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Broadway Anniversaries and Milestones

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204842281

    On this day in 1987, the original Broadway production of Les Misérables opened at The Broadway Theatre. Adapted from Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel by Alain Boublil & Claude-Michel Schönberg, this musical came in following an already successful English-language debut in London’s West End. The original cast consisted of Colm Wilkinson, Terrence Mann, Randy Graff, Judy Kuhn, David Bryant, Frances Ruffelle, and Michael Maguire. Notable members of the ensemble included Jesse Corti (who went on to voice LeFou in the 1991 Disney animated film, Beauty & the Beast), and Anthony Crivello (a future Tony winner for Kiss of the Spider Woman). Prior to the Broadway opening, the $4,500,000 production had a more than $4,000,000 advance in ticket sales. It ended up winning 8 Tony Awards (including Best Musical), and ran for 6,680 performances after closing on May 18th, 2003. As of now, Les Misérables is the sixth-longest running show in Broadway history.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204854960

    Sorry this is three days late, but March 13th marked the 75th anniversary of the original production of Alan Jay Lerner & Frederic Loewe’s 1947 musical, Brigadoon, opening at the (now closed) Ziegfeld Theatre on Broadway.

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    Awardsfan1990
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    #1204855103

    I was in the ensemble of my high school’s production of that show in 9th grade. I had to wear a kilt as part of my costume.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204857244

    On this day in 2012, Once opened at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on Broadway. Adapted from John Carney’s 2007 Academy Award-winning Irish film musical by Enda Walsh, the original cast was led by Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti. The show came uptown following a successful run at Off-Broadway’s New York Theatre Workshop. Despite its source material being obscure to mainstream audiences, Once became much more commercially successful than initially anticipated. It even went on to win 8 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and ran for 1,168 performances after closing on January 4th, 2015.

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    Awardsfan1990
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    #1204857488

    Once ended up being the last pre-pandemic theater show I ever saw.

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    Awardsfan1990
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    #1204858497

    Legendary composer John Kander celebrates his 95th birthday today!!

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204859167

    Celebrating a very important birthday today is Glenn Close. While many people know her work on the big and small screens, she’s also an actress with 13 Broadway credits to her name. She may currently be the biggest losing actress in Oscar history (with 8 nominations and no wins…yet), but she does at least have 3 Tony Awards for her performances in The Real Thing, Death and the Maiden, and Sunset Boulevard. Glenn Close turns 75.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204863322

    Celebrating a very important birthday today is Chip Zien. An actor with 14 Broadway credits to his name, he most recently appeared in Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of Caroline, or Change last fall. Two of his most notable credits include appearing in the original productions of Into the Woods and Falsettos, originating the roles of The Baker and Mendel, respectively. Chip Zien turns 75.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204867286

    Matthew Broderick and Rosie O’Donnell both celebrated their 60th birthdays yesterday. Meanwhile, Santino Fontana turned 40.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204868941

    Celebrating a very important birthday today is John Goodman. While many people know his work on the big and small screens, he’s also an actor with 3 Broadway credits to his name. He made his main stem debut in the original cast of the 1985 Tony-winning musical, Big River, and has since appeared in revivals of Waiting for Godot and The Front Page, both of which also featured Nathan Lane. John Goodman turns 70.

    Today also happens to be Stephanie Mills’ 65th birthday. She is best known for originating the role of Dorothy in the 1975 Tony-winning musical, The Wiz.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204875142

    Celebrating some very important birthdays today are:

    Elton John; While everyone knows him as a much celebrated singer/songwriter, he’s also made a few contributions to Broadway. He has composed the scores for Aida (in collaboration with lyricist Tim Rice, which won both of them Tony Awards), Lestat (in collaboration with his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin, which was a huge flop), and Billy Elliot (in collaboration with book writer/lyricist Lee Hall). Not to mention the songs Elton wrote with Tim Rice for the Disney animated film, The Lion King, are featured in the Broadway stage adaptation. Coming up next are a Tammy Faye Bakker musical and a stage musical adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada. Elton John turns 75.

    Richard O’Brien, who is best known as the creator of The Rocky Horror Show (where he also originated the role of Riff Raff), turns 80.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204878133

    On this day in 1987, the original production of August Wilson’s Fences opened at the 46th Street (now Richard Rodgers) Theatre on Broadway. The original cast included James Earl Jones, Mary Alice, and Courtney B. Vance. The work itself won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, 4 Tony Awards (including Best Play), was revived in 2010 with Denzel Washington & Viola Davis, and was adapted into a 2016 Academy Award-winning film with most of the revival cast intact.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204887476

    On this day in 2012, Newsies opened at the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway. It was adapted from Disney’s 1992 live action movie musical of the same name, which in turn was inspired by the real-life newsboys strike of 1899 in New York City. The original film was a huge flop when it first came out, earning 5 Razzie Award nominations (including Worst Picture of the Year), but had since then developed a cult following after being released on home video. Much to the demand of ‘Fansies’, a stage adaptation premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse in September of 2011. Originally, Newsies was developed as something that could be legally licensed to schools and community theatres, but it was such a huge success at Paper Mill, that Disney decided to bring the show to Broadway, but only for a limited run. The original cast consisted of Jeremy Jordan, Kara Lindsay, Ben Fankhauser, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, John Dossett, and Capathia Jenkins. Notable members of the ensemble included Mike Faist (who went on to earn a Tony nomination for originating the role of Connor Murphy in Dear Evan Hansen and most recently appeared as Riff in Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of West Side Story) and Ephraim Sykes (who went on to play Seaweed J. Stubbs in NBC’s 2016 live production of Hairspray and earned a Tony nomination for originating the role of David Ruffin in Ain’t Too Proud). As the Broadway production was proving to be just as (if not, more) successful as its world premiere, Newsies then became an open-ended run. It received 8 Tony Award nominations (including Best Musical), and ran for 1,004 performances after closing on August 24th, 2014. The success of the show led to a national tour that ran for two years, a proshot with several original cast members reprising their roles, and is currently a popular choice for high schools, community, and regional theatres to produce.

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    Will, from Cal
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    #1204887551

    Jeffrey, I just thought it was time someone stopped by here to tell you you are doing a freaking public service with this and to never stop being a treasure on this site. We theater nerds need to stick together.

    I will forgive you for reminding me Newsies exists, because you just reminded me to rewatch that Once performance a few days prior. Magic, plain and simple.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204888621

    I will forgive you for reminding me Newsies exists, because you just reminded me to rewatch that Once performance a few days prior.

    How come?

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