Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: October 2 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: October 2 In 2003, Little Shop of Horrors makes its Broadway debut starring Hunter Foster and Kerry Butler.
Hunter Foster and Kerry Butler in Little Shop of Horrors. Paul Kolnik

1890 Julius Henry Marx is born in New York. Under the nickname "Groucho," he and his brothers form one of the most enduring comedy acts ever, The Marx Brothers, rising from vaudeville to Broadway, and later recreating their Broadway hits on film, including The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers.

1893 Brandon Thomas' farce Charley's Aunt premieres on Broadway at the Standard Theatre. It is later revived on Broadway five times—in 1906, 1925, 1940, 1953, and 1970—and serves as the basis for Frank Loesser and George Abbott's 1948 musical Where's Charley?

1896 Birthday of Bud Abbott, the "straight man" half of the comedy team Abbott and Costello. They appear together in one Broadway musical, Streets of Paris, in 1939, but the team uses Burlesque as their route to film fame.

1933 Ah, Wilderness!, a rare comedy from Eugene O'Neill, opens on Broadway at the Guild Theatre. Starring George M. Cohan as Nat Miller, it runs for 35 weeks.

1953 Comedy in Music, Victor Borge's solo revue of jokes and piano virtuosity, opens on Broadway and runs for 849 performances, still a record for a solo musical revue.

1958 Eugene O'Neill is the posthumous toast of Broadway as his A Touch of the Poet opens at the Helen Hayes Theatre. The cast, directed by Harold Clurman, includes Kim Stanley and Helen Hayes, playing mother and daughter. Brooks Atkinson calls the two ladies "the two finest actresses of their respective generations." The play, about a 19th-century Irish family living in New England, runs 284 performances.

1981 John Raitt and Rosemary Yorba are married. The two had been engaged in 1940, but since their families disapproved, they went on to marry others. Today they are together at last.

1994 The elaborate Harold Prince revival of Show Boat opens at the Gershwin Theatre. Elaine Stritch, Rebecca Luker, and Mark Jacoby star.

1996 The Theresa Rebeck adaptation of Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros gets an Off-Broadway revival at Theater Four. Directed by Michael Murray, it is the first major revival since the original Broadway production in 1961.

2001 Richard Rodgers Production Award-winning musical The Spitfire Grill opens Off-Broadway. With music and book by James Valcq, the show's cast album is dedicated to the memory of lyricist/co-librettist Fred Alley, who died suddenly just as the show was being prepared for its initial reading.

2003 Hunter Foster and Kerry Butler star in a Broadway production of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's musical Little Shop of Horrors, which ran for several years Off-Broadway in the 1980s, but only now makes its Broadway debut. The production runs 10 months at the Virginia Theatre.

2008 Kristin Scott Thomas stars in a Broadway revival of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. Thomas recreates her performance as Arkadina that won her an Olivier Award when the production originated at the Royal Court Theatre in London. The cast also includes Peter Sarsgaard as Trigorin, Mackenzie Crook as Konstantin, and Carey Mulligan as Nina. Ian Rickson directs Christopher Hampton’s new translation of the drama about a master actor and the writers and artists who gather at her summer home.

2013 Danny DeVito and Judd Hirsch play former vaudeville co-stars who must bury the hatchet when Hollywood calls in Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys, opening at Center Theatre Group's Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.

2014 Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Donald Margulies' The Country House opens on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Blythe Danner stars in the Chekhov-inspired drama about a family of actors who wrestle with fame, art, and each other.

2019 Following a hit, sold-out run downtown, Freestyle Love Supreme opens on Broadway at the Booth Theatre. A blend of hip-hop, improvisational theatre, music, and vocal stylings, Freestyle Love Supreme is created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, and Anthony Veneziale, and features a core nightly cast as well a number of guest stars throughout the run—including Miranda, James Monroe Iglehart, Daveed Diggs, and Christopher Jackson.

More of Today's Birthdays: Dale Soules (b. 1946). Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner aka Sting (b. 1951). Lorraine Bracco (b. 1954). Samantha Barks (b. 1990).

More Today in Theatre History

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