Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: January 7

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: January 7
Yul Brynner and Mary Beth Peil in The King and I.
Yul Brynner and Mary Beth Peil in The King and I.

1920 Vincenzo Scognamiglio is born in Naples, Italy. Doesn't sound familiar? Try Vincent Gardenia, who appears on the stage in The Wall, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, and Ballroom, as well as numerous films.

1924 Passengers on a mysterious shipboard journey turn out to be the dead coasting toward the afterlife in Sutton Vane's drama Outward Bound, which opens a 144-performance run at the Ritz Theatre, with Alfred Lunt, Leslie Howard, and Margalo Gillmore.

1935 The Petrified Forest looms at the Broadhurst Theatre. Robert E. Sherwood's melodrama has a cast that includes Leslie Howard, Peggy Conklin, and Humphrey Bogart.

1935 Judith Anderson and Helen Menken star in the opening night of The Old Maid, Zoe Akins' adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel about two sisters in love with the same man during the Civil War. It wins the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and runs 305 performances at the Empire Theatre.

1937 Lotte Lenya makes her New York City debut at the Manhattan Opera House. She plays Miriam in Franz Werfel's The Eternal Road, with music by her husband, Kurt Weill.

1943 Cole Porter's wartime soldiers-and-dancing-girls musical Something for the Boys stars Ethel Merman and Betty Garrett. It runs 422 performances at the Alvin Theatre. Songs include "Hey, Good Looking" and "By the Mississinewa." It is subsequently made into a film for Carmen Miranda.

1958 Tennessee Williams' Garden District consists of two one-acts: Suddenly, Last Summer and Something Unspoken. They are produced Off-Broadway at the York Theatre for a limited run. The duet is revived, to mixed notices, at Circle in the Square in 1995.

1975 John Cullum stars in the musical Shenandoah, based on the film of the same name. Opening at the Alvin Theatre, it runs 1,050 performances.

1985 Yul Brynner returns to Broadway for the final time in a revival of The King and I at the Broadway Theatre. He stars opposite Mary Beth Peil. Brynner receives an honorary Tony Award later the same year, celebrating his 4,525 performances in Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's 1951 masterpiece.

2002 Comedian and character actor Avery Schreiber, known for his standup comedy with Jack Burns in the 1970s, and for acting in plays and musicals, including Cy Coleman's 1989 Welcome to the Club, dies of a heart attack.

More of Today's Birthdays: Zora Neale Hurston 1891. Grace Hartman 1907.

Look through photos of The King and I on Broadway:

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