1982 Little Shop of Horrors begins a 2,209-performance run today at Off-Broadway's Orpheum Theatre. Based on the Roger Corman cult classic about a man-eating plant, this Alan Menken-Howard Ashman musical stars Lee Wilkof and Ellen Greene. The 1986 film version of the musical, directed by Frank Oz, will star Rick Moranis, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, John Candy, and Greene reprising her stage role as Audrey.
1997 After 738 performances, the Broadway production of Victor/Victoria will terminate its run after today's matinee performance. Based on the 1982 Blake Edwards film of the same name, the Edwards-helmed stage version of Victoria opened in fall 1995 at the Marriott Marquis with stage and screen legend Julie Andrews in the leading role(s). Andrews had also starred in the film version, earning an Academy Award nomination for her performance. During the first year of the show's run, Andrews and the show became the center of a Tony nomination controversy. When Victor/ Victoria failed to garner any nominations other than the goes-without-saying citing for Andrews, the actress announced she would decline that honor in protest of the nominating committee ignoring all other members of what she called an "egregiously overlooked" company. Subsequent stars of the Broadway production were Liza Minnelli, who filled in for several weeks while Andrews took a vacation, and Raquel Welch.
1999 Cross-dressing British comedian Eddie Izzard begins previews for Lenny, the biopic on the life of American shock comedian Lenny Bruce. The production, directed by Sir Peter Hall, plays at the Queen's Theatre in London. Izzard is best known for his touring comedy shows and videos such as Dress to Kill and Glorious.
2000 Nathan Lane stars as Sheridan Whiteside and Jean Smart stars as Lorraine Sheldon in the revival of the Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman play, The Man Who Came to Dinner, which opens tonight at the Roundabout Theatre Company's new Broadway house, the American Airlines Theatre. Lane will probably be remembered more for his second starring role of the season, as Max Bialystock in The Producers which won him the Tony for Best Actor. The American Airlines Theatre is the refurbished and rechristened Selwyn Theatre on 42nd Street.
2001 Alan King's solo show, Mr. Goldwyn debuts at New York Stage & Film at Vassar College. The production later transfers to Off-Broadway.
2003 Actor and comedian Bob Hope dies today at age 100. Though he's known primarily for his film career, he appeared in eight Broadway musicals in the late 1920s and early 1930s, notably Jerome Kern's Roberta, Cole Porter's Red, Hot and Blue! and Vernon Duke's Ziegfeld Follies of 1936.
2008 I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, which opened at the Westside Theatre Aug. 1, 1996, plays its final performance at that Off-Broadway venue. The musical revue played a total of 20 previews and 5,003 regular performances, making it the second longest-running musical in Off-Broadway history.
2008 Stuart W. Little, who for three decades covered the New York theatre as a reporter and author, dies at age 86. He wrote a theatre column for the New York Herald Tribune from 1958 until the newspaper closed in 1966. Thereafter, he became known for a series of books that examined the inner workings of the theatre business.