April 11, 2014 at 11:01 am #432738
Lots of shows have been doing press releases recently about moving up on the all-time long runs charts, etc. (including Once‘s ridiculous press release about breaking the “record” held by Spring Awakening when in acutality, it just passed it for, like, 693rd place on the runs list). As a student of Broadway history, I thought it might be fun to note anniversaries and milestones here.
Up first: Miss Saigon opened at the Broadway Theatre 23 years ago today (April 11, 1991). That makes me feel very old. I was a college sophomore at the time and saw the show at the Saturday matinee before the Tonys a couple of months after its opening. I don’t know whether to call the show a guilty pleasure or not. I certainly love it and know it has its detractors, but I still found the melodies lush and the story compelling and incredibly well-staged. Melodramatic in some sequences, yes, but it totally worked for me.May 13, 2014 at 7:52 am #432740
The Pajama Game opened 60 years ago today (5/13/54) at the St. James Theatre. It ran for 1063 performances and won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical.May 13, 2014 at 11:30 am #432741
Didnt Funny Girl just celebrate it’s fiftieth a month ago or so?May 16, 2014 at 7:00 am #432742
Annie Get Your Gun opened on this date (5/16) in 1946. It ran 1147 performances. No Tonys, because the Tonys weren’t invented until 1947.June 17, 2014 at 1:16 pm #432743
Thirty-five years ago today (on 6/17/79), one of Broadway’s most famous curios opened at the Minskoff Theatre: the unfortunately-titled (and just generally unfortunate) Got Tu Go Disco. I’m ashamed to tell you that I know the plot concerned a shopgirl who hates disco until she is convinved to go to the local dance club, where she becomes its icon. The show played a troubled preview period, opened to devastating notices, and closed a week later. Amazingly, a couple of the songs (including the title boogie-fest) were recorded by disco artists of the day. They do not indicate that the show is crying out for a revival.August 21, 2014 at 11:29 am #432744
The original production of La Cage aux Folles opened 31 years ago today on 8/21/83 at the Palace. It would go on to win six Tony awards, including Best Musical, Book and Original Score (beating out Sunday in the Park with George for all of them). It is the only musical which has had two revivals win the Best Revival Tony. (We’ll see if The King and I can match that this upcoming season.)November 5, 2014 at 5:56 am #432745
Sondheim & Lapine’s original production of Into the Woods opened on this date in 1987. It would go on to win Tony Awards for Book, Score and Leading Actress (Joanna Gleason as The Baker’s Wife). It ran 765 performances.
Coincidentally, I saw a really terrific local professional repertory production last night. A very different, but effective, take on the staging with a beautifully-sung Witch by Lisa Brescia, who has played both Elphaba and Amneris on Broadway. The choreography for the “Agony” duets was a brilliant riot.December 11, 2014 at 6:06 am #432746
One of my personal favorites, City of Angels, opened 25 years ago today (12/11/89). It ran for 879 performances and won six Tony Awards:
- Best Musical
- Best Book of a Musical (Larry Gelbart)
- Best Original Score (Cy Coleman [music]; David Zippel [lyrics])
- Best Scenic Design (Robin Wagner)
- Best Leading Actor in a Musical (James Naughton)
- Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Randy Graff)
Revival, please! How awesome would Christian Borle be as Stine? Brian Stokes Mitchell as Stone? Laura Benanti as Gabby/Bobbi? Annaleigh Ashford as Donna/Oolie?December 30, 2014 at 6:43 am #432747
The original production of Kiss Me Kate opened on this date (Dec. 30) in 1948 at the New Century Theatre. It ran 1077 performances and won the very first Tony Award for Best Musical.January 23, 2015 at 1:20 pm #432748
Chita Rivera turns 82 today. Starting in March, she will be headlining a new Broadway musical. This makes you an underachieving slug.January 26, 2015 at 7:06 am #432749
The Phantom of the Opera opened 27 years ago today.May 21, 2015 at 10:53 am #432750
Gypsy opened on this date (May 21) in 1959. It ran 702 performances. It was nominated for 8 Tonys but won none, though today it is generally recognized as one of the all-time great musicals and as such, is revived about every 15 minutes.June 29, 2015 at 6:44 am #432751
The original Broadway production of Sweeney Todd closed 35 years ago today after 557 performances and eight Tonys, including Musical, Book, Score, Direction, Actor, and Actress.
For my money, the finest score ever composed for the American musical theater.
Ancillary amusing side note: Sweeney Todd played at the Uris Theatre, now the Gershwin. When that house first opened in 1972, its first production was the legendary train wreck Via Galactica. The original title of that show was Up!, until someone realized that the marquee was going to read Up! Uris.October 14, 2017 at 4:00 pm #1202237284
On this day in 1961, the original production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying opened on Broadway at the 46th Street (now Richard Rodgers) Theatre. It not only went on to win 7 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) the following year, but also became one of nine musicals to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Since then, the musical was brought to the big screen in 1967 with four members of the original cast reprising their roles, and revived on Broadway twice in 1995 and 2011, respectively.October 18, 2017 at 5:29 am #1202241463
On this day in 1990, the original production of Once on This Island opened on Broadway at the Booth Theatre following a successful premiere at off-Broadway’s Playwrights Horizon. It went on to receive 8 Tony Award nominations (including Best Musical).
And now, the first Broadway revival is set to begin previews in three weeks.