Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: November 27
1906 Anna Held is The Parisian Model who inherits money mysteriously. Harry B. Smith provides the book and lyrics to Max Hoffman’s score. While the show is directed by Julian Mitchell, the production numbers are under the “personal direction” of Florenz Ziegfeld.
1911 Birthday of David Margulois, better known as Broadway producer David Merrick (1911-2000), whose highly developed taste, fierty temper, and flamboyant approach to public relations helps earn him the sobriquet “the abominable showman.” Among his long-running hits are Hello, Dolly!, Oliver!, and 42nd Street.
1927 The call is for First-Class Passengers Only at the Arts Theatre in London. Written by Osbert and Sacheverell Sitwell, the comedy stars Edith Sitwell as a social climber seeking retaliation. The cast includes Val Gielgud, Sybil Arundale, Phyllis Dean, and Esme Percy.
1928 American producer Gertrude Macy begins her theatrical career as assistant stage manager for Margaret Ayer Barnes’ adaptation of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, at the Empire Theatre in New York. Macy is also secretary to actor Katharine Cornell.
1929 With Fifty Million Frenchmen you can’t go wrong, especially when they’re singing music and lyrics by Cole Porter, along with a book by Herbert Fields. For nearly eight months songs like “You’ve Got That Thing” and “You Do Something To Me” fill New York’s Lyric Theatre. The cast includes William Gaxton as the American playboy trying to win Genevieve Tobin.
1937 The International Ladies Garment Workers Union turns producer to present a union-themed musical revue, Pins and Needles, which runs an astonishing 1,108 performances and launches the career of composer Harold Rome.
1962 A middle-aged man (Paul Ford) suddenly finds he’s going to be a father again in the Sumner Arthur Long comedy Never Too Late, which opens at the Playhouse Theatre and runs 1,007 performances.
1969 Henry Fonda plays the Stage Manager and Margaret Hamilton plays Mrs. Soames in a Broadway revival of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.
1994 Arthur Miller, playwright known for such plays as Death of a Salesman and The Crucible, is appointed a professor of contemporary literature at Oxford University.
2001 Pulitzer and Tony winner Proof begins a national tour in San Francisco. Such tours have become increasingly rare for non-musicals.
2006 Lincoln Center Theater hosts the U.S. premiere of The Coast of Utopia, Tom Stoppard’s sprawling trilogy of plays folliwng Alexander Herzen, a real-life 19th century Russian revolutionary who suffers the tragedy of being a half century too soon. Jack O’Brien directs a cast that includes Brian F. O’Byrne, Billy Crudup, Ethan Hawke, and Amy Irving. Part One, Voyage opens on this date, with the other two parts, Shipwreck and Salvage, joining it in December and February. The project wins the Tony Award for Best Play of 2007.
2008 Actor Patricia Marand, who was nominated for a 1966 Tony Award for her portrayal of Lois Lane in the Broadway musical It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman, dies in her Manhattan home. The cause was brain cancer. She was 74.
2011 Edwin Judd Woldin, a composer best known for his score for Raisin, a musical adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry’s classic work A Raisin in the Sun, dies at age 86.
More of Today’s Birthdays: Eugene Walter 1874. Vera Allen 1897. Priscilla Gillette 1925. Elizabeth Marvel 1969. Alison Pill 1985.