Today In Theatre History: FEBRUARY 27

By David Gewirtzman
and Anne Bradley, Ernio Hernandez
27 Feb 2014

1848 English actress Ellen Terry is born today. She will make her American debut in 1883 with Henry Irving's company. She will go on to star in classic and contemporary works. The Terry family will become a prominent force in theatre; John Gielgud is a relative.



1906 Actor Franchot Tone is born today. He will appear in several productions with The Theatre Guild including Green Grow the Lilacs which will be the basis for the musical Oklahoma!. He will become a member of The Group Theatre.

1930 Two birthdays today: Peter Stone (1930-2003), librettist of 1776, Titanic, Woman of the Year, My One and Only, The Will Rogers Follies and other shows. And movie star Joanne Woodward, performer in Broadway's Candida and Baby Want a Kiss, and director of the 2002 revival of Our Town.

1958 Joshua Logan directs Blue Denim, a drama depicting the pregnancy of a teenage girl. James Leo Herlihy and William Noble collaborated on the story. Carol Lynley and Burt Brinckerhoff star as the couple.

1964 What Makes Sammy Run? Come to the 54th Street Theatre to find out. Steve Lawrence stars in this musical about clawing to fame and fortune in Hollywood. Budd Schulberg and Stuart Schulberg adapt Budd's novel. Ervin Drake provides the songs. There will 540 performances.

1994 Off-Broadway's Orpheum Theatre, once a home for old-fashioned Yiddish theater, suddenly crashes and bangs with the energy of Stomp, a UK dance piece that would keep slamming binlids, sweeping brooms and flicking cigarette lighters for years to come.

1997 Alfred Uhry's The Last Night of Ballyhoo opens at the Helen Hayes Theatre on Broadway. The comedy-drama, which goes on to win a Best Play Tony, concerns a Jewish family in Atlanta and stars Jessica Hecht, Dana Ivey and Paul Rudd.

2003 Opening night of Take Me Out at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway. Richard Greenberg's story of a major league baseball star who comes out as gay will go on to win the Tony Award as Best Play.

2007 Jay Harnick, 78, who founded TheatreWorks USA, the nation's largest touring children's theatre company, dies in Manhattan after a long illness.

2013 Kelli O'Hara and Nathan Gunn star in the New York Philharmonic's concert staging of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's Carousel, beginning a five-performance run at Avery Fisher Hall. The starry cast also includes Stephanie Blythe, Jessie Mueller, Jason Danieley and John Cullum.

More of Today's Birthdays: John Steinbeck 1902. Elizabeth Taylor 1932. Debra Monk 1949.