New York on Sept. 22, the Winter Garden Theatre in New York on Nov. 26, and the Majestic Theatre in New York on Nov. 25, 1941 (1,404 perf.); big hit, with unpredictable onstage chaos, never the same way twice; filmed in 1941 as "Helzapoppin'".
On Nov. 8, 1939 Russel Crouse (1893-1966) and Howard Lindsay (1889-1968) debut their play Life With Father at the Empire Theatre in New York, moving to the Bijou Theatre in New York on Sept. 8, 1945, and the Alvin Theatre in New York on July 12, 1947 (3,224 perf.); based on the 1935 Clarence Day autobio. book; stars Howard Lindsay as Father (Clarence Day Sr.); a giant hit, becoming the longest-running non-musical play on Broadway (until ?); filmed in 1947.
On Jan. 10, 1941 Joseph Kesselring (1902-67) debuts his comedy Arsenic and Old Lace at the Fulton Theatre in New York, moving to the Hudson Theatre in New York on Sept. 25, 1943 (1,444 perf.); the mad Brewster family, descended from the Mayflower, incl. two spinster aunts Martha (Jean Adair) and Abby (Josephine Hull), who poison lonely old men with elderberry wine laced with arsenic, strychnine, and "just a pinch" of cyanide; Boris Karloff plays brother Jonathan Brewster, who had so much bad plastic surgery that he looks like you know who; Allyn Joslyn plays drama critic Mortimer Brewster; filmed in 1944 by Frank Capra starring Cary Grant.
On Mar. 31, 1943 Richard Rodgers (1902-79) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960) debut their musical Oklahoma! (Away We Go) at the St. James Theater, based on the 1931 play "Green Grow the Hollies" by Lynn Riggs, becoming their first musical play; choreography by Agnes de Mille; farm girl Laurey Williams (Joan Roberts), cowboy Curly McLain (Alfred Drake), and farmhand Jud Fry (Howard Da Silva) of Claremore; wins a special Pulitzer Prize in 1944; record 2,212 consecutive perf. (first show over 500), ending the lean years of the Great Depression and launching a Golden Age of Broadway; incl. People Will Say We're in Love, Surrey With the Fringe on Top, Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'.
On Nov. 1, 1944 Mary Coyle Chase (1906-81) debuts her play Harvey at the 48th Street Theatre in New York (1,775 perf.) (Pulitzer Prize); dir. by Antoinette Perry; stars Frank Fay (followed by Joe E. Brown, Jack Buchanan, and James Stewart) as 42-.y-.o. easygoing bar-loving bachelor Elwood P. Dowd, whose constant companion is invisible 6'4.5" white pooka rabbit Harvey; also stars Josephine Hull as his sister Veta Louise Simmons, who tries to get him committed and ends up getting committed instead.
On Dec. 26, 1944 Columbus, Miss.-born Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams III (1911-83) debuts his play The Glass Menagerie at the Civic Theatre in Chicago, followed by the Playhouse Theatre in New York on Mar. 31, 1945, and the Royale Theatre in New York on July 1, 1946; a 5-char. "memory play" about faded Southern belle Amanda Wingfield, her son Tom Wingfield, and his crippled sister Laura; makes Williams a star; filmed in 1950 and 1987; "Time is the longest distance between two places".
On May 16, 1946 Irving Berlin (1888-1989), Dorothy Fields (1905-74), and Herbert Fields (1897-1958) debut their musical Annie Get Your Gun in New York) (1,147 perf.), about Annie Oakley (1860-1926) and her mgr.-hubby Frank Butler (1847-1926); dir. by Joshua Logan; stars Ethel Merman as Annie, and Ray Middleton as Frank; features the songs There's No Business Like Show Business, Doin' What Comes Natur'lly, I'm an Indian, Too (later ommitted for being too insensitive to Indians), Moonshine Lullaby, You Can't Get a Man with a Gun", They Say It's Wonderful, and Anything You Can Do; filmed in 1950 starring Betty Hutton and Howard Keel.
On Dec. 3, 1947 Tennessee Williams (1911-83) debuts his play A Streetcar Named Desire at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York (Pulitzer Prize) (855 perf.), set in the French Quarter of New Orleans, La., starring Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski, Jessica Tandy as Blanche DuBois, Kim Hunter as Stella Kowalski, and Karl Malden as Mitch; "I have always depended upon the kindness of strangers" (Blanche); "This game is seven-card stud" (Steve).
On Feb. 18, 1948 Thomas Heggen (1918-49) and Joshua Logan (1908-88) debut their play Mister Roberts (Alvin Theatre, New York) (1,157 perf.), based on Heggen's 1946 novel, starring Henry Fonda as Lt. Doug Roberts aboard the USS Reluctant in the South Pacific in WWII; filmed in 1955; too bad, on May 19, 1949 after getting writer's block and going on alcohol and sleeping pills, Heggen drowns in his bathtub in New York City.
