Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 31

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: July 31
John Tartaglia in Avenue Q.
John Tartaglia in Avenue Q. Carol Rosegg

1967 Judy Garland is At Home at the Palace for a four week engagement at the famed theatre. Following a first act of vaudeville comic Jackie Vernon, soft-shoe and tap dancer John Bubbles, and juggler Francis Brunn, Garland performs a concert of signature songs including "The Man That Got Away," "Rockabye My Baby," "Chicago," and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." During the performance, Garland also introduces "her proteges" Joey and Lorna Luft.

1969 Talk about a writer's revenge! Josef Bush, who adapted De Sade Illustrated at Off-Broadway's Bouwerie Theatre, wreaks havoc on the set, spreading white paint all over it. His reason: a nude scene he doesn't approve of has been added.

1979 Brenda Braxton, Cleavant Derricks, Reginald Vel Johnson, and Lynn Thigpen are among the denizens of Wonderland in But Never Jam Today, Vinnette Carroll's all-black adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic Alice in Wonderland. It runs 8 performances at the Longacre Theatre.

1985 A revised version of the musical revue What's a Nice Country Like You...Doing in a State Like This? opens at Off-Broadway's Actors' Playhouse. Missy Baldino, Jane Brucker, Steve Mulch, Hugh Panaro, and Rob Resnick sing music by Cary Hoffman and lyrics by Ira Gasman. The show plays 252 performances before closing February 9.

2003 A musical in which puppets are the main characters? It may sound crazy, but the PG-13-rated musical, Avenue Q, opens at the Golden Theatre, confounding skeptics with an eyebrow-raising run that brings it the 2004 Tony Award as Best Musical. It stays on Broadway for 2,534 performances.

2004 On the Record, a revue featuring songs from classic Disney films and Disney's Broadway outings, closes in Denver after an eight-month tour. It's the first Disney legit show not to play on Broadway.

2009 Sheryl Lee Ralph, Barbara Walsh, and Karen Ziemba sing new songs by the legendary team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland in the new musical The First Wives Club. Opening at The Old Globe in San Diego, California, the musical inspired by the novel and film of the same name is directed by Francesca Zambello, and features a libretto by Rupert Holmes.

2012 Gore Vidal, the prolific man of letters who produced dozens of novels, memoirs, plays, essays and screenplays, and was a voluble and unrestrained cultural commentator, dies at age 86. Vidal's plays included A Visit to a Small Planet, The Best Man, An Evening with Richard Nixon and..., and Weekend. A revival of The Best Man was running on Broadway at the time of his death.

2016 A Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking musical Cats opens at the Neil Simon Theatre. Chart-topping British pop star Leona Lewis plays the role of Grizabella the Glamour Cat—the role originally created in London by Elaine Paige and subsequently on Broadway by Betty Buckley.

Today's Birthdays: Peter Nichols 1927. Don Murray 1929. Sab Shimono 1943. Geraldine Chaplin 1944. Richard Griffiths 1947. Vernel Bagneris 1949. Wesley Snipes 1962. Eve Best 1971. Daniel Evans 1973.

Watch highlights from the 2016 Broadway revival of Cats:

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