1956 Long Day’s Journey Into Night opens tonight (although against playwright Eugene O’Neill’s wishes) at the Helen Hayes Theatre. The cast included Jason Robards, Jr., Frederic March, and Florence Eldridge, all directed by Jose Quintero. Variety reports that this play is “a monumental, overwhelming drama, terrible in its ruthlessness, searing in its self-revelation, exalting in its pity and shattering in its impact.” Brooks Atkinson declares that this production helps “acquire size and stature” for the American theatre. The show runs for 390 performances.
1958 The Quare Fellow opens Off-Broadway tonight at the Circle in the Square Theatre. The show, whose title is slang for “condemned man,” was written by Brendan Behan and starred Liam Clancy. The show will run for 126 performances.
1963 The dieting Zero Mostel has forgotten to eat today and collapses during the intermission of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He is unable to complete the performance.
1971 Sticks and Bones, the David Rabe play, opens tonight at the Public Theater. The show concerns a Vietnam vet’s return to America as a living nightmare and starred David Selby. The Golden Theatre hosts the move to Broadway of this show in 1972, with Santo Loquasto getting his first opportunity to design a Broadway set. It will run for 121 performances Off-Broadway, and then a 366 performances on Broadway.
1996 The Santaland Diaries opens tonight at the Atlantic Theatre. The play, adapted from David Sedaris' book, "Barrel Fever," features two stories: "Season's Greetings to Our Friends and Family," about a housewife who finds her husband's illegitimate daughter on her doorstep, and "The Santaland Diaries," describing the experience of working as a Christmas elf at Macy's. The show will run 63 performances. - by Sam Maher & Steve Luber