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April 24 - Ruth Kobart

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Happy Broadway Birthday to Ruth Kobart!

Ruth Maxine Kahn was born in Des Moines, IA, in 1924. She studied opera at Chicago’s American Conservatory of Music and made her New York debut off-Broadway as a witch in the opera “Hansel and Gretel.” She was a member of the New York City Opera and in 1955 landed a coveted role in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s new musical “Pipe Dream.” The show proved to be one of the team’s rare disappointments, clocking in with just 246 performances. Three years later she originated the role of Agata in Gian Carlo Menotti’s newest work “Maria Golovin” which premiered at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels. Later that year it was produced by David Merrick on Broadway where she re-created her role. It ran for just five performances and the opera is all but unheard today. The following year it was produced on television, which also landed her a role in Menotti’s more popular “The Consul” when it was televised in 1960. In 1961 she was Miss Jones in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Frank Loesser musical “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” The character had a break-out solo in the song “The Brotherhood of Man.” She also did the feature film adaptation of the show in 1967. Kobart’s next new musical was perhaps her most famous role, as the domineering Domina in Stephen Sondheim’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To the Forum.” It seemed she had an affinity for musicals with long titles! “Forum” earned her a 1963 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. From 1967 to 1993 she had an relationship with American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco, CA, but she still had time to nip back to NYC to make her non-musical Broadway debut with a revival of “A Flea in Her Ear” at the ANTA Playhouse. It ran in repertory with “The Three Sisters” in which she played Anfisa. Her final appearance on the Great White Way was as replacement for Dorothy Loudon as Miss Hannigan in the original production of “Annie.” She kept busy doing television guest roles and in feature films like “Sister Act” and “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.” She died at the age of 78 of pancreatic cancer.

smuppetbuttfluff:

veedeerest:

leanonberger:

summersxdelight:

durianseeds:

This is Alana Thompson aka Honey Boo Boo (Child).

She received $1700 dollars in donations from fans all around the world. Instead of keeping it for herself, using it for pageants, or for something else, she purchased toys for needy children in her area.

Her family gives to the needy AND supports equality for gays? Fuck you to whoever disses her. She’s 7 and shows more compassion than most people three times her age.

She’s my queen.

That is totally for publicity!

oh my god you’re right

let’s ignore this canned food drive they held too

oh right and this? $1300 in cash donated by fans to buy just THIS image of all these toys?

and oh shi-

this extreme amount of TOYS AND FOOD donated in a SINGLE night via their Christmas meet and greets with Santa (which Sugarbear dresses as Santa in the sweltering Georgia winter heat for hours at a time)

is all

publicity

and the fact that they take pictures of themselves with the *ALL* letters and trinkets their fans send them?

oh gosh, yes, this is totally publicity

Seriously, no one has any reason to talk crap on this family. They have never done a single thing wrong and look at all of the good they do for their community.

People hate them because they are Southern, overweight, and successful while still managing to be wonderful people.

I adore the Thompson Family.  I sent her the Seeing Eye dog card just to say thank you for their generosity toward the less fortunate.  

April 23 - William Shakespeare

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Happy Broadway Birthday to William Shakespeare!

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, in 1564. We celebrate his birthday today despite the fact that we only have his baptism date, April 24, as a matter of record. His plays have been translated into every living language and he is performed more than any other dramatist in history. At the age of 19 he began a successful career in London as an actor, author and part owner of an acting company. In total, his 37 plays have been performed on Broadway 446 times (not including adaptations, musicalizations and inspirations). The below list gives the first year of production on Broadway / the most recent year of production on Broadway – and the total number of productions:

  1. RICHARD III – 1750 / 2013 – 22 productions

  2. OTHELLO – 1750 / 1982 – 22 productions

  3. KING LEAR – 1754 / 2004 – 20 productions

  4. ROMEO AND JULIET – 1754 / 2013 – 26 productions

  5. HAMLET – 1761 / 2009 – 66 productions

  6. HENRY IV PT 1 – 1761 / 1960 – 7 productions

  7. CYMBELINE – 1767 / 2007 – 4 productions

  8. THE TAMING OF THE SHREW – 1768 / 1957 – 25 productions

  9. THE MERCHANT OF VENICE – 1768 / 2011 – 50 productions

  10. MACBETH – 1768 / 2013 – 49 productions

  11. KING JOHN – 1769 / 1915 – 4 productions

  12. AS YOU LIKE IT – 1786 / 1986 – 23 productions

  13. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING – 1787 / 1984 – 15 productions

