Today In Theatre History: MARCH 2
By Anne Bradley
March 2, 2006
1900 Composer Kurt Weill is born today in Dessau, Germany. He will compose the score for Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, and Mahagonny. Among his many works, Lady in the Dark will be his first Broadway success. Weill's collaboration with Ira Gershwin on this 1941 production starring Danny Kaye and Gertrude Lawrence will run 467 performances.
1921 The Klaw Theatre on West 45th Street opens with a production of Rachel Crother's Nice People. Owned by theatrical producer Marc Klaw, the house will be renamed the Avon in 1929. Columbia Broadcasting System will take it over for its radio studio. It will be razed in 1954.
1955 Harold Clurman directs Bus Stop. Kim Stanley and Elaine Stritch are two of the stranded passengers in this William Inge play.
1960 Don Ameche stars in the memorable flop 13 Daughters, with book, music and lyrics by Eaton Magoon. The show opens tonight and runs 28 performances at the 54th Street Theatre.
1975 Did anyone guess the careers Gilda Radner, John Belushi and Bill Murray would have? All three appeared in The National Lampoon Show at the Palladium in New York. This revue, directed by Martin Charnin, will run 23 weeks.
1989 Ken Ludwig's Lend Me a Tenor, starring Victor Garber, Philip Bosco and Tovah Feldshuh, opens on Broadway. Bosco, who will play at the Royale Theatre 11 years later in Copenhagen, wins a Tony for his turn in this production at the same theatre.
1995 Opening night for Smokey Joe's Cafe, the musical revue saluting the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Directed by Jerry Zaks, the show will run 2.036 performances at the Virginia Theatre, making it the longest-running revue in Broadway history, save Oh! Calcutta.
2000 Susan Stroman and John Weidman's dance play Contact starts performances at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre. The show, which sold out its Off- Broadway run at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, gained Broadway status (and Tony eligibility) in the move. It will officially open March 30 and win the Tony Award for Best Musical, despite using an entirely pre-recorded score of jazz music and pop tunes.
More of Today's Birthdays: Martin Ritt 1914. Desi Arnaz 1917. Lilo 1925. John Cullum 1930. Kevin McCollum 1962.