1900 Birthday of legendary 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.
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.
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. Glynis Johns, Len Cariou, and Hermione Gingold star in the Hal Prince and Hugh Wheeler show. It wins the Tony Award for Best Musical, and runs 601 performances.
1983 Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams dies of asphyxiation in his room at the Elysse Hotel in Manhattan. The author of such classics as The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof lived to 71.
1999 One of Harold Pinter's earliest works, The Hothouse, opens at the 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 1938. After a showing at the National Theatre in London, Not About Nightingales had its American premiere 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 at the Circle in the Square Theatre.
2001 As The Producers wraps up its sold-out tryout run at the Cadillac Palace in Chicago, lines for tickets are already sprouting in front of the show's next stop: Broadway's St. James Theatre.
2003 Vincent G. Liff, a longtime Broadway casting director connected with such major Broadway hits as Cats, Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera, and Les Misérables, dies after a six-year battle with a brain tumor.
2005 Dodgers Costumes, the theatrical costume rental concern that operated under a variety of names during its 142-year history and owned more than half a million items, announces it is going out of business. The collection is subsequently purchased by Costume World Inc. of Deerfield Beach, Florida, and relocated to that state.
2006 Darren McGavin, who played a memorable collection of gruff, worldly-wise, and unmistakably American characters over a six-decade career on stage and film, including Starbuck in the original The Rainmaker, dies at age 83.