90 YEARS AGO (1926)
For Unborn Children, a play by future physical education teacher Myrtle Smith Livingston, becomes the first work of drama published in Crisis magazine. The one-act, which advocates against interracial marriage, will place third in the NAACP’s Amy Spingarn Contest for Literature and Art and win first prize from the Urban League.
85 YEARS AGO (1931)
Marking the end of an era, the final Ziegfeld Follies, Ziegfeld Follies of 1931, opens at the Ziegfeld Theatre in NYC. The revue, which leads tap-dancing duo Buck and Bubbles to prominence, will run for 165 performances.
55 YEARS AGO (1961)
While playing opposite Mae West in her play Sextette, stage and screen actor Alan Marshal suffers a heart attack and dies. The piece, West’s last self-authored play, is in its second performance at Chicago’s Edgewater Beach Playhouse. The production will not continue to NYC as hoped, though a film adaptation, starring West, will be released in 1978.
50 YEARS AGO (1966)
Colorado’s Creede Repertory Theatre, formed by 12 University of Kansas undergrads, executes its first changeover, from its inaugural Mister Roberts to The Bat. They almost didn’t get this far: The day after the first show opened, company member Connie Bohannon-Roberts fell and might have bled to death, but a local nurse and visiting doctor came to her rescue.
50 YEARS AGO (1966)
The Abbey Theatre is established. The Dublin theatre will go on to send several productions to the States, including two Tony winners for best play, Borstal Boy and Dancing at Lughnasa.
40 YEARS AGO (1976)
The Minneapolis-based feminist collective At the Foot of the Mountain, formed in Atlanta in 1974, debuts Raped: A Woman’s Look at Bertolt Brecht’s The Exception and the Rule at Pillsbury-Waite Cultural Arts Center. The devised piece, which employs the German dramatist’s play as a lens for confronting oppression, leads to national recognition for the company.
30 YEARS AGO (1986)
The Public Theater‘s staging of Reinaldo Povod’s Cuba & His Teddy Bear, featuring Robert De Niro and Ralph Macchio, transfers to Broadway for a 53-show run at the Longacre Theatre. The production marks De Niro’s sole performance on the Great White Way.