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AT THIS THEATRE

[[image - line drawing of The Broadway theatre]] 
[[credit]] STAN STARK [[/credit]]

THE BROADWAY

The Broadway opened as a cinema house on Christmas day in 1924, but the first live theatre show wasn't until 1930 with E. Ray Goetz's glittering revue, The New Yorkers.

During the 40's, the Broadway housed Irving Berlin's all-soldier World War II show, This Is the Army, with an enormous cast recruited from training camps all over the country; the long-running My Sister Eileen; Artists and Models; Carmen Jones; and Memphis Bound! based on H.M.S. Pinafore, with a cast headed by the late Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.

The 50's saw revivals of Oklahoma!, Diamond Lil, and the Virgil Thomson/Gertrude Stein Four Saints in Three Acts. Gian-Carlo Menotti's The Saint of Bleecker Street premiered on December 27, 1954. The Old Vic visited the Broadway in December of 1958, treating Americans to authentic British productions of Twelfth Night, Hamlet and Henry V. In 1959, Ethel Merman exercised her famous tonsils as Rose, the stage mother in Gypsy. Fall '61 opened with Alfred Drake in Kean, a Wright and Forrest musical based on plays by Sartre and Dumas.

Vivien Leigh and Jean Pierre Aumont appeared as aristocrats turned servants in the musical Tovarich, opening March 18, 1963. Miss Leigh was awarded a Tony for her performance. In December The Girl Who Came to Supper took over, starring Florence Henderson and José Ferrer. Noel Coward's musical was based on a play by Terence Rattigan.

On February 16, 1965, Baker Street opened, starring Fritz Weaver as a singing Sherlock Holmes and Martin Gabel as Professor Moriarty. The next season opened in a more serious vein, with The Devils, written by John Whiting and based on Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudun. The talented cast included Anne Bancroft, Jason Robards, Jr. and John Colicos.

Later in 1966, Ethel Merman returned to recreate her role as Annie Oakley in Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun. The Happy Time, a Kander and Ebb musical, won a Tony for star Robert Goulet in 1968. Purlie, the joyous musical based on Ossie Davis' Purlie Victorious, opened on March 15, 1970. Melba Moore and Cleavon Little both won well-deserved Tonys. 

[[image - black and white photograph of copy of The Playbill, [[image - drawing of Mae West in "Diamond Lil"]]

In 1972, the theatre was completely altered to accommodate the rock musical Dude; and in 1974, Candide, a revised version of the 1956 musical, directed by Harold Prince, scored a triumph. This was followed by an all-Black revival of Guys and Dolls; the smash British musical, Evita, also directed by Harold Prince; a revival of Zorba starring Anthony Quinn; The Three Musketeers; and the late Yul Brynner in his final performances of The King and I.

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[[image  - black and white photograph of a table set for dessert]]

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