Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 30

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 30
Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hansen at Arena Stage.
Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hansen at Arena Stage. Margot Schulman

1983 Broadway lyricist Howard Dietz dies at age 87. With composer Arthur Schwartz, Dietz wrote the score for The Band Wagon. Other songs by the duo include "Dancing in the Dark," "You and the Night and the Music," and "That's Entertainment!"

1985 Sam Shepard's Curse of the Starving Class transfers from Off-Off-Broadway to open at Off-Broadway's Promenade Theatre. The play starring Bradley Whitford and Kathy Bates runs 267 performances, outlasting its predecessor by 205 shows. It ends its run February 16 of the following year.

1986 The producers of the Broadway production of The Little Prince and the Aviator are awarded $1 million in the New York State Supreme Court, as result of a suit they filed against the Nederlander Organization. The jury has decided that the Organization acted unreasonably when they posted their own closing notice outside the Alvin Theatre, although the producers of the show had never made any decision to close.

2002 Director and writer Phillip Oesterman dies of a heart attack at age 64. He had a long collaboration with Tommy Tune on projects including The Will Rogers Follies, My One and Only, Grand Hotel, and Tommy Tune Tonite! At the time of his death, Oesterman was serving as co-librettist and director of the Broadway-bound musical, Urban Cowboy. Lonny Price would later take over as director and guide the show to its spring 2003 opening, followed by a brief Broadway run.

2010 Will Chase, Adam Heller, Jeffrey Schechter, Eric Schneider, Amy Spanger, and Kelly Sullivan are among troupers in the world premiere stage musical Robin and the 7 Hoods – A New Musical at The Old Globe in San Diego, California. Inspired by the Frank Sinatra movie of the same name, the production—with book by Rupert Holmes and songs by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen—is directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw.

2013 Julie White joins the cast of the Tony Award-winning comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike for the final four weeks of its run, taking over the role of Masha from Sigourney Weaver.

2015 The world premiere of Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Steven Levenson's musical Dear Evan Hansen opens at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Ben Platt stars as awkward high school student Evan Hansen, who writes a letter that changes his life. The production begins performances on Broadway in November 2016, following a spring 2016 Off-Broadway run, and wins six Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Today's Birthdays: Frances de la Tour 1944. William Atherton 1947. Delta Burke 1956. Daniel McDonald 1960. Laurence Fishburne 1961.

Watch highlights from the 2015 world premiere of Dear Evan Hansen at Arena Stage:

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