1951 Carnegie Hall hosts a one-night-only reading of George Bernard Shaw's Don Juan in Hell. This is the first time it has been staged in New York, although tonight's performance has its stars in evening clothes holding their scripts in front of them. Charles Laughton directs and also stars, alongside Charles Boyer, Cedric Hardwicke and Agnes Moorehead, of "Bewitched" fame. This very limited engagement is followed by a short tour.
1964 "The playwright's name is Sam Shepard, and I know nothing about him," says Michael Smith in today's Village Voice, "except that he has written a pair of provocative and genuinely original plays." This is the response to the opening of Shepard's first ever produced works: Cowboy and The Rock Garden at the St. Marks, produced by Theatre Genesis in the Bouwerie Church in the East Village. Shepard will go on to become a well known name in American drama for his plays, Buried Child, Curse of the Starving Class and True West.
1974 Linda Hopkins stars tonight as Bessie Smith in the solo, Me and Bessie, which opens at the Ambassador Theatre. She has co written the show with Will Holtz. The show will run 453 performances.
1992 Having had productions all over New York City, Wendy Wasserstein allows the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre to be host for her new play, The Sisters Rosenweig, which opens tonight for a run of 149 performances. Among the stars are Jane Alexander, Madeline Kahn, Robert Klein and Frances McDormand. This sisterly show will move to the Barrymore Theatre, March 18, 1993, where it will run 85 performances.
--By Sam Maher