Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: January 27 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: January 27

In 1991, Stephen Sondheim's Assassins opens Off-Broadway.

The original Off-Broadway cast of Assassins. Martha Swope / The New York Public Library

1885 Birthday of master tunesmith Jerome Kern, who writes the scores to many Broadway classics, including Show Boat, Sally, Very Good Eddie, and Roberta.

1895 Birthday of lyricist Buddy DeSylva, who supplies words to songs in projects as diverse as Good News, Sally, Ziegfeld Follies of 1921, and several editions of George White's Scandals.

1895 Yet another songwriter is born on this date: Harry Ruby, composer and/or lyricist of The Five O'Clock Girl and the Marx Brothers' Animal Crackers.

1931 Broadway debut of Noël Coward's romantic comedy Private Lives, with Coward playing Elyot and Gertrude Lawrence as Amanda. It runs 256 performances at the Times Square Theatre, and goes on to become Coward's most-produced work—eight times on Broadway alone.

1939 Cyril Cusack is Christy Mahon, widely known as The Playboy of the Western World. The revival of John Millington Synge's work plays at London's Mercury Theatre.

1955 Barbara Cook has her first hit in an original musical, Plain and Fancy, set in Pennsylvania Dutch country. The Albert Hague/Joseph Stein musical runs 461 performances and becomes a staple of stock companies.

1959 Adapted from the film of the same name, Rashomon plays at the Music Box Theatre. Peter Glenville directs Claire Bloom, Rod Steiger, and Oscar Homolka in a 20-week run of the Fay and Michael Kanin dramatization from the original Japanese.

1969 Aristophanes' anti-war comedy Peace is updated by Tim Reynolds, and set to music with a score by Rev. Al Carmines. Lawrence Kornfeld stages the 192 performances at the Astor Place Theatre.

1974 Carol Channing stars as Lorelei, a Kenny Solms and Gail Parent musical, inspired by the show Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green provide the songs. Direction is handled by Robert Moore.

1982 After a successful life in London and stock productions, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice see the first musical they wrote together, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, open on Broadway. Laurie Beechman and Bill Hutton are featured in the production, which runs 747 performances at the Royale Theatre.

1991 Stephen Sondheim's new musical Assassins opens Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. Featured in the cast are Victor Garber, Debra Monk, Terrence Mann, Patrick Cassidy, and Annie Golden.

1997 John Gray's solo performance, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, based on his book of the same title, opens at the Gershwin Theatre. The show includes commentary on the relationships between men and women.

2005 Court TV brings the Off-Broadway drama The Exonerated to cable television with Brian Dennehy, Danny Glover, Delroy Lindo, Susan Sarandon, Aidan Quinn, and David Brown, Jr. starring as the wrongfully imprisoned.

2006 A theatrical tradition bites the dust: no more piles of opening night congratulatory telegrams as Western Union announces it is discontinuing telegram and commercial messaging services after 145 years.

2019 French composer Michel Legrand, who wrote the scores for Jacques Demy's movie musicals The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort as well as the 2002 Broadway musical Amour, dies at age 86.

More of Today's Birthdays: Benay Venuta (1910-1995). Doretta Morrow (1927-1968). James Cromwell (b. 1940). Nora Mae Lyng (1951-2017). Alan Cumming (b. 1965). Dyllón Burnside (b. 1989).

Stephen Sondheim's Assassins at City Center Encores! Off-Center

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