Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 3 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: December 3 In 1947, Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire opens on Broadway.
Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, and Jessica Tandy in A Streetcar Named Desire

1888 One of Frances Hodgson Burnett's greatest successes opens: Little Lord Fauntleroy, starring Tommy Russell. The play tells the story of a American boy who discovers he's the heir to a British fortune and is sent to live with a cold-hearted caretaker. It is frequently revived, toured, and filmed over the next century.

1947 A Streetcar Named Desire makes its historic stop at the Barrymore Theatre. Tennessee Williams' play stars Jessica Tandy, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, and Karl Malden in an 855-performance ride. It wins the Drama Critics' Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

1953 Alfred Drake, Richard Kiley, and Doretta Morrow star in "a Musical Arabian Night" called Kismet, beginning a 583 performance run at the Ziegfeld Theatre. The score by Robert Wright and George Forrest, based on the music of Alexander Borodin, includes the songs "Stranger in Paradise" and "Baubles, Bangles and Beads."

1960 Richard Burton's reign as King Arthur of Camelot begins at the Majestic Theatre. The Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe musical was adapted from T. H. White's The Once and Future King. Citizens of the enchanted land include Julie Andrews, Robert Goulet, and Roddy McDowall. It runs for 873 performances.

1964 Arthur Miller's Incident at Vichy opens at the Washington Square Theatre. The story involves a group of prisoners detained by Nazis in Vichy, awaiting deportation to concentration camps. The cast includes Hal Holbrook, David Wayne, and Paul Mann.

1973 Bette Midler opens at the Palace Theatre. Since the show was styled and reviewed as a concert rather than a Broadway show, it is classified as one by the Tony Awards committee. They bestow a special award to Midler for "superior concert entertainment on the Broadway stage."

1997 With the resumption of performances of the 1776 revival at the Gershwin Theatre, Broadway sets a modern record by having 23 musicals playing simultaneously. Such a large number of musicals running at once had not occurred since at least the 1960s and possibly as far back as the 1920s.

2001 New York's landmark Drama Book Shop reopens in a roomier new location at 250 W. 40th Street, after a generation on Seventh Avenue and 48th Street.

2002 The Sound of Music film leads Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer star in a national tour of the holiday-themed A Royal Christmas. Andrews and Plummer serve as the Mistress and Master of Ceremonies for the holiday extravaganza, featuring a cast of 150 dancers, singers, and musicians.

2003 Jefferson Mays plays some 40 characters in Doug Wright's solo drama, I Am My Own Wife, about a real-life German transvestite, Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, who survived both the Nazis and the Communists. The production was first seen Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. It goes on to win the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play.

2003 Mary Tyler Moore withdraws from the Off-Broadway debut production of Neil Simon's latest play, Rose's Dilemma, after Simon writes a note critical of her performance. She leaves the theatre moments before the matinee performance.

2008 Liza Minnelli returns to Broadway for the first time in nearly a decade in her concert show Liza's At The Palace, paying tribute to her godmother, vocal arranger and performer Kay Thompson.

2017 Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's 1990 musical Once on This Island returns to Broadway in a new revival at the Circle in the Square Theatre. Michael Arden directs the immersive staging, set in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane. Hailey Kilgore makes her Broadway debut as Ti Moune, starring opposite Merle Dandrige, Quentin Earl Darrington, Alex Newell, and Lea Salonga. The production wins the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

2018 Stephanie J. Block, Teal Wicks, and Micaela Diamond share the role of entertainer and pop-culture icon Cher in The Cher Show, opening on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre. Written by Rick Elice, the musical uses 35 Cher songs to chart her journey from kid on a tricycle to rock goddess. Block's performance wins her the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.

More of Today's Birthdays: Sylvia Syms (b. 1920). Patricia Falkenhain (1926–2004). Alfred Uhry (b. 1936). Mary Alice (b. 1941). Julianne Moore (b. 1960). Brendan Fraser (b. 1968). Kyle Jean-Baptiste (1993–2015).

We Dance: Celebrating the 2017 Revival of Once On This Island on Broadway

More Today in Theatre History

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