1865 Birthday of Mary Augusta Davey, who acted under the names Minnie Maddern, Minnie Maddern Fiske and Mrs. Fiske (1865-1932). Performer, director and producer of many dramas before and after the turn of the 20th century, most notably Becky Sharp, Tess of d'Urbervilles, Hedda Gabler, The Light from St. Agnes and The Eyes of the Heart.
1902 Actor Ralph Richardson is born today in Gloucestershire, England. He will make his stage debut in 1921 as Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice, and go on to become one of the major actors of Great Britain in the post-World War II period.
1910 Jean Genet, who chronicled society's outcasts, is born today. His works include The Maids, The Balcony, The Screens, and The Blacks, the latter of which had a long Off-Broadway run in the 1950s. He lives until 1986.
1933 Owen Davis' Jezebel, about a high-spirited Southern belle whose decision to wear a scarlet dress destroys her life, opens today Ethel Barrymore Theatre, and stays for just 32 performances. It becomes a major hit, however, when Bette Davis wins an Oscar for the 1938 film adaptation.
1951 Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh open a limited engagement of George Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra at the Ziegfeld Theatre, in repertory with William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. The production sells out more than half of its 67 performances before opening night.
1957 Robert Preston and Barbara Cook make musical theatre history in The Music Man which opens today at the Majestic Theatre. Meredith Willson triple headers writing the book, lyrics, and score from a story he and Franklin Lacey devised. It marches on for 1,375 performances.
1985 A musical version of the children's classic Wind in the Willows opens a disappointing 4-performance run at the Nederlander Theatre, but boasts a cast that features Nathan Lane as Toad, David Carroll as Rat, Vicki Lewis as Mole, P.J. Benjamin as Chief Weasel, and a supporting cast that includes Nora Mae Lyng, John Jellison, Donna Drake and Scott Waara.
1997 Marie Osmond makes her Broadway debut tonight as Anna in The King and I. Osmond is replacing Faith Prince, who was the first replacement after the original Anna, the Tony Award-winning Donna Murphy.
2011 The world premiere of Molly Smith Metzler's comedy Close Up Space, starring Tony Award winner David Hyde Pierce as a harried book editor, opens at Manhattan Theatre Club's home at New York City Center Stage I.
2013 The world premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Christopher Hampton, and Don Black's musical Stephen Ward opens at the West End's Aldwych Theatre. Alexander Hanson stars in the title role, opposite Charlotte Spencer and Joanna Riding. The show charts the rise and fall of society osteopath Stephen Ward, whose affair with the young and beautiful Christine Keeler led to one of the biggest political scandals and trials of the 20th century. It receives mixed reviews, and closes after a run of less than four months.