Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: April 5

1906 Britain’s first actor-MP, A.E.W. Mason, delivers his first speech. The theatre community sees this as a victory, hoping it will have an advocate in the House of Commons.

1947 Hoping to keep their American Repertory Theatre subscription season alive, Eva Le Gallienne, Margaret Webster, and Cheryl Crawford revive Alice in Wonderland. It has an extended run of 100 performances.

1956 London’s Phoenix Theatre hosts The Power and the Glory. It is the second production of the Peter Brook-staged, Paul Scofield-starred season. There are 68 performances of Denis Cannan‘s adaptation of the Graham Greene story.

1962 A Thousand Clowns and Jason Robards make a run for it in the Herb Gardner comedy. Robards plays a nonconformist caring for his nephew and fighting the Welfare Department.

1998 Quentin Tarantino and Marisa Tomei open a Broadway revival of the 1966 thriller Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott. Tarantino, director/actor of cult classics Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, plays the psychotic stalker who preys on a blind woman, played by Tomei (Oscar winner for My Cousin Vinny). Playwright Knott made revisions for the production at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.

2001 A long-awaited Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman‘s musical Follies brings on those beautiful girls at the Belasco Theatre. The cast includes Blythe Danner, Treat Williams, Gregory Harrison, Marge Champion, and Joan Roberts (the original Laurey in Oklahoma!).

2007 Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg‘s windswept romantic epic The Pirate Queen opens on Broadway at the Hilton Theatre. Stephanie J. Block stars as Grace O’Malley, opposite Hadley Fraser as Tiernan.

2012 The first Broadway revival of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Evita opens at the Marquis Theatre. The cast is headed by Ricky Martin as Che, Elena Roger as Eva Perón and Michael Cerveris as Juan Perón.

2017 Kevin Kline returns to Broadway after a 10-year absence to star in a revival of Noël Coward‘s Present Laughter, opening at the St. James Theatre. Kline’s performance as Garry Essendine, a self-obsessed actor in the midst of a mid-life crisis, wins him his third Tony Award.

Today’s Birthdays: Walter Huston (1883-1950), Spencer Tracy (1900-1967). Melvyn Douglas (1901-1981), Bette Davis (1908-1989), Joseph Kipness (1911-1982), Goddard Lieberson (1911-1977), Gregory Peck (1916-2003), Christopher Hewett (1922-2001), Nigel Hawthorne (1929-2001), Frank Gorshin (1933-2005), Michael Moriarty (b. 1941), Victoria Hamilton (b. 1971), Todrick D. Hall (b. 1985)

Relive Kevin Kline’s Tony-winning turn in Present Laughter: