1960 Judy Holliday's first attempt at a straight dramatic role is smashed today as Laurette closes in Philadelphia, which is where it was being tried out for Broadway. The play, about actress Laurette Taylor, was closed by the producer, who declared Holliday as having "to undergo corrective surgery for a throat condition." The truth is that Holliday has breast cancer and will die June 7, 1965.
1975 Kevin Kline and Patti LuPone, both members of the first graduating class of the drama department at the Juilliard School, star tonight in The Acting Company's production of The Robber Bridegroom at the Harkness Theatre. This production was based on the 1942 novella of the same name by Eudora Welty. Although the production will run only 15 performances, it will transfer to Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre merely a year and two days later for a run of 145 performances. Steven Suskin says this show belongs in the category of "good shows that unhappily fail."
1982 The Winter Garden Theatre hosts the opening of what just may be the most successful musical in the history of Broadway, Cats. Andrew Lloyd Webber's rendition of the T.S. Eliot collection of poems, "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," boasts advance sales of $6.2 million before it even opens. The show has sound and special effects galore, no dialogue, and a diva in the making, Betty Buckley, singing its most memorable tune, "Memory." Cats wins seven Tony awards and plays in more than 250 cities around the world. By May 2000, Cats had played more than 7,300 performances (and counting), far outpacing the previous long-run champ, A Chorus Line.
1996 The Circle Repertory Company, having lived out its 28-year life to great success, folds, owing the IRS more than $700,000. The company will be remembered for showcasing the work of such distinguished American playwrights as Albert Innaurato, Edward Moore, and Lanford Wilson, who was also a co-founder.
1999 Susan Stroman and John Weidman will officially premiere their propulsive new "dance play" Contact at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi Newhouse Theatre. The show, which will break new ground as a hybrid theatrical genre, stars Karen Ziemba, Boyd Gaines and newcomer Deborah Yates. It will transfer to LCT's Vivian Beaumont Theatre for a Broadway run staring March 30. -- By Sam Maher and Ernio Hernandez