PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: FEBRUARY 9

By David Gewirtzman
and Robert Viagas and Anne Bradley
09 Feb 2014

1865 Birthday of actress Beatrice Stella Tanner, better known by her stage name, Mrs. Patrick Campbell (1865-1940). She had a long correspondence with playwright George Bernard Shaw, and appeared in many of his plays, creating the role of Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion.



1926 Charles MacArthur and Edward Sheldon have a hit with the campy potboiler Lulu Belle. Lenore Ulric stars as a Mississippi nightclub singer who ruins the life of a rising young attorney who falls for her, but realizes in the end that she loves him, too. It runs 461 performances at the Belasco Theatre, and is made into a film with Dorothy Lamour.

1931 The romance between poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett is dramatized in The Barretts of Wimpole Street, which stars Katharine Cornell and Brian Aherne. The production runs 370 performances at the Empire Theatre.

1962 Already convicted, a man searches for a Signpost to Murder to prove his innocence. Monte Doyle's thriller will run 419 performances at the Cambridge Theatre in London. Derek Farr and Margaret Lockwood star.

1966 Singer-entertainer Sophie Tucker dies today. She appeared in numerous revues, including Ziegfeld Follies of 1909 and Earl Carroll's Vanities of 1924. She was 82 years old.

1972 British actor-director Robert Atkins dies today. He performed in and directed many Shakespearean productions for the Old Vic. He was 85 years old.

1979 Alice Delysia, once a major star of London's West End, dies today. Among the many revues she starred in was On With the Dance , with a book and lyrics by NoŽl Coward. She was 90 years old.

1984 Chita Rivera and Liza Minnelli play mother and daughter in The Rink, John Kander & Fred Ebb's musical about a family that runs a roller-skating rink. After five nominations, Rivera will win her first Tony Award for the role. The show will run 204 performances at the Martin Beck Theatre.

1988 Kate Nelligan and Alec Baldwin star in Serious Money, Caryl Churchill's drama about greed in the Reagan/Thatcher era. It runs just 15 performances at the Royale Theatre.

2007 Ian Richardson, 73, the British stage actor known for the BBC's 1990 drama series "House of Cards" who played Jean-Paul Marat in Marat/Sade on Broadway and Henry Higgins in the 1976 Broadway revival of My Fair Lady, dies at his London home.

2011 Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss star in a new production of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour at the Comedy Theatre in London. Knightley plays Karen Wright, and Moss plays Martha Dobie, who together run a girls’ boarding school in 1930s New England, where they become entangled in a story of deceit, shame and courage when a schoolgirl's whispers spread, triggering a chain of events with extraordinary consequences.

More of Today's Birthdays: Cyril Scott 1866. Ronald Colman 1891. Peggy Wood 1892. Carmen Miranda 1909. Carole King 1942. Mia Farrow 1945. Judith Light 1949. Ciaran Hinds 1953.