Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 11

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 11
Robert Klein and Lucie Arnaz in They're Playing Our Song
Robert Klein and Lucie Arnaz in They're Playing Our Song

1901 A man marries his fiancée On the Quiet because his parents want him to finish Yale. Playwright Augustus Thomas based the comedy on a real incident. It unfolds at the Madison Square Theatre in New York.

1921 The Ambassador Theatre opens on West 49th Street in New York with the musical The Rose Girl by William Carey Duncan. Architect Herbert J. Krapp maximizes the use of space by designing the stage to run diagonally across the space. It is the first of six theatres the Shuberts build on 48th and 49th Streets.

1929 Eugene O'Neill takes on industrialization in his drama Dynamo, starring Claudette Colbert and Dudley Digges. Presented by The Theatre Guild, it runs at the Martin Beck Theatre for 50 performances.

1958 John Osborne and Anthony Creighton write an Epitaph for George Dillon at the Royal Court Theatre in London. Robert Stephens is Dillon, a failed, self-pitying playwright looking for an audience.

1960 Jack Richardson's The Prodigal, about ancient Greece, opens Off-Broadway at the Downtown Theatre and runs there for several months.

1976 Actor Lee J. Cobb, the original Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, dies at age 65. He acted a great deal in films, but in the 60s returned to the New York stage playing King Lear at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in Lincoln Center.

1979 They're Playing Our Song opens on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre. The musical with a book by Neil Simon is based on the life of composer Marvin Hamlisch and lyricist Carole Bayer Sayer, a real-life composer-lyricist couple at the time.

1997 Whoopi Goldberg takes over the role of Pseudolus in the Jerry Zaks-directed revival of Stephen Sondheim, Burt Shevelove, and Larry Gelbart's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. The previously-male role was originally played by Nathan Lane in the revival, and by Zero Mostel in the original 1962 production.

2002 A Who's Who of Broadway converges on the Minskoff Theatre to salute the late revered drama guru Lee Strasberg and christen a new award in his name. Among those at the event: F. Murray Abraham, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Al Pacino, Marlo Thomas, Ellen Burstyn, Celeste Holm, and Patrick Wilson.

2004 Christopher Plummer begins performances of King Lear at Lincoln Center's Vivan Beaumont Theater, in a performance that earns him a Tony nomination.

2012 The 2 PM matinee of The Phantom of the Opera marks the Broadway production's 10,000th performance. The curtain call celebration includes a note from director Harold Prince read by current Phantom Hugh Panaro, and congratulations from composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and producer Cameron Mackintosh via video feed.

2018 Actor Jan Maxwell, whose performances spanned stage and screen, comedy and drama, dies at age 61. She received five Tony Award nominations, for her appearances in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Coram Boy, Lend Me a Tenor, The Royal Family, and Follies.

Today's Birthdays: Fred Saidy 1907. Sidney Sheldon 1917. Eva Gabor 1921. Kim Stanley 1925. Tina Louise 1935. Philip Anglim 1953.

Watch the curtain call from the 10,000th performance of The Phantom of the Opera:

Click Here to Shop for Theatre
Merchandise in the Playbill Store
More Today in Theatre History