Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 9

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 9
Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera in The Rink.
Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera in The Rink. Ken Howard

1865 Birthday of actor Beatrice Stella Tanner, better known by her stage name, Mrs. Patrick Campbell (1865-1940). She has a long correspondence with playwright George Bernard Shaw, and appears in many of his plays, creating the role of Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion.

1926 Charles MacArthur and Edward Sheldon have a hit with the campy potboiler Lulu Belle. Lenore Ulric stars as a Mississippi nightclub singer who ruins the life of a rising young attorney who falls for her, but realizes in the end that she loves him, too. It runs 461 performances at the Belasco Theatre, and is made into a film with Dorothy Lamour.

1931 The romance between poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett is dramatized in The Barretts of Wimpole Street, which stars Katharine Cornell and Brian Aherne. The production runs 370 performances at the Empire Theatre.

1962 Already convicted, a man searches for a Signpost to Murder to prove his innocence. Monte Doyle's thriller runs 419 performances at the Cambridge Theatre in London. Derek Farr and Margaret Lockwood star.

1966 Singer-entertainer Sophie Tucker dies at age 82. She appeared in numerous revues, including Ziegfeld Follies of 1909 and Earl Carroll's Vanities of 1924.

1972 British actor-director Robert Atkins dies at age 85. He performed in and directed many Shakespearean productions for the Old Vic.

1979 Alice Delysia, once a major star of London's West End, dies at age 90. Among the many revues she starred in was On With the Dance, with book and lyrics by Noël Coward.

1984 Chita Rivera and Liza Minnelli play mother and daughter in The Rink, John Kander and Fred Ebb's musical about a family that runs a roller-skating rink. After five nominations, Rivera wins her first Tony Award for the role. The show runs 204 performances at the Martin Beck Theatre.

1988 Kate Nelligan and Alec Baldwin star in Serious Money, Caryl Churchill's drama about greed in the Reagan/Thatcher era. It runs just 15 performances at the Royale Theatre.

2007 British stage actor Ian Richardson, who starred in the BBC's 1990 drama series House of Cards, and played Jean-Paul Marat in Marat/Sade and Henry Higgins in the 1976 Broadway revival of My Fair Lady, dies at age 72.

2011 Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss star in Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour at the Comedy Theatre in London. Knightley plays Karen Wright, and Moss plays Martha Dobie, who together run a girls’ boarding school in 1930s New England, where they become entangled in a story of deceit, shame, and courage when a schoolgirl's whispers spread, triggering a chain of events with extraordinary consequences.

2016 The world premiere of John Patrick Shanley's Prodigal Son opens Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club. Timothée Chalamet stars as a teenage boy from the Bronx, who is suddenly thrown into the world of a private school in New Hampshire. Robert Sean Leonard co-stars as the boy's teacher.

More of Today's Birthdays: Cyril Scott 1866. Ronald Colman 1891. Peggy Wood 1892. Carmen Miranda 1909. Carole King 1942. Mia Farrow 1945. Judith Light 1949. Ciaran Hinds 1953.

Watch highlights from Judith Light's Tony Award-winning performance in The Assembled Parties:

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