On Dec. 30, 1948 Cole Porter (1891-1964), Samuel Spewack (1899-1971), and Bella Spewack (1899-1990) debut their musical Kiss Me, Kate at the New Century Theatre in New York (1,077 perf.), becoming Porter's biggest hit; stars Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, Lisa Kirk, and Harold Lang; based on Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew", and inspired by the backstage bickering of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne during a Shakespeare play; choreography by German immigrant Hanya Holm (1893-1992), who goes on to choreograph "My Fair Lady" in 1956 and "Camelot" in 1960; filmed in 1953 starring Howard Keel, Kathryn Grayson, and Ann Miller; features the songs So In Love, Brush Up Your Shakespeare, Kiss Me, Kate, Another Op'nin' Another Show, We Open in Venice, Tom, Dick or Harry, I've Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua, Too Darn Hot, Always True to You in My Fashion.
On Feb. 10, 1949 Harlem, N.Y.-born playwright Arthur Asher Miller (1915-2005) debuts his drama Death of a Salesman (Pulitzer Prize) at the Morosco Theater in New York (742 perf.); 63-y.-o. has-been salesman William "Willy" Loman (Lee J. Cobb, Albert Dekker, Gene Lockhart)), his wife Linda (Mildred Dunnock), his sons Biff Loman (Arthur Kennedy) and Harold "Happy" Loman (Cameron Mitchell), his older brother Uncle Ben, his boss Howard Wagner, and wise-cracking neighbor Charley (Howard Smith); dir. by Elia Kazan; in Oct. 1953 sex bombshell Jayne Mansfield performs in a production of the play in Dallas, Tex., getting her discovered by Paramount Pictures; Happy follows in his deceased father's footsteps, and Biff doesn't; "... and there'll be noody home. We're free and clear, Willy. We're free... We're free"; filmed in 1951.
On Apr. 7, 1949 Richard Rodgers (1902-79), Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960) and Joshua Logan (1908-88) debut their musical South Pacific at the Majestic Theater in New York (1,925 perf.) (Pulitzer Prize); based on James A. Michener's "Tales of the South Pacific" (1948); wins 10 Tony Awards; stars Mary Martin as cock-eyed nurse Ensign Nellie Forbush, and Ezio Pinza as her beau planter Emile de Becque; explores racial prejudice; features the songs Bali Ha'i, Some Enchanted Evening, A Wonderful Guy, Happy Talk, There is Nothing Like a Dame, Younger Than Springtime, I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair.
On Feb. 15, 1950 Independence, Kan.-born William Motter Inge (1913-73) debuts his first play Come Back, Little Sheba at the Booth Theatre in New York (190 perf.); overweight middle-aged Lola (Shirley Booth) and her recovering alcoholic hubby Doc Delaney (Sidney Blackmer) are disrupted by lustful boarder and college art student Marie Buckholder (Joan Lorring); Lola loses her dog named guess what; filmed in 1952 starring Burt Lancaster as Doc, and Terry Moore as Marie.
On Mar. 29, 1951 Richard Rodgers (1902-79) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960) debut their musical The King and I at the St. James Theatre in New York) (1,246 perf.); based on the 1944 Margaret Landon book "Anna and the King of Siam", about Welsh widow Anna Leonowens and King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s; stars Gertude Lawrence (1898-1952) as Anna, who dies of cancer on Sept. 6, 1952, and Yuliy Borisovich "Yul" Brynner (Taidje Khan) (1920-85), who carries on with Marlene Dietrich offstage?; banned in Thailand; incl. the song Getting to Know You.
On Nov. 24, 1951 after writer Colette personally picks her for the part, Audrey Hepburn makes her stage debut in Gigi at the Fulton Theatre (219 perf.), adapted by Anita Loos.
On Nov. 20, 1952 George Axelrod (1922-2003) debuts his play The Seven Year Itch at the Fulton Theatre in New York (1,141 perf.); about the itch to divorce after seven years; stars Vanessa Brown as The Girl, and Tom Ewell as Richard Sherman; filmed in 1955 starring Marilyn Monroe as The Girl, and Tom Ewell as Richard Sherman.