  14. RICHARD II – 1787 / 1957 – 6 productions

  15. THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR – 1789 / 1938 – 7 productions

  16. JULIUS CAESER – 1794 / 2005 – 20 productions

  17. THE WINTER’S TALE – 1795 / 1946 – 5 productions

  18. HENRY VIII – 1799 / 1946 – 3 productions

  19. TWELFTH NIGHT – 1804 / 2013 – 31 productions

  20. HENRY V – 1804 / 1969 – 6 productions

  21. HENRY IV PT 2 – 1822 / 1960 – 3 productions

  22. A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM – 1826 / 1996 – 11 productions

  23. ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA – 1846 / 1952 – 6 productions

  24. THE TEMPEST – 1910 / 1995 – 5 productions

  25. TROILUS AND CRESSIDA – 1932 & 1956 

  26. CORIOLANUS – 1938 

  27. LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST – 1953

  28. MEASURE FOR MEASURE – 1957 & 1973 

  29. THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA – 1958 

  30. ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL – 1983

  31. A COMEDY OF ERRORS – 1987

  32. TIMON OF ATHENS – 1993

  33. PERICLES

  34. TITUS ANDRONICUS

  35. HENRY VI PT 1

  36. HENRY VI PT 2

  37. HENRY VI PT 3

The first Shakespeare play to be performed on Broadway (according to records) was “Richard III” at the Nassau Street Theatre in 1750. Since then it has been seen 21 times, the most recent closing just two months ago starring Mark Rylance. In 1752, the same theatre hosted “Othello” which has also been performed 21 times since, the most recent in 1982 starring James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer. “Hamlet” proved the most popular with 66 productions, closely followed by “The Merchant of Venice” with 50 productions and “Macbeth” with 49. Least popular of the plays are “Coriolanus,” “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” “The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” “All’s Well That Ends Well” and “Timon of Athens” - all clocking in with a single production and all only staged since 1938. Nine of the plays weren’t seen on Broadway until the 20th century and it seems unbelievable but several of the Bard’s plays still remain un-produced on the Great White Way: “Pericles,” “Titus Andronicus” and all three parts of “Henry VI.” It has been 21 years since Broadway ticked an un-produced Shakespeare play off the list. 

Most people know that “West Side Story” was inspired by “Romeo and Juliet” but few know that the very first musical riffing on Shakespeare was “Shylock,” based on “The Merchant of Venice,” produced in 1853 and revived in 1857. Some of the countless musical inspirations include: “The Boys From Syracuse” (based on “The Comedy of Errors”) in 1938 and 2002; “Swingin’ on a Dream” taken from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 1939; Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate” (based in part on “The Taming of the Shrew”) in 1948, 1952 and 1999; “Two Gentlemen of Verona” - a rock style musical by the creators of “Hair” in 1971; and the ill-fated “Oh, Brother!” a musical that was supposedly based on “The Comedy of Errors” (litigation pending, as the Playbill humorously notes). Of course, there are many, many others.

William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway in 1582 and the pair had three children together: Susannah, Hamnet, and Judith. Shakespeare died on this date, his estimated birthday, in 1616. Theories that he is not actually the author of the plays attributed to him continue to this day.  

April 22 - Martyn Green

Happy Broadway Birthday to Martyn Green!

William Martyn-Green was born in 1899 in London, England. His father was his first music teacher. After primary school he joined the National Service and was wounded. He returned home in 1919 and enrolled in the Royal College of Music. He made his stage debut that same year and his West End debut in 1921. The following year he joined the D’Oyly Carte Company (main producers of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas) and this decision determined the rest of his professional career. He quickly moved from the chorus to comic character roles, such as Major General Stanley in “The Pirates of Penzance,” Joseph Porter in “HMS Pinafore” and Ko-Ko in “The Mikado.” In 1934, the Green and the D’Oyly Carte Company found their way to Broadway where they produced dozen operetta repertoire of Gilbert and Sullivan. Green appeared in ten of them in three months. They repeated this in 1936, adding ten more credits to his Broadway resume. In 1939 he made his feature film debut repeating his now-famous role of Ko-Ko in “The Mikado.” Earlier in that year he appeared on Broadway for D’Oyly Carte again, this time in six roles including Ko-Ko. Naturally, as a premiere member of the company, Green was also heard on many of the recordings of the operettas. At the end of 1947 the troupe repeated the six-show repertoire once again on the Great White Way. After it ended, they toured the US and Canada and before sailing back to Britain they did another 8 week repertoire on Broadway during 1951. This was the last of the D’Olyly Carte productions. When Green returned to Broadway with his trademark roles a few months later, it was under different management. This would mark his last New York rendering of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas. His next outing on the Great White Way was the original musical “Shangri-La” based on “Lost Horizons.” It lasted a mere 21 performances. He stayed around to be in the cast of his first non-musical on Broadway, “Child of Fortune,” an adaptation of Henry James’ “Wings of the Dove.” It lasted just 23 performances. In 1957 he enjoyed a longer run as alternate and later replacement for Cyril Ritchard in Gore Vidal’s “Visit to a Small Planet.” In 1959, Green, who had survived two world wars, was injured in a garage elevator accident and lost his leg to amputation. For the next ten years he kept busy doing TV films and other projects before returning to Broadway as a replacement cast member in Peter Shaffer’s “Black Comedy” in which Lynn Redgrave made her Broadway debut. In 1969 he returned to musicals with “Canterbury Tales” in which he played Chaucer. In 1970 he was featured in a short-lived revival of “Charley’s Aunt” alongside Maureen O’Sullivan and Louis Nye. His final appearance on Broadway was in 1971’s “The Incomparable Max” opposite Richard Kiley and Clive Revill.

