Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 12 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 12 In 2013, the musical American Psycho opens in London, starring Matt Smith.
Matt Smith and the London cast of American Psycho Manuel Harlan

1902 There are two debuts in Everyman: Edith Wynne Matthison makes her American debut, and Charles Rann Kennedy makes his stage debut.

1904 Leah Kleschna gets a new ending—a happy one—penned especially for Minnie Maddern Fiske, the star and one of the producers. Also in the cast of the tale of a thief who happily reforms are John Mason, George Arliss, and Mary Maddern. The play runs for 131 performances at the Manhattan Theatre.

1921 Actor Sidney Blackmer is The Mountain Man at the Maxine Elliott's Theatre. Blackmer heads off to France to shoot the lover of his girl, played by Catherine Dale Owen. The Clare Kummer play runs for 163 performances.

1932 Eva Le Gallienne stages a landmark adaptation of Alice in Wonderland at the Civic Repertory Theatre with Burgess Meredith, Joseph Schildkraut, and Le Gallienne herself as the White Queen. Lavishly designed by Irene Sharaff based on Tenniel's illustrations, the production runs 127 performances.

1932 A loving (that's very loving) artist has her life story recorded in S. N. Behrman's Biography, starring Ina Claire. The Theatre Guild production runs for 267 performances.

1972 Julie Harris plays the emotionally fragile First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln in James Prideaux's The Last of Mrs. Lincoln. It runs 63 performances at the ANTA Theatre, and earns Harris the fourth of her five Tony Awards as Best Actress in a Play.

1985 The long-running Off-Broadway hit Nunsense opens at the Cherry Lane Theatre, where nuns and priests comprise a large part of the audience of the Dan Goggin-directed (and composed) musical. Sister Mary Amnesia is played by Semina De Laurentis. This production runs a whopping 3,672 performances.

1994 Slavs! opens at New York Theatre Workshop. The Tony Kushner play is the self-proclaimed "coda" to his Angels in America. Starring Marisa Tomei and Joseph Wiseman, it runs 64 performances.

2001 Manhattan Theatre Club "breaks ground" inside the dilapidated Biltmore Theatre for a refurbishment of the venerable playhouse as its new Broadway headquarters. Once host to Hair and Barefoot in the Park, the Biltmore has been dark since 1987, landmarked, but mildewed and crumbling, unable to reopen without expensive repairs. The theatre reopens in 2003 with Richard Greenberg's The Violet Hour.

2002 Nora Ephron's playwriting debut, Imaginary Friends, opens on Broadway at the Barrymore Theatre. The play with music—by Marvin Hamlisch and Craig Carnelia—stars Cherry Jones and Swoosie Kurtz, respectively, as personal and literary rivals Mary McCarthy and Lillian Hellman. It runs 76 performances.

2013 The world premiere of American Psycho, Duncan Sheik and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's musical based on the 1991 Bret Easton Ellis novel, opens at London's Almeida Theatre. Doctor Who star Matt Smith plays serial killer Patrick Bateman in the thriller set during the height of the 1980s era of Wall Street greed. Three years later, the musical opens on Broadway starring Benjamin Walker.

2017 The American premiere of Lucy Kirkwood's The Children, about a retired nuclear engineer who visits two former colleagues at a remote cottage, opens on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. The production, which was first seen at London's Royal Court Theatre, reunites original cast members Francesca Annis, Ron Cook, and Deborah Findlay.

Today's Birthdays: Rachel Crothers (1878-1958). Edward G. Robinson (1893-1973). Frank Sinatra (1915-1998). Alan Schneider (1917-1984). John Osborne (1929-1994). Bill Nighy (b. 1949). Cathy Rigby (b. 1952). Anne Marie Bobby (b. 1967). Lucas Hedges (b. 1996).

A First Look at Duncan Sheik Musical American Psycho, Starring Matt Smith of Doctor Who

More Today in Theatre History

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