Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: August 27

1878 Birthday of Sam S. Shubert, co-founder of the theatre-owning and producing titan the Shubert Organization. Broadway’s Shubert Theatre is named for him.

1929 Writer Ira Levin is born in New York. In 1978, Levin writes the mother of all Broadway thrillers, Deathtrap. Other plays include No Time for Sergeants and General Seeger.

1934 Opening night of the revue Life Begins at 8:40, written by Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg, and Ira Gershwin. Stars include Luella Gear, Frances Williams, and future Wizard of Oz co-stars Ray Bolger and Bert Lahr. The score includes “You’re a Builder-Upper.”

1963 Following a hit Off-Broadway run and a national tour, Arthur Kopit‘s comedy Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad opens on Broadway at the Morosco Theatre for a six-week run. Once again directed by Jerome Robbins, the production stars Hermione Gingold, Alix Elias, Sandor Szabo, and Sam Waterston.

1991 Thornton Wilder‘s The Matchmaker opens anew at Off-Broadway’s Roundabout Theatre Company‘s Haft Theatre. The original production of the play opened on Broadway December 5, 1955. The play was later adapted into the musical Hello, Dolly! by Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart.

2001 The musical Urinetown begins Broadway previews at Henry Miller’s Theatre.

2011 New York City shuts down under the threat of Hurricane (later downgraded to Tropical Storm) Irene. All Broadway and most Off-Broadway shows are canceled, and there is a system-wide shut down of New York City mass transit.

More of Today’s Birthdays: Theodore Dreiser (1871–1945). Sam S. Shubert (1878-1905). Frederick O’Neal (1905–1992). Martha Raye (1916–1994). David Shaw (1916–2007). Ira Levin (1929-2007). Paul Reubens (b. 1952). Peter Stormare (b. 1953). Yolanda Adams (b. 1961). Alexa PenaVega (b. 1988).