Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: January 22

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: January 22
 
Happy birthday to Tony winner Katie Finneran!
Katie Finneran in Promises, Promises.
Katie Finneran in Promises, Promises. Joan Marcus

1912 Stop in at the Liberty Theatre in New York and see just what it takes when you're Elevating a Husband. Edward Everett Horton, Conway Tearle, and Jessie Carter are among the cast of the Clara Lipman and Samuel Shipman farce. It runs 120 performances.

1918 Seventeen, adapted from Booth Tarkington's novel by Stanislaus Stange and Stannard Mears, expounds on the world of American teens. Ruth Gordon and Paul Kelly are in the cast.

1946 Playwright Emmet Lavery considers the life of Oliver Wendell Holmes in The Magnificent Yankee. The comedy stars Louis Calhern and Dorothy Gish and runs 160 performances.

1953 A true witch hunt comes to Broadway as Arthur Miller's The Crucible premieres on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre. Inspired by the real-life Salem witch trials of 1692, Miller's political work is a clear commentary on Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities committee, which worked to root out supposed communist sympathizers from all aspects of American life with little regard for facts or evidence. McCarthy's reign would peter out a year and a half after The Crucible opened on Broadway, while the play itself won four 1953 Tony Awards, including Best Play.

1968 Elly Stone, Shawn Elliott, Mort Shuman, and Alice Whitfield star in the musical revue Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris at the Village Gate. It runs 1,847 performances.

1971 Katie Finneran is born in Chicago, Illinois. A two-time Tony Award winner for her performances as Brooke Ashton in Noises Off and Marge MacDougall in Promises, Promises, her Broadway appearances also include Sally Bowles in Cabaret and Miss Hannigan in Annie.

2003 A woman goes on a journey of the soul when she resolves to quit smoking in Michael John LaChiusa's musical Little Fish, which begins performances at Off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre. Graciela Daniele directs a cast that includes Jennifer Laura Thompson, Lea DeLaria, Marcy Harriell, Hugh Panaro, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Celia Keenan-Bolger.

2004 Ann Miller, the leggy, effervescent tap dancer who starred in Sugar Babies on Broadway and in the film versions of Kiss Me, Kate and On the Town, dies at age 80.

2009 A controlling mother, an unstable daughter, and a handsome stranger are the trio at the center of Richard Greenberg's 1990 play The American Plan, which opens in its Broadway debut at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. David Grindley directs the Manhattan Theatre Club production, starring Mercedes Ruehl, Lily Rabe, and Kieran Campion.

Today's Birthdays August Strindberg 1849. Constance Collier 1878. George Balanchine 1904. Ann Sothern 1909. Lee Dixon 1914. Lemuel Ayers 1915. Sid Ramin 1919. Piper Laurie 1932. Emanuel Azenberg 1934. Bill Bixby 1934. Michael Cristofer 1945. Diane Lane 1965.

Watch highlights from Katie Finneran's Tony Award-winning performance in the 2010 Broadway revival of Promises, Promises:

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