1962 Anthony Newley's new musical in which he stars, Stop the World -- I Want to Get Off, opens tonight at the Shubert Theatre. This allegorical show about an everyman was collaborated on by Newley and Leslie Bricusse, with Anna Quayle co-starring. The song "What Kind of Fool Am I?" would become a hit, and producer David Merrick proved himself no fool in his tactics. When faced with a mediocre New York Times review of World, he translated the critique into Greek and ran it in the show's print ads. A film version of Stop was released in 1966.
1967 The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter opens tonight at the Booth Theatre. This absurdist play featured Henderson Forsythe, Ed Flanders, Alexandra Berlin and Ruth White in a cast directed by Alan Schneider. Variety reports the basic story line as being about "a psychoneurotic rooming with a moronic couple." It is actually about a couple, Meg and Petey, who lodge an insecure and untidy man, Stanley. The chaos occurs when two menacing "friends" show up to help Stanley celebrate his birthday. Birthday will party on for almost four months.
1987 Playwright Jean Anouilh dies today . His 1942 adaptation of the Greek tragedy of Antigone is the most celebrated of his plays, though The Rehearsal and Ring Round the Moon would also receive revivals.
1995 Tommy Tune has broken his foot for the second time in two years and is left with no choice but to only sing and act his part in Busker Alley, which is beginning its tryout at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center tonight. Two other people dance for him in this show, but that doesn't work. Instead, the Broadway opening for November 16 is called off. The production was plagued with bad reviews from the start, and the $6 million debt left over from the broken foot and opening cancellation is not covered by Tune's insurance, which is only $3.5 million.
1996 Off-Broadway's St. Luke's Church becomes an apropos venue for Vicki Quade and Maripat Donovan's Late Night Catechism. The interactive comedy features Donovan as a nun lecturing audiences on Catholicism. The show will inhabit the theatre for years to come. 1999 Eve Ensler opens The Vagina Monologues at the Westside Theatre Off-Broadway. In the solo show, the playwright performer reveals a series of different women's stories and experiences involving their genitalia. Joe Mantello (Love! Valour! Compassion!) serves as production supervisor for the play, which will become a three woman show following the author's departure.
-- by Sam Maher and Ernio Hernandez