Tuesday, February 23, 2021

This Week in Broadway History: February 23 - March 1

 This Week in 

Broadway History:

February 23 - March 1


February 23: Sunday in the Park with George (2017) & The Pajama Game (2006)

  • February 23, 2006: The Tony-winning revival of The Pajama Game opened its limited run of 129 performances at the American Airlines Theatre, starring Kelli O'Hara and Harry Connick, Jr.
  • February 23, 2017: The Hudson Theatre re-opened as a legitimate theatre with the star-studded revival of Sunday in the Park with George. Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford lead the cast as Georges and Dot.
  • February 24, 1980: After re-casting the leading role as a female character, Whose Life Is It Anyway? re-opened at the Royale Theatre starring Mary Tyler Moore and James Naughton.

February 26: Jerome Robbins' Broadway (1989)

  • February 25, 1973: With an entire score written at a waltz tempo, Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music began its Tony-winning Best Musical 601 performance run at the Shubert Theatre.
  • February 26, 1978: Opening at The Music Box, Deathtrap began its thrilling run. Famously, Marian Seldes played every single performance of its 6 preview, 1,793 performances.
  • February 26, 1989: Perhaps the greatest revue of staging ever, Jerome Robbins' Broadway, opened at the Imperial Theatre. Dance suites from On The Town, Fiddler on the Roof, and West Side Story were among the highlights of its 633 performance run.

February 27: Take Me Out (2003)

  • February 27, 1997: The Best Play of the season, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, opened at Helen Hayes Theatre, where it stayed for 556 performances. Paul Rudd made his Broadway debut in the show.
  • February 27, 2003: The 2003 Tony Award for Best Play, Take Me Out, opened at the Walter Kerr Theatre starring Daniel Sunjata as a gay professional baseball player. He won a Theatre World Award for his efforts.

March 1: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979)

  • February 28, 2008: The critically acclaimed musical, Passing Strange, opened its 165 performance run at the Belasco Theatre. The show starred its writer, Stew, as well as Daniel Breaker, Colman Domingo and Rebecca Naomi Jones.
  • March 1, 1979: Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which opened on this date at the Uris Theatre, sweeping that season's Tony Awards, including Best Actor Len Cariou, Best Actress Angela Lansbury, and Best Musical.


Erik Altemus     Rick Lyon

  • February 23: The Book of Mormon's Josh Gad and Robert Lopez
  • February 24: Composer/lyricist/book writer and playwright Rupert Holmes, actor (Grease, Nick & Nora) Barry Bostwick
  • February 25: actor/dancer (Pippin) Erik Altemus, Tony-winning actor (La Cage aux Folles) Douglas Hodge, actor/puppet designer (Avenue Q) Rick Lyon
  • February 26: A Chorus Line's original Diana Priscilla Lopez, Les Miserables author Victor Hugo

Bernadette Peters     Tommy Tune

  • February 27: actor/singer (Great Comet) Josh Groban, Tony-winner Debra Monk, actor Elizabeth Taylor, book writer (TitanicPeter Stone
  • February 28: Broadway legend Zero Mostel, Broadway icon Seth Rudetsky, composer/lyricist William Finn, Broadway legend Bernadette Peters, actor Mercedes Ruehl, Broadway legend Tommy Tune
  • March 1: Carousel Tony-winner Lindsay Mendez, actor Lupita Nyong'o, producer (Rent) Kevin McCollum, designer (Cats, Starlight ExpressJohn Napier 


If you were willing to brave the winter chill of New York City, there was plenty to choose from, and except for a few really tough tickets, you could probably get some terrific bargains! One of those may have been the revival of Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys at the Lyceum. The draw here was the chance to see TV's Odd Couple, Tony Randall and Jack Klugman live on stage. Early in the week, you might have caught a preview of Art, starring three great actors, Alan Alda, Alfred Molina and Victor Garber. But maybe you were lucky enough to be a First Nighter on March 1st! Last season's Tony-winning Best Play, The Last Night of Ballyhoo was celebrating its one-year anniversary.

Musical lovers had a great mix of things to see, including last season's The Life, Cy Coleman's look at the world's oldest profession, and the Tony-winner, Titanic. Hard to get tickets include two revivals of classic musicals: The London import of Cabaret and The Sound of Music. The immersive production of the former, starring Alan Cumming and Natasha Richardson is previewing at The Kit Kat Klub (Henry Miller's Theatre). The other revival, also in previews (at the Martin Beck), stars Rebecca Luker as Maria von Trapp and a young Laura Benanti as a nun.

Two other shows offered Broadway fans a bit of controversy. The Scarlet Pimpernel (in what today we recognize as "Version 1.0") was undergoing a not-so-secret creative makeover during the day, while performing the original at night. The other was an even more public controversy at the Marquis Theatre, where protesters were picketing the content of Paul Simon's The Capeman.

But there were three super tough tickets. One was the razzle dazzler revival, Chicago, at the Shubert, and currently starring Marilu Henner as Roxie Hart The other two are new musicals, playing across 42nd Street from each other. Disney's The Lion King was packing 'em in at the refurbished New Amsterdam Theatre. Julie Taymor's puppets and artistry are a sight to see.  Finally, Ragtime, at the Ford Center, was an enormous, epic pageant with a beautifully sung score by Ahrens and Flaherty. Beloved actors Marin Mazzie, Judy Kaye, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Audra McDonald lead the company.


Good news! If you missed them in 1998, you can still see Chicago and The Lion King when Broadway reopens!

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