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Broadway Anniversaries and Milestones

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1203891348

    Also on this day in 1960, the original Broadway production of Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Lowe’s Camelot starring Richard Burton & Julie Andrews opened at the Majestic Theatre. Despite mixed critical reviews, the show became a hit through its original cast recording and performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. While it failed to receive a Tony nomination the following year for Best Musical, Camelot still managed to win 4 awards (including Lead Actor in a Musical for Richard Burton).

    It is now the 60th anniversary of the original production of Camelot opening at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1203928288

    On this day in 1980, the original production of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus starring Tim Curry & Ian McKellen opened at the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway. The following year, it ended up winning 5 Tony Awards (including Best Play). In 1984, a film adaptation directed by Miloš Forman starring Tom Hulce and F. Murray Abraham was released in movie theaters nationwide. The following year, it ended up winning 8 Academy Awards (including Best Picture).

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    Awardsfan1990
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    #1203987970

    Happy 90th birthday to the legendary James Earl Jones!!

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204008118

    On this day in 1966, the original production of Sweet Charity opened at the Palace Theatre on Broadway. It was conceived, directed, & choreographed by Bob Fosse while the original cast was led by his wife, Gwen Verdon. In a season that was dominated by other hits such as Mame and Man of La Mancha, Sweet Charity still managed to hold its own receiving 9 Tony Award nominations (including Best Musical), winning one accolade for Fosse’s choreography, and a respectable run of 608 performances after closing on July 15th, 1967. Shortly thereafter, Shirley MacLaine suggested to Universal Pictures about producing a film adaptation for her to star in. Bob Fosse made his feature directorial debut on the movie while Gwen Verdon served as an assistant choreographer. While the film was an all around disappointment when it first came out in 1969, that did not mark the end of Fosse’s career in Hollywood as he went on to helm four more theatrical movies, including 1972’s Cabaret, which won him an Oscar for Best Director (over Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather). Meanwhile, Sweet Charity has since been performed in regional productions and has received two Broadway revivals.

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    Awardsfan1990
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    #1204019141

    Happy 65th birthday to Nathan Lane!!

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204054171

    The following Broadway icons celebrating important birthdays today are:

    Lea Salonga, Tony winner for her breakout role as the original Kim in Miss Saigon in London and on Broadway, who turns 50.

    Ellen Greene, the original Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors Off-Broadway (which she also got to reprise in the popular 1986 film adaptation), who turns 70.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204085276

    It has now been one year since the final Broadway show, Girl From the North Country, opened before the shutdown began one week later.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204089587

    Celebrating a very important birthday today is Bryan Cranston. While we all know (and love) him for his work on the big and small screens, he has so far appeared on Broadway twice: First in 2014 as Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way, then in 2018-19 as Howard Beale in Network, winning Tony Awards for Best Lead Actor in a Play for both of those performances. Bryan Cranston turns 65 today.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204111376

    Celebrating a very important birthday today is showbiz legend Liza Minnelli. The daughter of legendary filmmaker Vincent Minnelli and legendary actress Judy Garland, she managed to establish herself as her own entity over the years. Some of Liza’s awards success was owed to the songwriting team of John Kander & Fred Ebb, from her Tony-winning performances in Flora, The Red Menace (1965) and The Act (1978) to her Oscar-winning turn as Sally Bowles in the 1972 film adaptation of Cabaret.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204131813

    On this day in 1956, the original production of My Fair Lady opened at the (now closed) Mark Hellinger Theatre on Broadway. Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play, Pygmalion, the musical was written by composer Frederick Loewe and book writer/lyricist Alan Jay Lerner. The original cast starred a then 20-year-old Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle and Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins. The production went on to win 6 Tony Awards the following year (including Best Musical), and ran for a total of 2,717 performances after closing on September 29th, 1962. In 1964, Warner Brothers brought My Fair Lady to the big screen with a film adaptation directed by George Cukor with Rex Harrison reprising his role as Henry Higgins while Audrey Hepburn replaced Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle. The movie ended up winning 8 Academy Awards (including Best Picture), with Harrison becoming one of 11 performers to have won a Tony and an Oscar for the same role. While Hepburn was sadly overlooked for a Best Actress nomination, the Oscar ironically ended up going to Julie Andrews that year for her motion picture debut as Mary Poppins. In the years since, My Fair Lady has been performed all over the world in community theatres, high schools, and regional productions, as well as receiving four Broadway revivals. Not to mention that to this day, it is still considered to be one of the greatest musicals ever written.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204154857

    On this day in 2011, The Book of Mormon opened at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre on Broadway after nearly seven years of development. The musical was written by Trey Parker & Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, in collaboration with Robert Lopez, one of the co-creators of Avenue Q. The original cast was led by Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad, who have since both gone on to achieve greater fame elsewhere. The Broadway production earned some very overwhelming praise from critics (especially for the plot, score, performances, direction, and choreography), went on to win 9 Tony Awards (including Best Musical), and the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. As an overall brand, The Book of Mormon has grossed over $500,000,000, making it one of the most successful stage musicals of all time.