On Jan. 22, 1953 Arthur Miller (1915-2005) debuts his drama The Crucible at the Martin Beck Theater in New York) (197 perf.); original title "Those Familiar Spirigs" set in 1692/3 Salem, Mass.; an answer to witch-hunt McCarthyism and fink Elia Kazan (he shouldn't be able to live with himself?) at the same time?; John Proctor (Arthur Kennedy) must decide whether to make a false confession to save himself; Rev. Samuel Parris (Fred Stewart), Betty Parris (Boo Alexander), Elizabeth Proctor (Beatrice Straight), John's mistress Abigail Williams (Madeleine Sherwood), Tituba (Jacqueline Andre), Mary Warren (Jennie Egan), Rev. John Hale (E.G. Marshall); Deputy Gov. Danforth (Walter Hampden); filmed in 1957 and 1996; "I saw Goody Bibber with the Devil"; "I have given you my soul - leave me my name"; fear of HUAC causes lukewarm reviews that totally censor the connection with current politics, and the show flops after 197 perf.; actress Jean Adair (b. 1873) dies on May 11, forcing a replacement to be found.
On Feb. 19, 1953 William Inge (1913-73) debuts his play Picnic at the Music Box Theater in New York (477 perf.) (Pulitzer Prize); about virile drifter Hal Carter and a group of repressed women in a small Kansas town on Labor Day; stars Ralph Meeker as Hal Carter, Paul Newman (Broadway debut) as his old college friend Alan Seymour, Kim Stanley as Millie Owens, Janice Ruler as Madge Owens, and Elizabeth Wilson as Christine Schoenwalder; filmed in 1955 starring William Holden.
On May 13, 1954 Richard Adler (1921-), Jerry Ross (1926-55), George Francis Abbott (1887-1995), and Richard Bissell (1913-77) debut their musical The Pajama Game at the St. James Theatre in New York (1,063 perf.); based on the 1953 novel "7-1/2 Cents" by Richard Bissell; produced by George Abbott (1887-1995) and his asst. Harold Smith "Hal" Prince (1928-), who goes on to become "the Prince of Broadway" in the 1960s-1970s; Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory suptd. Sid Sorokin fights with union grievance committee leader Babe Williams over a 7.5 cent pay increase; Shirley MacLaine (1934-) is discovered by Paramount Pictures producer Hal Wallis; features songs Hernando's Hideaway, One a Year Day, Racing with the Clock, 7-1/2 Cents, Slow Down, Steam Heat, Think of the Time I Save.
On Mar. 2, 1955 William Inge (1913-73) debuts his play Bus Stop at the Music Box Theater in New York City (478 perf.); based on people he met in a snowstorm in Tonganoxie, Kan. 25 mi. W of Kansas City; boorish naive hick cowboy Bo Decker (Albert Salmi) romances hillbilly dive singer Cherie (Kim Stanley); filmed in 1956 starring Don Murray and Marilyn Monroe.
On Mar. 24, 1955 Tennessee Williams (1911-83) debuts his play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Pulitzer Prize) at the Morosco Theatre in New York; dir. by Elia Kazan; alcoholic ex-football star Brick (Jack Lord, who replaces Ben Gazzara) (who lost his football buddy Skipper to suicide, making him go alcoholic) battles Brother Man AKA Gooper (Pat Hingle) in Miss. for Big Daddy's ("the Delta's biggest cotton-planter") (Burl Ives) fortune after he contracts terminal cancer, which is an open secret; Mildred Dunnock plays Big Mama; Madeleine Sherwood plays Gooper's wife Mae; Brick's beautiful estranged wife Margaret "Maggie the Cat" Pollitt (Barbara Bel Geddes) gives a 57-min. monologue in Act 1; at the end she locks Brick's liquor up and promises that she will "make the lie" about being pregnant "true".
On Apr. 21, 1955 Jerome Lawrence (1915-2004) and Robert Edwin Lee (1918-94) debut their drama Inherit the Wind (Nat. Theater, New York) (Apr. 21) (806 perf.); the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, meant to throw light on McCarthyism, starring Karl Light as teacher Bertram Cates, Paul Muni as his atty. Clarence Darrow, er, Henry Drummond, and Ed Begley as William Jennings Bryan, er, Matthew Harrison Brady; Tony Randall plays infidel reporter E.K. Hornbeck (really H.L. Mencken), who turns it into a laugh riot, after which Drummond tells him "You never pushed a noun against a verb except to blow something up" and "He [Brady] was looking for God too high up and far away"; produced by Herman Shumlin; filmed in 1960.
On May 5, 1955 Richard Adler (1921-2012), Jerry Ross (1926-55), George Francis Abbott (1887-1995), and Douglas Wallop (1920-85) debut their musical Damn Yankees at the 46th Street Theatre in New York, moving on May 17 to the Adelphi Theatre in New York (1,019 perf); dir. by George Abbott; based on the 1954 Douglass Wallop novel "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant", about loser Washington Senators fan Joe Boyd, who sells his soul to the Devil (Applegate) to become a baseball star and rescue the team; stars Robert Shafer as Boyd, Ray Walston as Applegate, Gwen Verdon as Lola, and Shannon Bolin as Meg; features the songs Whatever Lola Wants, Shoeless Joe from Hannibal Mo.
