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This Month in Theatre History

George Frederick Cooke, the Curran Theatre, City Center Acting Company, and more.

200 YEARS AGO (1812): George Frederick Cooke, the first foreign actor to achieve stardom on the American stage, dies at 56 from causes related to alcoholism. The high point of the English thespian’s career is also its end—after traveling across the U.S. for a 160-performance tour, he dies unexpectedly in New York.

90 YEARS AGO (1922): The Curran Theatre in San Francisco opens with Edward Locke’s new comedy Mike Angelo—though the main attraction is perhaps the 1667-seat auditorium itself, complete with grand chandelier. Named for local producer Homer Curran and funded by NYC’s Sam and Lee Shubert, the theatre will remain active into the 21st century, hosting many post-Broadway tours.

40 YEARS AGO (1972): Performances of the City Center Acting Company’s first production, School for Scandal, begin. The group was formed when John Houseman, then head of the Juilliard School’s drama division, decided to keep his first class together. That class included Kevin Kline and Patti LuPone, both of whom are in the cast of this show.

10 YEARS AGO (2002): Richard Greenberg’s baseball drama Take Me Out opens at New York City’s Public Theater. It will go on to win the 2003 Tony Award for best play after a transfer to Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre, and will be the most produced play among TCG member theatres in the 2004–05 season.

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