Green was married three times and had one daughter. He died of a blood infection in 1975.

as Ko-Ko in “The Mikado”

April 21 - Patti LuPone

Happy Broadway Birthday to Patti LuPone!

Patti Ann LuPone was born in 1949 in Northport, NY. Although her mother was a librarian and her father a school administrator, show business was in the family through her great aunt, the noted opera singer Adelina Patti (1843-1919). She has two brothers, one of whom – Robert – also went into show business. The other – William – became a teacher. After graduating from Northport High School she attended Juilliard alongside Kevin Kline and David Ogden Steirs graduating in 1972 with a BFA. She immediately became a member of John Houseman’s Acting Company, with which she later performed as Moll in “The Cradle Will Rock” in both New York and London. From December 1973 to January 1974 she appeared with Houseman’s company in a Broadway rep of five plays: “The Three Sisters,” “The Beggar’s Opera,” “Measure for Measure,” “Scapin,” and “Next Time I’ll Sing To You.” The following year she appeared in another rep for Houseman, this time featuring “The Robber Bridegroom,” “Edward II,” “The Time of Your Life,” (which she would also do for television in 1976) and “The Three Sisters” - once again playing Irina. In 1976 she was headed to Broadway in the Stephen Schwartz musical “The Baker’s Wife” but the show closed on the road. LuPone still sings it’s most soaring ballad, “Meadowlark” in her concerts.

She began doing plays by David Mamet with “The Water Engine” making it to Broadway in 1978. That same year she again worked with Schwartz on “Working” a musical that ran just 24 performances on Broadway. But her next endeavor would be her breakthrough hit – as Eva Peron in the American premiere of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita.” Although nominated for a Tony for “Robber Bridegroom” this show would win her the award and pretty much established her as one of Broadway’s biggest stars. That same year she also made her feature film debut in Stephen Spielberg’s “1941.” She played Nancy in a 1984 revival of “Oliver!” and “Accidental Death of an Anarchist” before heading across the pond to originate the role of Fantine in the musical “Les Miserables.” She won an Olivier Award for her work. Upon returning to the US, she stepped into the shoes of the great Ethel Merman by playing Reno Sweeney in the Lincoln Center Theatre revival of “Anything Goes.” She then turned to the small screen for a while, to play a suburban mom in “Life Goes On.” The series lasted four seasons. Set to return to stage work with “Sunset Boulevard” in the West End, she was shocked to be replaced by Glenn Close for the US premiere. 

In 1995 she returned to the Great White Way with a concert titled “Patti LuPone on Broadway.” She returned to dramatic roles playing Maria Callas as a replacement in “Master Class.” More drama ensued appearing in more Mamet with “The Old Neighborhood” before she returned to musical theatre for her second Broadway concert “Matters of the Heart.” A trio of distinguished revivals followed with “Noises Off,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Gypsy” which won her a second Tony Award. Her latest new musical theatre role was Lucia in “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” in 2010. Her third Broadway concert – this time with her “Evita” co-star Mandy Patinkin – and her third Mamet play “The Anarchist” round out her contributions to Broadway thus far. Most recently she appeared on TV’s “American Horror Story: Coven” and played herself in HBO’s “Girls.” 

In addition to her recording and concert stage career, she has been a wife and mother, married to Matthew Johnston since 1988 with one son, Joshua Luke, born in 1990.

