Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: June 14

1929 Birthday of Broadway composer Cy Coleman, whose scores for shows like Sweet Charity, I Love My Wife, On the Twentieth Century, The Will Rogers Follies, The Life, and City of Angels show him to be equally adept with jazz, operetta, Big Band, country, and R&B.

1956 The revue New Faces of 1956 showcases the talents of future stars Maggie Smith, Jane Connell, Tiger Haynes, Virginia Martin, Bill McCutcheon, and Inga Swenson. The show offers sketches by Neil and Danny Simon, Paul Lynde, and Louis Botto, and songs by Marshall Barer and Ronny Graham, among others.

1969 After 97 preview performances, Jackie Mason and Mike Mortman‘s A Teaspoon Every Four Hours opens—and closes—on Broadway. The play’s unusually long preview period gives it the record for the most previews of a Broadway show before its opening night. Its record is surpassed exactly 42 years later, by Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark.

1979 Flowers for Algernon, a new musical by Charles Strouse and David Rogers, opens at London’s Queen’s Theatre. Based on the novel by Daniel Keyes, the show stars a pre-Phantom Michael Crawford as Charlie Gordon, the same role that won Cliff Robertson an Oscar for Charly, the film version of the novel. Cheryl Kennedy co-stars in the musical.

1979 Film star Al Pacino (already a household name thanks to the Godfather films and Dog Day Afternoon) returns to his Broadway roots in the title role of Richard III.

1988 Director José Quintero helms a revival of Eugene O’Neill‘s Long Day’s Journey Into Night at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre. Jason Robards stars as James Tyrone and Colleen Dewhurst as his wife Mary in the production that runs in repertory with another O’Neill play, Ah, Wilderness!.

1990 John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation premieres at Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi E. Newhouse, starring Stockard Channing, John Cunningham, and James McDaniel. Inspired by a true story, the play follows a group of wealthy New Yorkers who are taken in by a conman who claims to be the son of actor-director Sidney Poitier. The work eventually transfers to the Vivian Beautmont Theatre on Broadway, where it is Tony-nominated for Best Play and named a Pulitzer Prize for Drama finalist.

2001 Young people, New York City, music. Those are the ingredients that matter in a new musical comedy, I Sing!, opening at the Maverick Theatre Off-Broadway. Benjamin Salka directs the new work he co-wrote with composer Eli Bolin and lyricist Sam Forman. The libretto is by Bolin, Forman and Salka. The cast includes newcomers Billy Eichner, Jeff Juday, Jodie Langel, Michael Raine, and Meredith Zeitlin.

2006 Kate Burton stars as a woman scorned opposite Tony Goldwyn as her long estranged ex-husband when Theresa Rebeck’s The Water’s Edge opens its Off-Broadway premiere at Second Stage Theatre. Directed by Will Frears, the cast also includes Mamie Gummer, Austin Lysy, and Katharine Powell.

2007 10 Million Miles, the new Keith Bunin-Patty Griffin musical at the Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theatre. Directed by Tony winner Michael Mayer, the cast includes Matthew Morrison, Irene Molloy, Mare Winningham, and Skipp Sudduth.

2010 Obie, Lucille Lortel, and GLAAD Award winner Colman Domingo, having just been seen Off-Broadway in The Scottsboro Boys, joins the Broadway company of Chicago as Billy Flynn for a five-week limited engagement.

2011 Following the longest preview period in Broadway history—performances began November 28, 2010—Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark officially opens at Broadway’s Foxwoods Theatre. Over the course of its 182 previews, original director/librettist/designer Julie Taymor was replaced by creative consultant Philip Wm. McKinley and librettist Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who made changes to the musical during a month-long hiatus in April-May 2011. Reeve Carney stars as the superhero with the powers of a spider in the show which cost a reported $75 million, by far the most expensive in Broadway history.

2012 A revival of Mary Chase‘s 1944 Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy Harvey opens on Broadway at Studio 54. The Roundabout Theatre Company production stars Jim Parsons as Elwood P. Dowd, a man whose best friend is a 6-foot-tall rabbit.

More of Today’s Birthdays: Burl Ives (1909–1995). Dorothy McGuire (1916–2001). Sam Wanamaker (1919–1993). Gene Barry (1919–2009). Antony Sher (b. 1949). Jere Shea (b. 1965). De’Adre Aziza (b. 1977).