On Oct. 20, 1955 Ira Levin (1929-2007) debuts his play No Time for Sergeants at the Alvin Theater in New York) (796 perf.); based on the 1954 Mac Hyman novel; stars Andy Griffith as country bumpkin Pvt. Will Stockdale, Myron McCormick as Sgt. Orville King, Roddy McDowell as Will's budy Ben, and Don Knotts in his Broadway debut as Corp. Manual Dexterity; filmed in 1958 - by the guy who gave us Rosemary's Baby?
On Mar. 15, 1956 Alan Jay Lerner (1918-86) and Frederick Loewe (1901-88) debut their musical My Fair Lady at the Mark Hellinger Theater in New York (2,717 perf.); based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 "Pygmalion"; title comes from the nursery rhyme "London Bridge is Falling Down"; stars Rex Harrison as Prof. Henry Higgins, and Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle; features the songs I Could Have Danced All Night, On the Street Where You Live; Andrews is two weeks from going home to England from New York when she is cast for the production?; filmed in 1964, restoring Harrison's Hollywood career, which tanked when Carole Landis committed suicide for him in 1948.
On Dec. 19, 1957 Meredith Willson (1902-84) and Franklin Lacey (1917-88) debut their musical The Music Man at the Majestic Theatre in New York, followed on Apr. 15, 1961 by the Broadway Theatre in New York (1,375 perf.); set in his home town of River City (really Mason), Iowa; 1912 con man "Professor" Harold Hill (Robert Preston) promises to set up a boys band and plans to skip town until he falls for librarian Marian Paroo (Barbara Cook); features the songs Iowa Stubborn, 76 Trombones, Ya Got Trouble, Till There Was You, Shipoopi, Goodnight, My Someone; introduces barbership harmony to the public consciousness; filmed in 1962.
On Mar. 10, 1959 Tennessee Williams (1911-83) debuts his play Sweet Bird of Youth at the Martin Beck Theater in New York (375 perf.); gigolo drifter Chance Wayne (Paul Newman) and faded movie star Alexandra Del Lago (Geraldine Page), who is traveling incognito as Princess Kosmonopolis, and whom Wayne hopes to use to help him break into the movies while trying to get back his youthful girlfriend he lost when her father ran him out of town; written for Williams' good friend Tallulah Bankhead.
On Mar. 11, 1959 Lorraine Hansberry (1930-65) debuts her play A Raisin in the Sun at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York, becoming the first Broadway play written by a black playwright; title taken from the Langston Hughes 1951 poem "Montage of a Dream Deferred".
On Oct. 1, 1960 Alan Jay Lerner (1918-86) and Frederic Loewe (1901-88) debut their musical Camelot at the O'Keefe Centre in Toronto, followed on Dec. 3 by the Majestic Theatre in New York, closing on Jan. 5, 1963 after 873 perf.; based on the 1958 T.H. White novel "The Once and Future King"; Richard Burton's only appearance in a musical, as King Arthur; also stars Julie Andrews as Queen Guinevere, Roddy McDowell as Mordred, Robert Goulet as Sir Lancelot, and John Cullum as Sir Dinadan in their first Broadway roles; pres.-elect JFK attends a perf., launching the Camelot legend of his admin.
In 1960 Back Stage (Backstage) weekly mag., ed. by Ira Eaker (1921-2002) and Allen Zwerdling (1922-2009) begins pub. in New York City, becoming a must-read for stage and movie actors looking for work, zooming from 10K to 32K copies/week; in 1994 they found "Back Stage West" for readers in Los Angeles, Calif., reaching 24K copies/week; in 1986 it is acquired by Billboard Pubs.
On Feb. 22, 1961 Bronx, N.Y.-born Marvin Neil Simon (1927-) debuts his play Come Blow Your Horn (Brooks Atkinson Theater, New York) (Feb. 22) (678 perf.); his first Broadway hit, about a Jewish businessman (Lou Jacobi), whose his rebellious son Buddy (Warren Berlinger) decides to leave the nest to live in the bachelor pad of his older brother Alan (Hal March), starting his string of hits that make him #1, with the most Oscar and Tony nominations of all time; dir. by Stanley Prager; filmed in 1963 starring Frank Sinatra as Alan and Tony Bill as Buddy.
On Oct. 14, 1961 Abe Burrows (1910-85), Willie Gilbert (1916-80), Frank Loesser (1910-69), and Jack Weinstock (-1969) debut their musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (46th Street Theatre, New York) (Oct. 14) (1,417 perf.) (Pulitzer Prize); based on the 1952 book by Shepherd Mead (1914-94); J. Pierrepont Finch (Robert Morse) climbs from window washer to mail room to chmn. of World Wide Wickets in one week, vying with pres. J.W. Biggley (Rudy Vallee).
On Oct. 18, 1961 Marcel Achard (1899-1974) and Harry Kurnitz (1908-68) debut their play A Shot in the Dark at the Booth Theatre in New York (389 perf.), adapted from Achard's play "L'Idiote"; stars Julie Harris, Walter Matthau, and William Shatner; adapted for the 1963 Blake Edwards film "The Pink Panther".
On Oct. 23, 1963 Neil Simon (1927-) debuts his romantic comedy Barefoot in the Park at the Biltmore Theatre in New York (1,530 perf.), his 2nd Broadway hit, about honeymooners Paul Bratter (Robert Redford) and Corie Bratter (Elizabeth Ashley) living in a couped-up broken-down 5th floor Greenwich Village flat and dealing with oddball neighbor Victor Velasco (Kurt Kasznar) and Corie's mother Mrs. Banks (Mildred Natwick); he finally drops his button-down atty. ways and walks you know what in the you know where for her in winter to prove his love; filmed in 1967 starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.
On Jan. 16, 1964 Jerry Herman (1931-) and Michael Stewart (1924-87) debut their musical Hello, Dolly! at the St. James Theater in New York (2,844 perf.); produced by David Merrick; based on the 1955 Thornton Wilder play "The Matchmakers", and the hit song by Louis Armstrong; original title "Dolly, A Damned Exasperating Woman", changed for the Armstrong song; produced by David Merrick; stars Carol Channing (1921-) as meddling matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi after Ethel Merman (for whom the part was written), turns it down, followed by Mary Martin; filmed in 1969.
On Mar. 26, 1964 Bob Merrill (1921-98), Jule Styne (1905-94), and Isobel Lennart (1915-71) debut their musical Funny Girl at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York (1,348 perf.); stars Barbara Streisand as Fanny Brice, and Sydney Chaplin as Nick Arnstein; features the song People by Bob Merrill; filmed in 1968 starring Barbra Streisand and Omar Sharif.
On Sept. 22, 1964 Jerry Bock (1928-), Sheldon Harnick (1924-), and Joseph Stein (1912-) debut their musical Fiddler on the Roof at the Imperial Theater in New York (3,242 perf.) (first musical to pass the 3K perf. mark); based on the story "Tevye and His Daughters" by Sholom Aleichem about Jews in 1905 Anatevka, Russia; dir. by Jerome Robbins; poor Jewish milkman Tevye (Zero Mostel) tries to raise his five daughters (Tzeitel, Hodel, Chava, Sphrintze, Bielke) without losing his Jewish culture; Tevye's wife Golde, village matchmaker Yente, wealthy butcher Lazar Wolf; "Without our traditions our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof"; features the songs Tradition, Matchmaker, Matchmaker, If I Were a Rich Man, Sunrise, Sunset, Do You Love Me?; filmed in 1971.
On Mar. 10, 1965 Neil Simon (1927-) debuts his play The Odd Couple at the Plymouth Theatre in New York, followed by the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York (966 perf.); dir. by Mike Nichols; based on his brother Danny Simon and theatrical agent Roy Gerbert (Mel Brooks and Speed Vogel?) moving in together after divorces; fastidious newswriter Felix Unger (Art Carney) and slovenly sportswriter Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau), who reside at 1049 Park Ave.; Jack Klugman later subs for Matthau; on June 11, 1985 "The Female Odd Couple debuts at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York (295 perf.), featuring the Broadway debut of Tony Shalhoub.
On Nov. 22, 1965 Dale Wasserman (1917-), Mitch Leigh (1928-), and Joe Darion (1917-) debut their musical Man of La Mancha (Washington Square Theatre, New York) (Martin Beck Theatre, New York) (Mar. 20, 1968) (Eden Theatre, New York) (Mar. 3, 1971) (Mark Hellinger Theatre, New York) (May 26, 1971) (2,328 perf.); inspired by Miguel de Cervantes' 1605/1615 novel "Don Quixote", set in a prison where Cervantes is being held by the Inquisition; stars Richard Kiley as Don Quixote, Irving Jacobson as Sancho Panza, Ray Middleton as the Innkeeper, Robert Rounseville as The Padre, and Joan Diener as Aldonza; features the songs The Impossible Dream (The Quest), sung by Richard Kiley, and later by Elvis Presley (1971), Tom Jones, Andy Williams, Matt Monro, USMC Pfc Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors) et al.; "To dream the impossible dream/ To fight the unbeatable foe/ To bear with unbearable sorrow/ And to run where/ The brave dare not go... This is my quest, to follow that star/ No matter how hopeless,/ No matter how far,/ To fight for the right/ Without question or pause/ To be willing to march,/ March into hell/ For that heavenly cause."