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    #1204163445

    On this day in 1951, the original production of The King and I opened at the St. James Theatre on Broadway. Adapted from Margaret Landon’s 1944 semi-fictionalized biographical novel, Anna and the King of Siam, the musical was written by composer Richard Rodgers and book writer/lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II. The original cast starred Gertrude Lawrence as Anna Leonowens and Yul Brynner as The King of Siam. The production went on to win 5 Tony Awards the following year (including Best Musical), and ran for a total of 1,246 performances after closing on March 20th, 1954. In 1956, 20th Century Fox brought The King and I to the big screen with a film adaptation directed by Walter Lang with Yul Brynner reprising his role as The King of Siam while Deborah Kerr took over as Anna Leonowens since Gertrude Lawrence sadly passed away on September 6th, 1952 shortly after giving her final performance in the Broadway production. The movie received 9 Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture), and ended up winning 5 of them. One of those wins was Best Actor for Brynner, who became one of 11 performers to have won a Tony and an Oscar for the same role. In the years since, The King and I has been performed all over the world in community theatres, high schools, and regional productions, as well as receiving four Broadway revivals. Not to mention that to this day, it is still considered to be one of the greatest musicals ever written, with several of its songs becoming standards. Most notably ‘Hello Young Lovers’, ‘Getting to Know You’, and ‘Shall We Dance?’.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204174587

    On this day in 1971, the original production of Follies opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway. Directed by Hal Prince (who also produced) and Michael Bennett (who also choreographed), this show was inspired by an article from the New York Times that book writer James Goldman and composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim read about a gathering of former showgirls from the Ziegfeld Follies. The production went on to receive 11 Tony Award nominations the following year (including Best Musical). Yet despite winning the most accolades of the night (which would be 7), the biggest award of them all went to Two Gentlemen of Verona. Though in the years since, Follies has gone on to endure through several of its songs becoming standards, two major Broadway revivals, and regional productions all over the world.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1204191394

    On this day in 1991, the original Broadway production of Miss Saigon opened at The Broadway Theatre after having premiered in London’s West End almost a year and a half earlier. Based on Giacomo Puccini’s 1904 opera titled Madame Butterfly, this musical was created by Alain Boublil & Claude-Michel Schönberg as the follow-up to the enormous success of their previous work, Les Misérables. The story was inspired by a photograph, which composer Claude-Michel Schönberg found inadvertently in a magazine. It showed a Vietnamese mother leaving her child at a departure gate at Tan Son Nhut Air Base to board an airplane headed for the United States where the child’s father, an ex-GI, would be in a position to provide a much better life for the child. Schönberg considered this mother’s actions for her child to be “The Ultimate Sacrifice,” an idea that was central to the plot of Miss Saigon. The original cast included Lea Salonga, Jonathan Pryce (who received a ton of controversy for being a white British actor playing a Eurasian character), Willy Falk, Hinton Battle, and Liz Callaway. In fact, someone who made his Broadway debut in the ensemble was a young black performer named W. Ellis Porter. Since then, he’s become known as Billy Porter, and has in recent years won a Tony and a Grammy as an original cast member of Kinky Boots, and even more recently won an Emmy for his role on the FX series, Pose. The production received 11 Tony Award nominations (including Best Musical), and ended up winning 3 acting prizes for Pryce, Salonga, and Battle. Not to mention that Miss Saigon became a big hit that ran for almost 10 years and 4,092 performances on Broadway after closing on January 28th, 2001.

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    Awardsfan1990
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    #1204197002

    Amanda Green has made history by becoming the first woman to be named President of the Dramatists Guild of America. https://www.broadway.com/buzz/200631/amanda-green-branden-jacobs-jenkins-more-join-milestone-board-for-the-dramatists-guild-of-america/

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