Tuesday, April 20, 2021

This Week in Broadway History: April 20 - 26

 This Week in Broadway History:
April 20 - 26


April 20, 2010: Pop-punk came to Broadway when Green Day's American Idiot opened its 422 performance run at the St. James Theatre.

April 21, 2016:
One of the great musicals of the past decade (I am not joking), American Psycho opened at Schoenfeld Theatre for run of just 54 performances. I have a feeling Patrick Bateman will be back...

April 22, 1993: A great rock opera, The Who's Tommy, brought stunning visuals, thrilling staging, and Michael Cerveris to Broadway when the show played the St. James Theatre for 899 performances.

April 23, 1997: There she is! Titanic set sail on Broadway for 804 performances at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. The 1997 Best Musical featured a stunning score by Maury Yeston.

April 24, 2017: Anastasia took a journey to the past 808 times at the Broadhurst Theatre. Original cast members included Christy Altomare, Derek Klena, Ramin Karimloo and Tony-nominee Mary Beth Piel.

April 25, 1985:
The Best Musical of the 1985 season, Big River, brought Huck Finn and Jim down the Mississippi via the Eugene O'Neill Theatre for 1,005 performances.

April 26, 2001: 16 years later, another Mark Twain classic came to Broadway. This time it wasn't quite as successful. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer lasted only 21 performances at the Minskoff Theatre.


April 20: actors Billy Magnussen (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), Jessica Lange (Long Day's Journey Into Night) and George Takei (Allegiance, Pacific Overtures)

April 21: Tony-winner Ruthie Ann Miles (The King and I), actor Claybourne Elder (Company, Bonnie and Clyde), and Tony-winning legend Elaine May (The Waverly Gallery)

April 22: Hairspray and Cry-Baby creator John Waters, actor Charlotte Rae (Li'l Abner)

April 23: Playwright William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet)

Carmen Cusack     Claybourne Elder

Ma Rainey     William Shakespeare

April 24:
actors Jordan Fisher (Dear Evan Hansen), Barbra Streisand (Funny Girl), and Shirley MacLaine (The Pajama Game)

April 25: actor Carmen Cusack (Flying Over Sunset), composer/lyricist Bjรถrn Ulvaeus (Mamma Mia!, Chess)

April 26: actor/icon Carol Burnett (Moon Over Buffalo, Once Upon a Mattress), composer/lyricist Ma Rainey (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom)


An interesting time to be on Broadway! Big stars, new Sondheim, traditional shows, edgy shows. 

A change in the Tony rules would have allowed you to see 1970 and 1971's Best Musicals, which opened less than a month apart - Applause (3/30/70) at the Palace, and Company (4/26/70) at the Alvin. Both were tough tickets this week, what with Lauren Bacall in the former, and Elaine Stritch in the latter. Also, you'd have less than a month to catch Company lead Dean Jones, who would soon be replaced by Larry Kert. An easier ticket, albeit with significant star power, was Coco starring Katharine Hepburn at the Mark Hellinger. Sandy Duncan's Tony nominated turn in a revival of The Boyfriend was a draw at the Ambassador, and Shelley Winters and newcomer Lewis J. Stadlin in Minnie's Boys struggled to find an audience at the Imperial.

There were plenty of stars to be seen in plays as well. Among them, Blythe Danner and Eileen Heckart in Butterflies Are Free at the Booth, James Coco and Linda Lavin in Neil Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers at the Eugene O'Neill, and James Stewart in a revival of Harvey at the ANTA Playhouse. Other big plays include the 5-time Tony-winning Child's Play at the Royale, and the Tony-winning Best Play Borstal Boy at the Lyceum.

Adventurous theatergoers were packing in the Eden Theatre to see the nudist musical sensation, Oh! Calcutta! This original production ran an impressive 1,314 performances. A mere four years later, robes were dropping in a revival that ran 5,959 performances!


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