Today in Theatre History: OCTOBER 24

News   Today in Theatre History: OCTOBER 24 1935 Mulatto, a new play by poet Langston Hughes, opens tonight at the Vanderbilt Theatre. This play, which follows the trials of a young interracial couple in the Old South, stars Rose McClendon and runs 373 performances.

1935 Mulatto, a new play by poet Langston Hughes, opens tonight at the Vanderbilt Theatre. This play, which follows the trials of a young interracial couple in the Old South, stars Rose McClendon and runs 373 performances.

1951 The Ethel Barrymore Theatre hosts the first time Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn will perform together on a Broadway stage. They star in Jan deHartog's comedy The Fourposter, opening tonight. Jose Ferrer stages this show, whose entire action takes place in a bedroom. The show will run for 632 performances, and Tandy and Cronyn will be compared to Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne by Daily News critic John Chapman. A musical version of The Fourposter, I Do! I Do!, would become a hit for Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones.

1974 Peter Shaffer has a hit on Broadway tonight as his Equus opens at the Plymouth Theatre. The story follows a tragic young man's fascination with horses until it ultimately affects his sex life. The entire plot takes place in a psychiatric ward, where Anthony Hopkins portrays the psychiatrist who tries his hardest to help this disturbed young man, played by Peter Firth. Frances Sternhagen and Marian Seldes also star in this Tony and New York Drama Critics Circle Award- winning play. The show will run 1,209 performances.

1984 A new entertainer is introduced to Broadway tonight. Whoopi Goldberg opens her self-titled, one woman show at the Lyceum Theatre. Mike Nichols directed the 148-performance run. Douglas Watt wrote in the Daily News: "Long may she whoop."

1991 Irishman Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa opens tonight at the Plymouth Theatre. The story follows five unmarried sisters faced with poverty in rural Ireland. Friel has long been a New York favorite, bringing such works to New York as Faith Healer, Give Me Your Answer, Do; Wonderful Tennessee and Translations. Lughnasa will run 421 performances. 1994 Actor Raul Julia died today after suffering a severe stroke. He was 54. Heavily involved in the Public's New York Shakespeare Festival, he starred in The Threepenny Opera and The Cherry Orchard, as well as movies such as "The Addams Family". At his funeral, friend Susan Sarandon said he "asked all the big questions and smoked all the big cigars."

-- By Sam Maher and Steve Luber