Tuesday, June 15, 2021

This Week in Broadway History: June 15 - 21

This Week in Broadway History:

June 15 - 21


June 15, 1995:
 One of the 90s most interesting and underrated musicals, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, opened at the Plymouth Theatre, where it ran for 37 performances. It was nominated for 3 1996 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

June 17, 1969: The original production of Oh! Calcutta! opened at the Eden Theatre. It bared all for 1,314 performances.

June 19, 1978:
 The scandalous mega-hit The Best Little Whorehouse opened its brothel doors at the 46th Street Theatre, and stayed in business for a Texas-sized 1,548 performances.


June 15: Actor Rob McClure (Avenue Q, Doubtfire), actor Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), playwright Adam Rapp (The Sound Inside)

June 16: Actor Ali Stroker (Oklahoma!, Spring Awakening), actor Danny Burstein (Moulin Rouge! Cabaret), actor Laurie Metcalf (Three Tall Women, A Doll's House, Part 2)

June 17: Actor John Gallagher, Jr. (Spring Awakening, American Idiot), director Phyllida Lloyd (Tina, Mamma Mia!)

June 18: Actor Erin Davie (Diana, Side Show), actor Kerry Butler (Mean Girls, Xanadu), directors Mike Ockrent (Me and My Girl, Crazy For You), Jack O'Brien (Hairspray), and Michael Blakemore (City of Angels, The Life), actor George Hearn (La Cage aux Folles, Sunset Boulevard)

John Gallagher, Jr.     Phylicia  Rashad

Ali Stroker     Benjamin Walker

June 19:
Actor Hugh Dancy (Venus in Fur), director/producer Des McAnuf (The Who's Tommy, Jersey Boys), actor/director Phylicia Rashad (Gem of the Ocean, Into the Woods, Dreangirls)

June 20: Composer Jason Robert Brown (The Bridges of Madison County), actor Nicole Kidman (The Blue Room), actor John Goodman (Big River)

June 21: Actors Benjamin Walker (American Psycho) and Aaron Lazar (Mamma Mia!, The Light in the Piazza), writer/lyricist Don Black (Sunset Boulevard, Bonnie and Clyde), legend Judy Holliday (Born Yesterday, Bells Are Ringing)


The 88-89 season that just ended was not a big one for big new shows. That doesn't mean there weren't plenty of places to spend your Broadway bucks! 

Among the small crop of new shows that were selling well were the spectacular blues revue, Black and Blue, at the Minskoff and the season's big Tony winner, Jerome Robbins' Broadway, a song and dance extravaganza at the Imperial that celebrated some of the greatest musicals of all time. (And it served as a rather pointed reminder of the dearth of quality product in the theater district. The former boasted the talents of no less than Ruth Brown, Charles "Honi" Coles and Savion Glover, while the latter featured Jason Alexander, Debbie Shapiro, Charlotte d'Amboise, Scott Wise and Faith Prince, as well as a corps of cream of the crop dancers from Broadway and the New York City Ballet. The other Best Musical nominee, Starmites, was playing its final week of performances at the Criterion Center.

On the straight play side of things, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning The Heidi Chronicles by Wendy Wasserstein was selling out at the Plymouth, with headliners Joan Allen, Boyd Gaines and Cynthia Nixon. If farce was more your thing, you had two hilarious choices, Neil Simon's Rumors with newly minted Tony-winner Christine Baranski at the Broadhurst, and Ken Ludwig's Lend Me a Tenor with Phillip Bosco, Tovah Feldshuh, Victor Garber, Jane Connell and Ron Holgate at the Royale.

There were some audience favorites nearing the end of their runs, such as Into the Woods at the Martin Beck, the huge hit revival of Anything Goes at the Beaumont, Mikhail Baryshnikov in Metamorphosis at the Barrymore, Sarafina! at the Cort, and the record-breaking revival of Oh! Calcutta!

But it was holdovers from previous seasons that were playing to excited crowds. The British mega-musicals were showing no signs of slowing down - Cats at the Winter Garden, Les Miserables at the Broadway, and The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic. Me and My Girl was still charming audiences who were leaving the Marquis doing "The Lambeth Walk." And the sensation of last season, M. Butterfly, with John Rubenstein and A. Mapa was a mysterious thrill for audiences at the O'Neill.


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