By David Gewirtzman
and Robert Viagas, Christopher Reichheld and Anne Bradley
30 Jan 2014
1928 It all becomes a Strange Interlude at the Golden Theatre. Eugene O'Neill's nine-act saga of Nina Leeds and the men in her life stars Lynn Fontanne. It will run 426 performances and go on to win the Pulitzer Prize.
1928 Also today, producer/director Harold Prince is born. He will win a record 20 Tony awards (as of 2005) and will serve as producer and/or director of Broadway classics Fiddler on the Roof, The Phantom of the Opera, Sweeney Todd, Evita, Cabaret, Damn Yankees, Follies, A Little Night Music, Company, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and many more.
1928 Also born today: Mitch Leigh, composer of Man of La Mancha.
1929 Beau Geste comes to life at His Majesty's Theatre in London. Directed by Basil Dean, who also adapted with Charlton Mann, from the novel by P.C. Wren. Laurence Olivier is Beau guarding Fort Zindernauf until the last.
1936 Picking up where her late husband, Florenz Ziegfeld, left off, Billie Burke produces the Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 with Bob Hope, Fanny Brice, Josephine Baker, Eve Arden and Judy Canova. It runs 227 performances at the Winter Garden.
1957 Eugenia starring Tallulah Bankhead plays at the Ambassador Theatre in New York. This Randolph Carter adaptation of Henry James' novel "The Europeans" will play only 12 performances. Herbert Machiz provides the brief direction.
1958 Franklin Roosevelt's life at the family retreat of Campobello Island, Maine, is dramatized in Dore Schary's Sunrise at Campobello, which will run 556 performances at the Cort Theatre. Ralph Bellamy plays FDR. Also in the cast in a minor role: James Earl Jones.
1986 The Steppenwolf Theater Company's production of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker opens tonight and will run 45 performances at the Circle in the Square. The cast features Gary Sinise, Jeff Perry, and Alan Wilder.
2006 Wendy Wasserstein, who dramatized the progress of her generation of women through a series of comic and rueful plays, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Heidi Chronicles, dies of lymphoma at age 55.
2011 Tennessee Williams' The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, a rarely seen title about a wealthy, aging Southern eccentric barking her memoirs to a secretary as a harbinger of death climbs up the hill, opens Off-Broadway at the Roundabout Theatre Company's Laura Pels Theatre. Olympia Dukakis stars as widow Flora Goforth.
More of Today's Birthdays: David Wayne 1914. Bernard Gersten 1923. Ruth Brown 1928. Gene Hackman 1930. Gino Conforti 1932. Tammy Grimes 1934. Vanessa Redgrave 1937. Charles S. Dutton 1951. Norbert Leo Butz 1967.