Anybody that goes to the theater, I think we’re all misfits, so we ended up on stage or in the audience.” ~ Patti LuPone

as Mama Rose in “Gypsy” (2008)

April 20 - Nina Foch

Happy Broadway Birthday to Nina Foch!

Nina Consuela Maud Fock was born in Leiden, Netherlands, in 1924. She was born to an American actress and a Dutch music conductor. The pair separated when Nina was still a baby. She grew up in New York City and took an early interest in music and acting. She made her screen debut in the 1943 short “Wagons Wheels West.” Throughout her career, she appeared in more than 90 films, among her most famous being “An American in Paris” (1951), “The Ten Commandments” (1956) and “Spartacus” (1960). She made her Broadway debut in the 1947 comedy “John Loves Mary” which played 423 performances at two different venues. When the film was made in 1949 her role was taken by Patricia Neal. In 1949 she played Olivia in “Twelfth Night” also featuring Frances Reid as Viola, who later went on to be matriarch Alice Horton on TV’s “Days of Our Lives.” In 1950 Foch did the Christopher Fry one-act “A Phoenix Too Frequent” for five performances at the Fulton. [Say that five times fast!] On Christmas Day of that year, she played Cordelia in “King Lear” directed by John Houseman. Seven years later, she re-teamed with Houseman and Shakespeare on “Measure for Measure.” Three days after it closed, she appeared as Katharine in “The Taming of the Shrew” opposite Pernell Roberts under the direction of Norman Lloyd. The cast also included Jerry Stiller and Morris Carnovsky in comic roles. In 1960 she appeared with an all-star cast of Jean-Pierre Aumont, Shirley Booth and Carrie Nye in the short-lived play “A Second String,” based on the novel by Collette (“Gigi”). This proved to be her last appearance on Broadway, although she made her directorial debut in 1967 with “Tonight at 8:30,” a collection of Noel Coward one-acts. Foch staged “Ways & Means” a frothy comedy in the style of “Private Lives.” Her final film appearance was in 2003’s “How To Deal” and her final TV appearance was an episode of “The Closer” in 2007. Foch was married and divorced three times, the last being to James Lipton, host of TV’s “Inside the Actors Studio.” She had one son by her second husband, Dennis de Brito. Later in life, Foch enjoyed a career as an acting teacher at the University of Southern California. She died in 2008 at the age of 84.

Believe it or not, teaching is the most rewarding thing I do. It has been the most successful thing I’ve done in my life.” ~ Nina Foch

April 19 - Tim Curry

Happy Broadway Birthday to Tim Curry!

Timothy James Curry was born in Grappenhall, England, in 1946. He graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in English and Drama. While in the West End production of “Hair” in 1968 he met Richard O’Brien, who would be instrumental in changing Curry’s fate. O’Brien created “The Rocky Horror Show” and cast Curry in the role of Dr. Frankenfurter, a mad scientist and transsexual. He played the role at London’s Royal Court before bringing the musical satire to Broadway. “The Rocky Horror” show was not a hit on Broadway playing just 45 performances. But later in 1975 a film version was released with Curry repeating the role. Although it was marginalized to midnight screenings, it was there that it found its fame, and 40 years later it is still being shown late nights in cinemas worldwide. Curry did get recognized with a Drama Desk nomination for the show and that led to his being cast in his second Broadway role in Tom Stoppard’s “Travesties,” which won the 1976 Tony for Best Play. He began doing film and television in 1968 and has continued to do so throughout his career, playing Rooster Hannigan in “Annie” in 1982 and Wadsworth the Butler in “Clue” in 1985. In 1980 he returned to Broadway as Mozart in “Amadeus” opposite Ian McKellen. He was nominated for a Tony, but ironically lost it to his co-star, who played his arch rival Salieri on stage. Back in Britain, he stepped into the shoes of Kevin Kline, playing the Pirate King in Joe Papp’s production of “The Pirates of Penzance.”  He remained in London and Hollywood for more than a decade, before coming back to the Great White Way in “My Favorite Year” playing the role of Alan Swann (played by Peter O’Toole in the film version). He was nominated for his second Tony for the part. Another dozen years passed before he created the role of King Arthur in Monty Python’s “Spamalot” which brought him yet a third Tony nod, still with no award. Since then he has continued to do TV and film, specializing in voice work such as the upcoming animated film “Ribbit.” In May 2013 Curry suffered a stroke and has been doing physical therapy toward recovery.

