March 23, 2005

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Today In Theatre History: MARCH 23

By Robert Viagas
and Ernio Hernandez and Anne Bradley
23 Mar 2005

1940 It's Separate Rooms for an actress who'd rather sleep with her pet Chihuahua than her playwright husband. Glenda Farrell and Lyle Talbot are the twosome. This comedy by Alan Dinehart and Joseph Carole will run 613 performances.

1964 Actor Peter Lorre died today in Hollywood. Known mainly as a film actor, in the 1950s he appeared at several theatres doing monologues and poetry readings. He was 60 years old.

1966 Hal Holbrook opens at Broadway's Longacre Theatre in Mark Twain Tonight!. Holbrook toured widely with this show since it was first produced in 1959 Off-Broadway. This production will run for nine weeks.

1971 This downtown One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest soars more successfully than its earlier Broadway flight. Kirk Douglas starred in that short-lived production of the Ken Kesey novel. William Devane heads this cast in Dale Wasserman's revised adaptation. It will run for 1,025 performances at the Mercer-Hansberry Theatre in Greenwich Village.

1994 Two years after the infamous riots following the Rodney King verdict in Los Angeles, Anna Deavere Smith's Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 opens Off Broadway at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre. The text of this dateline drama is taken from interviews she had with people directly or indirectly involved in the case. The play, which premiered at the Center Theatre Group/ Mark Taper Forum, will transfer to Broadway following its runs at NJ's McCarter Theatre and the Public.

1995 Matthew Broderick teaches Broadway How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying as the Frank Loesser musical is revived at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Broderick will win the Tony for his performance then be 'succeed'ed by John Stamos for a brief stint before returning to close the show July 14, 1996 with his real-life sweetheart (and future wife) Sarah Jessica Parker.

2003 The film version of the musical Chicago wins six Oscars including Best Picture at the 75th Anniversary Academy Awards. The win marks the first time a movie musical has taken home the Best Picture Oscar in more than three decades (Oliver! was the last, in 1968). Other Oscars for the film include Catherine Zeta-Jones for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of killer showgirl Velma Kelly. (Zeta-Jones was nominated in a category that also included her Chicago co-star, Queen Latifah.)



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