Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: August 28

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: August 28
Ben Gazzara and Shelley Winters in <i>A Hatful of Rain.</i>
Ben Gazzara and Shelley Winters in A Hatful of Rain. Friedman-Abeles / The New York Public Library

1917 Jerome Kern, Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse open their romantic musical-comedy Leave It To Jane tonight at the Longacre Theatre. The score includes "Just You Watch My Step," "The Siren's Song," "Cleopatterer" and the title number.

1930 Stage and film actor Ben Gazzara is born today in New York. Broadway credits will include Hughie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Duet, A Hatful of Rain, Shimada and the 1976 revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

1939 Dancer/producer/director George White opens the 13th and last edition of his George White's Scandals revues with an eclectic cast that includes Ann Miller, Ella Logan and The Three Stooges. It runs 120 performances at the Alvin Theatre.

1983 Stage actress Jan Clayton dies today at age 66. Born in Tularosa, New Mexico, Clayton made her Broadway debut as Julie Jordan in the original production of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's Carousel. She also appeared in the 1946 revival of Show Boat.

1985 Actress-writer Ruth Gordon dies today of a stroke at age 88. With such stage successes as Seventeen, Serena Blandish, and Ethan Frome, Gordon was one of Broadway's brightest stars during the 1920s and 1930s. She married stage actor Gregory Kelly who died suddenly in 1927 of a heart attack. She later married again, in 1942, to the playwright Garson Kanin, with whom she collaborated on many projects, including the stage work Years Ago and screenplays for Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Notable movie acting appearances include "Where's Poppa?" and "Rosemary's Baby."

2011 Day two of New York City's shut down under the threat of Hurricaine (later downgraded to Tropical Storm) Irene. All Broadway and most Off-Broadway shows are cancelled, and there is a system-wide shut down of New York City mass transit. Theatre and transit will both resume on Monday, Aug. 29.

Today's Birthdays: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749. Charles Boyer 1897. Sam Levene 1905. Nancy Kulp 1921. Donald O'Connor 1925. Elizabeth Seal 1933. Peter Bartlett 1942. Alice Playten 1947.

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