On May 25, 1966 Jerry Herman (1931-), Jerome Lawrence (1915-2004), and Robert Edwin Lee debut their musical Mame at the Winter Garden Theater in New York (1,508 perf.), based on the 1955 Patrick Dennis novel; stars Angela Lansbury as eccentric Mame Dennis, who leads a fabulous life with wealthy friends until her late brother's son arrives; features the songs If He Walked Into My Life, Open a New Window, We Need a Little Christmas. Eugene Ionesco (1909-94), La Lacune; filmed in 1958 starring Rosalind Russell, and in 1974 starring Lucille Ball.
On Nov. 20, 1966 Joe Masteroff (1919-), John Kander (1927-), and Fred Ebb (1933-2004) debut their musical Cabaret at the Broadhurst Theater in New York (1,165 perf.); produced and dir. by Harold Prince; based on Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories" and John Van Druten's 1951 play "I Am a Camera", about Sally Bowles and the Kit Kat Club in Berlin before Hitler shuts them down, and her Am. lover Clifford; stars Joel Gray (MC), Jill Haworth (Sally), Bert Convy (Clifford), Jack Gifford (Herr Schultz), Lotte Lenya (Fraulein Schneider); features the songs Cabaret, Wilkommen, The Money Song; filmed in 1972.
On Oct. 29, 1967 the hippie counterculture rock musical Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, by bi actor-lovers Gerome Bernard Ragni (1935-91) and James Rado (James Alexander Radomsky) (1932-), with music by Canadian-born Galt MacDermot (1928-) opens off-Broadway in the Pubic, er, Public Theater of Joe Papp in Greenwich Village, followed by the Cheetah Nightclub in Manhattan for 1 mo., then opens on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre next Apr. 29, running for 1,750 perf., followed by 1,998 more in London, introducing the rock musical, with ticket-selling nudity, drugs, profanity, multiracial cast, and irreverence for the U.S. flag, phony cops busting the show at the end of the first act, topped by a Hare Krishna chant and a Be-In finale that invites the audience onstage; about the Tribe in New York City, incl. Claude, Berger, and Sheila, living a bohemian lifestyle while fighting the draft; first rock musical, and first nude scene in a commercial Broadway musical; stars Gerome Ragni as Bezar; set in the fall after the 1967 Summer of Love, complete with draft card burning; features the songs Hare Krishna, Aquarius, Good Morning Starshine, Let the Sun Shine In.
In 1967 Joseph "Joe" Papp (Papirofsky) (1921-91) founds The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street in the former Astor Library in the East Village section of Lower Manhattan, N.Y., opening with the world debut of the musical Hair and going on to host avant-garde plays by David Rabe, Ntozake Shange, Charles Gordone et al.
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).
On Nov. 12, 1970 Anthony Shaffer (1926-2001) debuts his play Sleuth at the Music Box Theatre in New York (1,222 perf.); stars Anthony Quayle as mystery writer Andrew Wyke of Wiltshire (based on game-lover Stephen Sondheim), and Keith Baxter as his wife's lover Milo Tindle, whom he talks into staging a robbery of her jewelry; filmed in 1972.
On Feb. 14, 1972 Jim Jacobs (1942-), Warren Casey (1935-88), and John Clifford Farrar (1945-) debut their musical Grease at the Eden Theatre in New York, moving on June 7 to the Broadhurst Theater in New York (3,388 perf.); dir. by Tom Moore (1943-); Sandy Dumbrowski (Carole Demas) and Danny Zuko (Barry Bostwick) at Rydell H.S. in 1959, based on Taft H.S. in Chicago; features the songs Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee, We Go Together, Shakin' at the High School Hop, Alone at a Drive-In Movie; the three 1-syllable Euro countries are Spain, France, and guess what?
On July 26, 1973 Peter Shaffer (1926-) 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 Oct. 21, 1974 Charlie Smalls (1943-87), William Ferdinand Brown (1928-), George W. Faison (1945-), Timothy Graphenreed, Luther Vandross (1951-2005), and Harold Wheeler (1943-) debut their musical The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical "Wonderful Wizard of Oz" at the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore, moving to the Majestic Theater in New York on Jan. 5, 1975 (1,672 perf.); an Africanized version of L. Frank Baum's "The Wizard of Oz"; stars an all-black cast incl. Stephanie Mills as Dorothy, Hinton Battle as Scarecrow, Tiger Haynes as Tin Woodman, Ted Ross as Lion, Dee Dee Bridgewater as Glinda the Good Witch of the South, Andre DeShields as the Wiz, and Mabel King as Evillene the Wicked Witch of the West; dir. by Geoffrey Holder; features the song Ease On Down the Road.
