1873 Birthday of comedian Fred Stone (1873-1959) who, partnered with David Montgomery, became one of the most beloved Broadway performers of the early 20th century. Among their notable hits were The Wizard of Oz (with Stone as the first acting incarnation of The Scarecrow) and The Red Mill. Sometimes appearing with his wife and daughters as The Stepping Stones, he also starred in a series of musical comedies including Smiling Faces, Tip Top and Criss Cross.
1918 Opening night of Yip, Yip, Yaphank, a World War I-era morale-building production starring the soldiers of Camp Upton in a series of skits based on life in the service. Notable for the original score by "Sgt." Irving Berlin, who personally introduced his standard, "Oh, How I Hate to Get up in the Morning."
1955 Actor Peter Gallagher is born today. Gallagher's Broadway stage credits include the original production of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, and revivals of Long Day's Journey Into Night, Guys and Dolls, Noises Off and On the Twentieth Century.
1999 The story of The Cavalla Kings hits the scene as Kat and the Kings opens tonight. The musical tells the story of a talented but "non-white" young band that couldn't compete with apartheid in Cape Town, South Africa. David Kramer directs and musically stages the production that plays at the Cort Theatre on Broadway for 157 performances.
2004 Frank Wildhorn, composer of Jekyll & Hyde, returns to the gothic world for his musical version of Dracula, The Musical, in which Tom Hewitt will fly eerily about the stage of Broadway's Belasco Theatre in pursuit of leading lady Melissa Errico for 157 performances.
2007 A Broadway revival of Grease starring Max Crumm and Laura Osnes — the winners of the reality TV casting competition "Grease: You're the One That I Want" — opens at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, the production will go on to run 554 performances.