Friday, April 24, 2020

Today In Theatre History

April 24, 1997. Care to guess what happened on that date theatre fans? Now to be honest, 1997 was not a very successful year on Broadway. Yes, a total of thirty-four shows opened between July 1996 and April 1997. However, the biggest hit of the season that year? The first ever Broadway revival of Chicago. The original production ran from June 3, 1975 thru August 27, 1977. Nowadays a show that lasts more than three or four years is considered a success. But back then, a two year run was unheard of on Broadway. Unfortunately, the show opened the same season as A Chorus Line, and was overshadowed by it that season.

Cut to twenty-one years later, and a new production as part of Encores! at City Center opens to rave reviews, and within six months it is back on the Great White Way once again, where it continues to run all these years later. In fact, it is the second longest running show in Broadway history. Who would have thought? Now I know what you're probably thinking. "What does this have to do with the date that I mentioned at the beginning of the blog"? No, it's not the day the new revival of Chicago opened on Broadway. That was on November 10, 1996.

It was in fact, the opening night of the new musical Steel Pier. The writer's? Why none other than John Kander and Fred Ebb, the same writer's of Chicago. See how it all ties together? Now while Steel Pier received eleven Tony Award nominations that year, including Best Musical, it won none, losing the top prize to Titanic, and closed after seventy-six performances. And who knows? Maybe in ten or twenty years, it will make a comeback, and go on to be a big success it's second time around. After all, it happened to Chicago right? Stay safe everyone, and don't forget to look out for each other. Until next time theatre fans.

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