On Apr. 15, 1975 Michael Bennett (1943-87) (dir./choreography), Marvin Hamlisch (1944-) (music), James Kirkwood Jr. (1924-89) and Nicholas Dante (Conrado Morales) (1941-91) (book), and Edward Kleban (1939-87) (lyrics) debut their musical A Chorus Line at the Public Theater in New York) (101 perf.), moving on July 25 to the Shubert Theater in New York (6,137 perf.) (Pulitzer Prize); 17 dancers audition for eight spots on a bare Broadway stage; longest running Broadway show until "Cats" in 1997 and "The Phantom of the Opera" in 2006; features What I Did for Love, One (finale).
On June 3, 1975 Fred Ebb (1933-2004), Bob Fosse (1927-87), and John Kander (1927-) debut their musical Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville (936 perf.), based on the 1926 play by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins (1896-1969) (who became a born-again Christian and wouldn't allow it to be produced until his death) about Beula Annan ("Roxie Hart"), who was accused of the 1924 murder of Harry Kalstedt, and Belva Gaertner ("Velma Kelly"), who was accused of the 1924 murder of Walter Law, and are both gotten off by attys. William Scott Stewart and W.W. O'Brien (combined as "Billy Flynn"); stars Chita Rivera as Velma Kelly, Gwen Verdon as Roxie Hart, Barney Martin as Amos Hart, and Jerry Orbach as Billy Flynn; followed in Apr. 1979 by the Cambridge Theatre in West End, London (600 perf.), and on Nov. 14, 1996 at the (Richard Rodgers Theater in New York; stars Bebe Neuwirth as Velma Kelly, Ann Reinking as Roxie Hart, Joel Grey as Amos Hart, and James Naughton as Billy Flynn; on Nov. 23, 2014 it stages its 7,486 perf., passing "Cats"; filmed in 2002 starring Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly, Renee Zellweger as Roxie Hart, John C. Reilly as Amos Hart, Richard Gere as Billy Flynn, and Queen Latifah as Mama Morton.
On Apr. 21, 1977 Martin Charnin (1934-), Charles Strouse (1928-), and Thomas Meehan debut their musical Annie at the Alvin Theatre in New York) (2,377 perf.); based on the Harold Gray comic strip "Little Orphan Annie"; set in 1933; stars Andrea McArdle as Annie, Reid Shelton as Daddy Warbucks, Dorothy Loudon as Miss Hannigan, and Sandy Faison as Grace Farrell; filmed in 1982; features the songs Little Girls, It's a Hard Knock Life, Tomorrow, and You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile.
On June 19, 1978 Carol Hall (1936-) and Tommy Tune (1939-) debut their musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at the 46th St. Theater in New York) (1,584 perf.); based on a Playboy mag. story by Larry L. King about the closing of the Chicken Ranch in La Grange, Tex.; filmed in 1982; features The Aggie Song.
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 Aug. 25, 1980 Michael Stewart (1924-87), Mark Bramble (1950-), Al Dubin, and Harry Warren debut their musical 42nd Street at the Winter Garden Theater in New York, going for 3,486 perf.; based on the 1932 Bradford Ropes novel and the 1933 film screenplay by Rian James, James Seymour, and Whitney Bolton, about dictatorial Great White Way dir. Julian Marsh during the Great Depression; first movie musical adapted for the stage since the 1974 flop "Gigi"; features the songs "Keep Young and Beautiful", "Lullaby of Broadway", "Shuffle Off to Buffalo", and "Forty-Second Street".
On May 11, 1981 Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948-) debuts his musical Cats at the New London Theatre in London, followed on Oct. 7 at Winter Garden Theatre in New York, becoming the longest-running Broadway musical on June 19, 1997 with 6,138 perf. before closing on Sept. 10, 2000 after 7,485 perf.; lyrics from T.S. Eliot's 1939 "Old Possum Book of Practical Cats"; stars Elaine Paige followed by Betty Buckley as Grizzabella, making them big stars singing Memory.
On Dec. 21, 1981 Tom Eyen (1940-91) and Henry Krieger (1945-) debut their musical Dreamgirls at the Imperial Theater in New York (1,522 perf.); 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 Aug. 21, 1983 Jerry Herman (1931-) and Harvey Fierstein (1952-) debut their musical La Cage aux Folles (Fr. "the cage of birds/queens") at the Palace Theater in New York (1,761 perf.); based on the 1973 Jean Poiret play; dir. by Arthur Laurents; stars non-gay actor George Hearn (1934-) as Saint-Tropez gay drag nightclub star Albin, and non-gay actor Gene Barry (1919-2009) as his gay bud and club mgr. Georges, who try to fool the homophobic conservative parents of Georges' son Jean-Michel's fiancee when he brings them home to meet them; features the gay anthem I Am What I Am, and the song The Best of Times.
