Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 3

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 3
 
Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in The Producers.
Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in The Producers. Paul Kolnik

1938 When a grandfather holds off Death (by chasing him up a tree) so he can be sure his grandson will be taken care of, he's working On Borrowed Time. The comedy was adapted by Paul Osborn from Lawrence Edward Watkin's novel of the same title. Dudley Digges stars as Gramps, Peter Holden is his grandson, and Frank Conroy is the Grim Reaper.

1951 Maureen Stapleton is a lonely widow pining for her dead husband in The Rose Tattoo. The Tennessee Williams work also stars Eli Wallach, Sal Mineo, and Martin Balsam. It runs 38 weeks.

1956 Broadway musical comedy leading man Nathan Lane is born today in Jersey City, NJ. He stars in Broadway productions of The Nance, The Addams Family, The Producers, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Guys and Dolls, Wind in the Willows, Love! Valour! Compassion!, and other shows. He also collaborates with Stephen Sondheim on the musical The Frogs, and lends his voice to Timon the Meerkat in the animated Disney film The Lion King.

1960 The Wrong Side of the Park might also be the wrong side of marriage in John Mortimer's drama. Staged by Peter Hall at London's Cambridge Theatre, Margaret Leighton stars as a neurotic wife tormenting her husband (Richard Johnson) with a fantasy of her deceased first spouse. It runs nearly 22 weeks.

1976 Opening night for A Matter of Gravity starring Katharine Hepburn and Christopher Reeve. Enid Bagnold's drama runs just 79 performances at the Broadhurst Theatre.

1976 Actor Roger Livesey dies today at age 70. He appeared in plays in both the West End and on Broadway. In film, he was well known for his character, Colonel Blimp.

2005 Pulitzer-winner Donald Margulies opens his latest play, Brooklyn Boy, at Manhattan Theatre Club. Adam Arkin, Polly Draper, and Ari Graynor are featured in the drama about a man who returns to his childhood neighborhood after becoming a famous novelist.

2012 Ben Gazzara, an intense actor of stage and film who created the role of Brick in Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, dies at age 81. He was nominated for Tony Awards for his performances in A Hatful of Rain, Hughie / Duet, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

More of Today's Birthdays: Robert Earl Jones 1910. James A. Michener 1907. Bibi Osterwald 1920. Blythe Danner 1943. Linda Eder 1961. Ann Harada 1964. Ashley Brown 1982.

Watch highlights from the musical The Addams Family, starring Nathan Lane as Gomez Addams:

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