Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 26 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 26 In 1989, Jerome Robbins' Broadway opens at the Imperial Theatre.
A scene from Jerome Robbins' Broadway Martha Swope

1911 Chicago's Columbia Theatre opens its doors. Architect J.E.O. Pridmore designed the 1,550-seat house. In 1923, it becomes the Adelphi. In 1974, its doors close for demolition.

1948 Gertrude Berg writes and stars in Me and Molly, a comedy based on her long-running radio show, The Goldbergs. It runs 156 performances at the Belasco Theatre.

1960 Burgess Meredith stages A Thurber Carnival with Thurber's sketches in words and cartoons. The cast includes Paul Ford, Peggy Cass, John McGiver, Alice Ghostley, and Tom Ewell. It initially runs 16 weeks and then reopens September 5 and runs for an additional 12 weeks.

1962 Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feeling So Sad by Arthur Kopit opens Off-Broadway at the Phoenix Theatre and runs for 454 performances. Austin Pendleton stars as the poor son. Jerome Robbins stages the show, which departs on an 11-week tour after the production closes and then opens on Broadway.

1975 Singer-songwriter Harry Chapin stars in The Night That Made America Famous, a revue of his songs at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The supporting cast includes Harry's brothers Tom Chapin and Stephen Chapin as well as Lynne Thigpen. It runs 47 performances.

1978 Ira Levin's Deathtrap, starring John Wood, Victor Garber, and Marian Seldes, opens at the Music Box Theatre. It plays 1,793 performances, the longest Broadway run ever for a murder mystery. Seldes earns an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records after not missing a single performance of the play's run.

1989 Director-choreographer Jerome Robbins revisits his career as his Jerome Robbins' Broadway opens at Broadway's Imperial Theatre. The cast includes Jason Alexander, Faith Prince, Scott Wise, Debbie Gravitte, and Charlotte d'Amboise. It wins the Tony for Best Musical and runs 633 performances.

1999 José Quintero, the Panama-born director who won a Tony Award as Best Director for A Moon for the Misbegotten, dies at age 74. He directed Broadway productions of Long Day's Journey Into Night and The Iceman Cometh. On May 2, 2000, the Kaufman Theatre on 42nd Street is officially rechristened the José Quintero Theatre.

2003 With only a few days remaining until a March 2 contract expiration between their union and Broadway producers, Broadway pit musicians gather outside Broadway theatres to pass out literature explaining their grievances. Within days, they go on strike.

2004 Alfred Molina stars in a Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof directed by David Leveaux. It runs 781 performances, with Harvey Fierstein taking over the role of Tevye the following year.

2013 Manhattan Theatre Club's world premiere of Liz Flahive's The Madrid, starring Edie Falco as a mother and teacher who sheds her life and moves to a rundown apartment building, opens Off-Broadway at New York City Center Stage I.

2019 Alice By Heart, the new musical from Spring Awakening creators Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater and Waitress book writer Jessie Nelson, has its New York premiere Off-Broadway at MCC Theater. The show reimagines Lewis Carroll's story in World War II London and follows teenagers Alice Spencer (Molly Godron) and her dear friend Alfred (Colton Ryan) as they journey down the rabbit hole in an attempt to escape their harsh, violent reality.

Today's Birthdays: Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593). Victor Hugo (1802-1885). William Frawley (1887-1966). Robert Alda (1914-1986). Jackie Gleason (1916-1987). Mason Adams (1919-2005). Tony Randall (1920-2004). Betty Hutton (1921-2007). Godfrey Cambridge (1933-1976). Jane Wagner (b. 1935). Priscilla Lopez (b. 1948). David Edgar (b. 1948). Michael Cumpsty (b. 1960). John McDaniel (b. 1961). Justin Matthew Sargent (b. 1985).   

Flip through photos from the 2004 Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof:

Fiddler on the Roof (2004) Production Photos

More Today in Theatre History

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