I’m not a conventional leading man at all and have no wish to be.” ~ Tim Curry

with David Hyde Pierce in “Spamalot” (2005)

April 18 - James Rennie

Happy Broadway Birthday to James Rennie!

James Malachi Rennie was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1890. The son of a Mormon minister, he was involved in plays at an early age. During World War I he enlisted in the Canadian military and also performed for the soldiers. After the War was over, he headed to Hollywood to act in motion pictures. His first Broadway credit was in 1919 with “Moonlight and Honeysuckle” starring Ruth Chatterton. His first film was released in December of 1920, “Remodeling Her Husband” with Dorothy Gish. After filming the silent feature, the two were married. They remained so until 1935. During the 1920’s he divided his time between New York and Hollywood appearing in 14 films and just as many Broadway plays. In 1926 he played the title role in the stage version of “The Great Gatsby.” From February of 1930 to December 1939, Rennie appeared in a dozen more Broadway shows, including “Murder at the Vanities” in 1933. In 1939 he remarried to Sarah Eldon McConnell, a studio extra. Perhaps his most famous film role was Frank McIntyre in “Now Voyager” (1942) starring Bette Davis. In the 1940’s he only appeared on the Great White Way twice; in “Russian Bank” a large-cast failure in 1940 and “One-Man Show” in 1942, which actually had a cast of eight!  His final film was an un-credited appearance in the wartime drama “Bell of Adano” (1945) starring Gene Tierney and William Bendix. Back on Broadway, in 1951 he was a replacement for Howard Lindsay in Lindsday’s own play “Remains To Be Seen” starring Jackie Cooper and Janis Paige. His final appearance on Broadway (the last of his 30 credits on the Rialto) was the comedy “Four Winds” which ran three weeks at the Cort. Rennie died of heart failure in New York City at the age of 75.  

April 17 - Thornton Wilder

Happy Broadway Birthday to Thornton Wilder!

Thornton Niven Wilder was born in Madison, WI, in 1897. His father was a newspaper editor and many of his siblings became writers. He started writing plays in grade school. After a stint in the army he attended Oberlin University before getting a degree at Yale. He earned a Masters from Princeton. He taught French in Lawrenceville NJ and was awarded her first Pulitzer Price in 1928 for his second novel “The Bridge of San Luis Rey.” His first play on Broadway was “The Trumpet Shall Sound” in 1926. His follow-up was a translation of “Lucrece” (1932) produced and directed by the husband and wife team of Katharine Cornell and Guthrie McClintic. Late in 1937 he adapted Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” produced and directed by Jed Harris and starring Ruth Gordon. In 1938 he created his masterpiece, “Our Town,” a play that has been revived on Broadway four times (1944, 1969, 1988, and 2002) and also was filmed and televised. It is produced worldwide in theaters large and small to this day. He even played the Stage Manager for a time, several months into the original run. The play won him his second Pulitzer, this time for Drama. Later in 1938 Broadway also saw his play “The Merchant of Yonkers,” the story of a matchmaker named Dolly Levi and her relationship with dry goods merchant Horace Vandergelder. The play was not a success, lasting just 39 performances at the Guild Theatre. He re-wrote the play in 1955 and re-titled it “The Matchmaker.” David Merrick produced and Tyrone Guthrie directed. Ruth Gordon again starred and this time the play was a success racking up 486 total performances. It was filmed as well, before serving as the inspiration for 1964’s musical hit “Hello, Dolly!” also produced by Merrick. This, too, was made into a motion picture starring Barbra Streisand as the title matchmaker. In 1942 Wilder earned his second Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “The Skin of Our Teeth.” Although not quite as popular as “Our Town” today (due to its unwieldy production requirements), it is still often produced. It was revived on Broadway in 1955 and 1975. In 1948 the Cort Theatre hosted a pairing of two Wilder one-acts: “The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden” and “The Respectful Prostitute.” “The Happy Journey” capitalized on the format that made “Our Town” such a success a decade earlier: a stage manager as narrator and no scenery. Eerily enough, Wilder died in December 1975 just after a revival of “The Skin of Our Teeth” had closed and a revival of “Hello, Dolly!” was still playing. Capitalizing on Wilder’s large catalog of one-act plays, the Willow Cabin Theater Company brought their evening of Wilder one-acts titled “Wilder, Wilder, Wilder” to Broadway in 1993. In addition to the aforementioned “Happy Journey” the evening included “The Long Christmas Dinner” and “Pullman Car Hiawatha.” His last novel, “Theophilus North,” was published in 1973, and made into the film “Mr. North” in 1988.

I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.~ Thornton Wilder

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