Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: January 24

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: January 24
 
Alfred Lunt, Noël Coward, and Lynn Fontanne in Design for Living.
Alfred Lunt, Noël Coward, and Lynn Fontanne in Design for Living. Vandamm Studio / The New York Public Library

1776 Birthday of E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776-1822), whose stories form the basis of the ballets Coppelia and The Nutcracker.

1905 Opening night of Buster Brown, based on Richard F. Outcault's comic strip about a kid and his dog. It runs 95 performances at the old Majestic Theatre.

1929 Edith Evans stars as Florence Nightingale, The Lady With a Lamp. The drama by Reginald Berkeley runs at the Garrick Theatre in London for 22 weeks.

1933 U.S. premiere of Noël Coward's Design for Living, in which he co-stars with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. Depression-era audiences are scandalized and titillated by the story of a menage a trois. It runs 135 performances at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

1944 Standing in the shadows is The Duke in Darkness. Patrick Hamilton's tale of a duke who feigns blindness while imprisoned runs for three weeks at the Playhouse Theatre in New York.

1971 Irish playwright and critic St. John Ervine dies in London. Among his numerous plays are Mixed Marriage, John Ferguson, and The First Mrs. Fraser. He was 88 years old.

1979 Mabel Taliaferro, a stage veteran of numerous shows including George Washington Slept Here, dies at age 91.

2000 Cherry Jones and Gabriel Byrne star in Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, to be followed by a run at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theater. The production receives four 2000 Tony Award nominations and one win for Roy Dotrice (Best Featured Actor in a Play).

2006 Chita Rivera reunites with Bye Bye Birdie co-star Dick Van Dyke for the first of four special performances of her show Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life.

2006 Fayard Nicholas, the surviving half of the athletic tap duo of stage and screen known as The Nicholas Brothers, and a Tony Award winning choreographer for Black and Blue, dies at age 91.

2008 S. Epatha Merkerson plays a woman trying to cope with loneliness, longing, and an alcoholic husband (Kevin Anderson) in a revival of William Inge's 1950 drama Come Back, Little Sheba at the Biltmore Theatre.

2010 Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson star in a Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge, about a Brooklyn longshoreman who loves his teen-aged niece a little bit too much.

More of Today's Birthdays: Pierre Augustin Beaumarchais 1732. Estelle Winwood 1883. Vicki Baum 1888. Ernest Borgnine 1917. Donald Saddler 1918. Helen Stenborg 1925. Maria Tallchief 1925. Carrie Coon 1981.

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