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 Theater, 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.
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 Apr. 18, 1994 Alan Irwin Menken (1949-), Howard Ashman (1950-91), Tim Rice (1944-), and Linda Woolverton debut their musical Beauty and the Beast at the Palace Theatre in New York, moving to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York on Nov. 11, 1999 (5,461 perf.); based on the 1991 Disney animated film; stars Susan Egan as Belle, and Terrence Mann as Beast; grosses $1B by 2017 in 13 countries and 115 citiies.
On Apr. 29, 1996 Jonathan Larson (1960-96) debuts his musical Rent at the Nederlander Theatre in New York (Pulitzer Prize) (5,123 perf.); based on Giacomo Puccini's opera "La Boheme" (1896); starving HIV-infected artists in New York City's East Village Alphabet City incl. dancer (Mimi Marquez), musician (Roger Davis), filmmaker Mark Cohen, drag queen drummer Angel Dumott Schunard, gay philosopher Tom Collins, lesbian atty. Joanne Jefferson, and landlord Benjamin "Benny" Coffin III.
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 Theater in New York (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 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. 19, 2001 Mel Brooks (1926-) and Thomas Meehan (1929-) debut their musical The Producers at the St. James Theatre in New York (2,502 perf.), based on the 1968 film, starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick; on May 7 it is nominated for a record 15 Tony Awards, and later wins 12, beating the previous record of 10 for Hello, Dolly! in 1964.
On Aug. 15, 2002 March Shaiman (1959-), Scott Wittman (1954-), Mark O'Donnell (1954-2012), and Thomas Meehan (1929-) debut their musical Hairspray at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York (2,642 perf.); based on the 1988 John Waters film, set in 1962 Baltimore, Md., where obese teenie Tracy Turnblad (Marissa Jaret Winokur) achieves her dream of dancing on The Corny Collins Show (based on The Buddy Deane Show), then launches a campaign to integrate it; Harvey Fierstein plays Tracy's mother Edna, and Linda Hart plays producer Velma Von Tussle; "Broadway's big fat musical comes out".
On Mar. 19, 2003 Ropert Lopez (1975-), Jeff Marx (1970-), and Jeff Whitty (1971-) debut their musical Avenue Q at the Vineyard Theatre in New York (72 perf.), followed by the John Golden Theatre in New York on July 31 (2,534 perf.); a puppet show with puppetmasters visible onstage, a takeoff on PBS-TV's "Sesame Street", about how it told them that they were special, but reality tells them the opposite; features "Sesame Street" puppeteers John Tartaglia, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Jennifer Barnhart, and Rick Lyon, working puppets Rod and Nicky (Bert and Ernie), Trekkie Monster (Cookie Monster), Bad Idea Bear, and Lucy the Slut; stars Natalie Venetia Belcon as Gary Coleman.
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; 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 Dec. 15, 2004 Robert B. Sherman (1925-2012), Richard M. Sherman (1928-), George Stiles (191-), Anthony Drewe, Julian Fellowes (1949-), and William David Brohn (1933-) debut their musical Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre in West End, London, moving to the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York on Nov. 16, 2006 (2,619 perf.); based on the P.L. Travers books and the 1964 Walt Disney film; first Disney musical to debut in the U.K. (until ?); stars Laura Michelle Kelly (Ashley Brown on Broadway) as Mary Poppins, and Gavin Lee as Bert; "For children seven years and up"; on Mar. 17, 2005 Julie Andrews visits as a guest, giving a speech.
On July 27, 2005 Chris D'Arienzo debuts his musical Rock of Ages at King King in Los Angeles, moving to New World Stages in New York on Oct. 16, 2008, Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York on Apr. 7, 2009, and Helen Hayes Theatre in New York on Mar. 24, 2011 (2,328 perf.); about 1980s glam metal bands incl. Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Europe, Steve Perry, Poison, Styx, and Twisted Sister.
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.); the story of Frankie Valli (1934-) and the Four Seasons.
On Mar. 24, 2011 Robert Lopez (1975-), Trey Parker (1969-), and Matt Stone (1971-) debut their musical The Book of Mormon at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York (2,538 perf.); two young Mormon missionaries travel to Uganda and run up against reality.
On Feb. 17, 2015 Lin-Manuel Miranda (1980-) debuts his musical Hamilton: An American Musical at the Public Theater in New York, moving to the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York on July 13); based on the 2004 bio "Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow; PC casting features black and Hispanic actors playing White Am. Founding Fathers; the show's popularity causes the U.S. Treasury Dept. to cancel plans of replacing Hamilton's portrait on the $10 bill with Harriet Tubman, switching to Andy Jackson and the $20 bill.