1900 Birthday of Broadway producer and director Jed Harris, who presents The Royal Family, Broadway, Our Town, The Heiress, and The Crucible. He is said to be the model for Oscar Jaffe in Twentieth Century.
1936 Opening night of James M. Cain's steamy melodrama, The Postman Always Rings Twice, which runs just 72 performances at the Lyceum and Golden Theatres, but goes on to become a popular film.
1953 Wouldn't you just guess that My Sister Eileen moved into a Wonderful Town? Based on Ruth McKenney's short stories, the musical comedy stars Rosalind Russell. The book is by Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov, with a score by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics provided by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. There are 559 performances and it wins the Tony Award for Best Musical.
1969 Al Pacino makes his Broadway debut as a defiant young drug addict in Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?, which runs 39 performances at the Belasco Theatre.
1973 With the foundation of Ingmar Bergman's film Smiles of a Summer Night, A Little Night Music fills the air of the Shubert Theatre. The latter is provided by Stephen Sondheim along with the lyrics, with a book by Hugh Wheeler. Glynis Johns, Len Cariou, and Hermione Gingold star in the Hal Prince production. It wins the Tony Award for Best Musical, and runs 601 performances.
1999 One of Harold Pinter's earliest works, The Hothouse, opens at Atlantic Theater Company. A nameless government institution and its sometimes bumbling, sometimes sinister bureaucrats are the subject of the comedic revival. Starring are several of the Atlantic Theater Company members, Kate Blumberg, Larry Bryggman, and Jordan Lage, and guest artists Patrick Breen, Stephen Mendillo, and Liam O'Brien. Founding company member Karen Kohlhaas stages.
1999 The premiere of a new Tennessee Williams play is definitely an event—especially when the play has gone unproduced since its writing in 1938. Not About Nightingales had its world premiere in 1998 at the National Theatre in London, followed by an American premiere later that year at the Alley Theatre in Houston. Written early in Williams' career, the exposé of brutal prison life has Corin Redgrave overseeing as the warden Boss Whalen. Trevor Nunn directs the production's Broadway debut at the Circle in the Square Theatre.
2015 Ralph Fiennes stars in a new production of George Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman, opening at the National Theatre in London.
2016 Oscar winner Forest Whitaker makes his Broadway debut in a revival of Eugene O'Neill's Hughie at the Booth Theatre. It runs 37 performances.
2019 Jackie Sibblies Drury’s play Marys Seacole opens at Lincoln Center Theater’s Claire Tow Theater. Directed by Obie winner Lileana Blain-Cruz, the drama follows the story of a passionate and driven Jamaican woman, Mary and her adventures across the globe and across time—from the Crimean War zone to a modern-day nursing home.
2019 The Signature Theatre’s revival of Boesman and Lena by legacy playwright Athol Fugard opens, directed by Yaël Farber. Fugard's 1969 play follows a husband and wife as they wander the South African wastelands, starring Sahr Ngaujah as Boesman and Zainab Jah as Lena, with Thomas Silcott as Old African.
2020 Young Jean Lee's play-concert We're Gonna Die, weaving a series of songs and stories to celebrate the ways in which we live our lives, opens Off-Broadway at Second Stgae's Tony Kiser Theater.
2020 The stage adaptation of the animated musical The Prince of Egypt, featuring a score by Stephen Schwartz, opens at London's Dominion Theatre. His son Scott Schwartz directs the staging, having previously helmed the 2017 world premiere at the TheatreWorks Silicon Valley in a co-production with Fredericia Teater Denmark.
More of Today's Birthdays: Carlo Goldoni (1707–1793). Zeppo Marx (1901–1979). Mary Chase (1907–1981). Jim Backus (1913–1989). Lisa Kirk (1925–1990). Larry Gelbart (1928–2009). Tom Courtenay (b. 1937). Susan Browning (1941–2006). Douglas Hodge (b. 1960).