Today in Theatre History: NOVEMBER 1

News   Today in Theatre History: NOVEMBER 1 1930 Playwright Albert Ramsdell (A.R.) Gurney is born. He will go on to write such plays as The Cocktail Hour, Sylvia, and Far East.

1930 Playwright Albert Ramsdell (A.R.) Gurney is born. He will go on to write such plays as The Cocktail Hour, Sylvia, and Far East.

1944 Elwood P. Dowd sees a large white rabbit tonight as Mary Chase's Harvey opens tonight at the 48th Street Theatre. The illustrious Dowd is played by Frank Fay, with his sister, Veta Louise Simmons, being portrayed by Josephine Hull. Staging was done by Antoinette Perry in this original production that ran for a whopping 1,775 performances on Broadway before transferring to London, where it would play only 610 performances with its star Sid Field. A movie version would be released in 1950 with screen legend James Stewart as Dowd. The comedy would win the 1944 Pulitzer Prize, but the New York Drama Critics Circle Award went to The Glass Menagerie.

1961 The New York City Transit Authority commands producer David Merrick to remove 2,800 posters for his musical Subways Are for Sleeping from subway cars, fearing they might give some people the wrong idea about housing.

1984 The Astor Place theater hosts the opening tonight of The Foreigner by Larry Shue. The story follows a young Englishman's visit to rural Georgia for holiday and his trials and tribulations with the locals. The show will run for 686 performances. Shue, a cast member of this original production, will die in a tragic plane crash in 1985.

1990 A revival of the 1926 musical Oh, Kay! opens tonight at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, but the locale has been changed from Long Island to Harlem, with an all-black cast. Clive Barnes calls it "surprisingly terrific" in the Post, but the revival -- David Merrick's last major producing project -- will run for only 77 performances. 1994 Eight gay men examine their lives as they take weekend holidays in the country in Love! Valor! Compassion!. This play, by Terrence McNally, uses humor on the surface but forces viewers to see that AIDS has become a shadow on the lives of contemporary human beings. Joe Mantello directs this production, opening tonight at the Manhattan Theatre Club. It will move to Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre in 1995.

? By Sam Maher and Steve Luber