1909 Birthday of Broadway star Jessica Tandy (1909-1994), who created many landmark roles including Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, Agnes in A Delicate Balance and Fonsia in The Gin Game. She won an Oscar as Best Actress for playing Miss Daisy in the film adaptation of Driving Miss Daisy.
1965 Stage and screen star Judy Holliday dies today at age 43. She won the 1957 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Ella Peterson in Bells Are Ringing, and was also seen on Broadway in Kiss Them for Me, Born Yesterday, Dream Girl and Hot Spot. Holliday's performance as Billie Dawn in the film "Born Yesterday" (re-creating the role she had originated on Broadway) earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress.
1974 Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon begins performances in San Francisco at the Savoy Tivoli. Still running today (now at its larger home, Club Fugazi), the campy spoof of pop culture is the longest running musical revue in theatre history.
1990 Actress Barbara Baxley dies at age 65. A veteran stage actress, Baxley’s stage credits included Peter Pan, I Am a Camera and Tennessee Williams’ Period of Adjustment.
1998 In a surprise victory of Disney over Livent, The Lion King wins the best musical award over the predicted winner, Ragtime, when the 1998 Tony Awards are handed out at Radio City Music Hall. Among King’s other wins are awards for best direction (Julie Taymor), costumes, and set design. Yasmina Reza’s British import, Art, takes the best play award over Martin McDonaugh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane, although the Irish drama still manages to walk away with four awards. Cabaret and A View From the Bridge, both produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company, take the awards for best revival of a musical and play, respectively.
2001 John Guare's Chaucer in Rome opens at Lincoln Center.
2011 One of the more bizarre and influential chapters in American pop music history comes to light with the Off-Broadway opening of Joy Gregory, John Langs and Gunnar Madsen's musical The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World. Annie Golden, Steve Routman, Emily Walton, Peter Friedman, Kevin Cahoon, Jamey Hood, Cory Michael Smith and Sarah Sokolovic star in the co-production between Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop, at Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater.
2012 The world premiere of Kenneth Lonergan's Medieval Play opens Off-Broadway at The Irene Diamond Stage in The Pershing Square Signature Center. Set in the late 14th century, the comedy stars Josh Hamilton and Tate Donovan as two French mercenary knights.
More of Today's Birthdays: Dolores Gray 1924. Anne Twomey 1951. Liam Neeson 1952. Victor Slezak 1957.