Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: October 8 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: October 8 In 1979, Sugar Babies opens on Broadway starring Ann Miller and Mickey Rooney.
Ann Miller and Mickey Rooney in Sugar Babies. Martha Swope / The New York Public Library

1857 Birth of Edward Franklin Albee, who, with B.F. Keith, controls one of the biggest circuits in vaudeville in the early 20th century. He is also grandfather and namesake of Pulitzer-winning dramatist Edward Albee.

1936 Hamlet opens at the Empire Theatre. John Gielgud in the title role racks up 132 performances, a record at that time for any Shakespeare play on Broadway. Guthrie McClintic directs the production, with sets by Jo Mielziner. Lillian Gish is Ophelia and Judith Anderson is Gertrude.

1938 Debut of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's comedy The Fabulous Invalid, about Broadway egos. Note that the term denoting Broadway's supposed ill-health was current at a time now considered a golden age of American theatre.

1946 José Ferrer unveils his landmark production of Cyrano de Bergerac, introducing his Tony-winning performance in the title role (in the first year Tonys were given), which he later recreates on film.

1956 Composer Charles Strouse makes his Broadway debut with incidental music for the play Sixth Finger in a Five Finger Glove, opening at the Longacre Theatre. It closes the next day. Strouse's "Six Finger Tune" reappears a few weeks later as the theme song for the new game show The Price is Right. Strouse has more success with his second Broadway outing, Bye Bye Birdie.

1961 An Evening With Mike Nichols and Elaine May showcases the two wits in an evening of memorable sketches at the John Golden Theatre. It runs 306 performances.

1979 Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller join forces for the burlesque-style Broadway revue, Sugar Babies, which runs 1,208 performances.

1980 Steve Tesich opens his new play about the denizens of a Chicago apartment house, Division Street, at the Ambassador Theatre. Although the comedy stars John Lithgow and Christine Lahti, it runs only 21 performances.

1998 Matthew Bourne delights and scandalizes Broadway with an all-male interpretation of the ballet Swan Lake, in a production that takes the central character out clubbing in London. Bourne wins the Tony Awards for Best Choreography and Best Direction of a Musical.

1999 At the Moscow Art Theater on October 26, 1899, Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya had its premiere. Nearly 100 years later, at Los Angeles' Geffen Playhouse, the pre-Revolution Russian drama about a retired professor-turned-gentleman-farmer and his niece is celebrated with a production adapted by Vanessa Burnham.

2009 Manhattan Theatre Club's revival of George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber's The Royal Family opens on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Rosemary Harris, Jan Maxwell, John Glover, and Ana Gasteyer star in the 1927 comedy classic about a family of over-the-top Broadway actors.

2011 A revival of Terence Rattigan's 1963 character study, Man and Boy, opens on Broadway at the Roundabout Theatre Company's American Airlines Theatre. Frank Langella stars as an internationally-known financier whose empire is toppling, with Adam Driver as his estranged son.

2015 The Broadway premiere of Sam Shepard's Fool for Love, starring Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell, opens at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. The play was previously seen in New York in a 1983 Off-Broadway production, starring Ed Harris and Kathy Baker.

More of Today's Birthdays: Nora Bayes (1880–1928). Peter Wood (1927–2016). Sigourney Weaver (b. 1949). Eric Booth (b. 1950). Anne-Marie Duff (b. 1970). Cameron Adams (b. 1982). Max Crumm (b. 1985).

Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda Bring Some Intensity to Broadway in First Shots of Fool For Love

More Today in Theatre History

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