1923 Jacob Ben-Ami and Winifred Lenihan are The Failures. There will be only 40 performances at the Garrick Theater of H.R. Lenormand's play. In the story "She," out of desperation, takes up the world's oldest profession, while "He" struggles at the second oldest (playwriting).
1961 American playwright Dorothy Heyward is dead at the age of 81. She wrote Porgy, that would later be adapted for Porgy and Bess and Mamba's Daughters with her husband DuBose Heyward, and Jonica with Moss Hart.
1962 Charles Boyer stars in Lord Pengo at the Royale Theater. S.N. Behrman adapted his The Days of Duveen specifically for Boyer. The cast of this comedy included a young Brian Bedford, Agnes Moorehead, Henry Daniell and Lee Richardson. It will run for 175 performances.
1971 Today marks the official opening in New York City of Playwrights Horizons, at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts, with a staged reading of Margaret Power's Victims Anonymous. Robert Moss is founder and producing director of this venture to support and encourage new American playwrights.
1985 Herb Gardner's I'm Not Rappaport opens tonight at the Booth Theatre with a cast that includes Judd Hirsch and Cleavon Little. The replacements later on in this show, which runs for 890 performances, are Ossie Davis and Hal Linden. The New York Times' Frank Rich pans Rappaport, although it goes on to win the 1986 Tony Award for Best Play, and Hirsch will win for Best Actor. Gardner calls this "proof that there's life after Frank Rich." The 1996 movie version, directed by Gardner himself, included Davis and Walter Matthau. 1997 Peter Riegert, Patti LuPone, and Rebecca Pidgeon star in David Mamet's new play The Old Neighborhood, which opens tonight at the Booth Theatre. The show, which is a trio of scenes, follows a divorced, middle-aged man's emotion-generating visit to his old Chicago neighborhood. The show ran for 197 performances.
-- By Sam Maher, Steve Luber and Anne Bradley