Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 5

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: April 5
A scene from the 2001 Broadway revival of Follies.
A scene from the 2001 Broadway revival of Follies. Joan Marcus

1906 Britain's first actor-MP, A.E.W. Mason, delivers his first speech. The theatre community sees this as a victory, hoping it will have an advocate in the House of Commons.

1947 Hoping to keep their American Repertory Theatre subscription season alive, Eva Le Gallienne, Margaret Webster, and Cheryl Crawford revive Alice in Wonderland. It has an extended run of 100 performances.

1956 London's Phoenix Theatre hosts The Power and the Glory. It is the second production of the Peter Brook-staged, Paul Scofield-starred season. There are 68 performances of Denis Cannan's adaptation of the Graham Greene story.

1962 A Thousand Clowns and Jason Robards make for a run of 428 performances of the Herb Gardner comedy. Robards plays a nonconformist caring for his nephew and fighting the Welfare Department.

1998 Quentin Tarantino and Marisa Tomei open a Broadway revival of the 1966 thriller Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott. Tarantino, director/actor of cult classics Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, plays the psychotic stalker who preys on a blind woman, played by Tomei (Oscar winner for My Cousin Vinny). Playwright Knott made revisions for the production at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.

2001 A long-awaiting Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman's musical Follies brings on those beautiful girls at the Belasco Theatre—but runs into critical static, despite the presence of a cast that includes Blythe Danner, Treat Williams, Gregory Harrison, Marge Champion, and Joan Roberts (the original Laurey in Oklahoma!).

2004 Leonard Reed, a tap dancer credited with co-creating the "Shim Sham Shimmy" dance routine, dies in California at age 97.

2007 Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's windswept romantic epic The Pirate Queen opens on Broadway at the Hilton Theatre. Stephanie J. Block stars as Grace O'Malley, opposite Hadley Fraser as Tiernan. The production lasts only 85 performances.

2012 The first Broadway revival of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita opens at the Marquis Theatre. The cast is headed by Ricky Martin as Che, Elena Roger as Eva Perón and Michael Cerveris as Juan Perón. The production closes after 337 performances, when the producers decide not to recast the three lead roles at the end of the original actors' contracts.

2017 Kevin Kline returns to Broadway after a 10-year absence to star in a revival of Noël Coward's Present Laughter, opening at the St. James Theatre. Kline's performance as Garry Essendine, a self-obsessed actor in the midst of a mid-life crisis, wins him his third Tony Award.

Today's Birthdays: Spencer Tracy 1900. Melvyn Douglas 1901. Bette Davis 1908. Goddard Lieberson 1911. Gregory Peck 1916. Christopher Hewett 1922. Nigel Hawthorne 1929. Frank Gorshin 1933. Michael Moriarty 1941.

Watch highlights from the 2012 Broadway revival of Evita:

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