Playbill Vault's Today In Theatre History: April 16

Kelli O'Hara in the 2015 Broadway revival of The King and I.
Kelli O'Hara in the 2015 Broadway revival of The King and I. (Paul Kolnik)

1906 John Philip Sousa supplies the music for The Free Lance. Herbert Gresham stage this 35 performance run at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway.

1920 A pair of marooned teenagers discover love in The Blue Lagoon. Norman MacOwen and Charlton Mann based their drama on the novel by H.De Vere Stacpoole. Harold French and Faith Celli are the twosome at London's Prince Of Wales Theatre.

1965 Anne of Green Gables plays at London's New Theatre. Based on L.M. Montgomery's novel it stars Polly James as the orphan Anne who changes the lives of those around her. Donald Harron adapted the book and provides the lyrics for Norman Campbell's score.

1968 Author Edna Ferber died today in New York. She successfully collaborated with George S. Kaufman on the plays Dinner at Eight and Stage Door. Her novel "Show Boat," was the basis for the musical. She was 81 years old.

1990 August Wilson's The Piano Lesson opens tonight at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Charles S. Dutton stars alongside S. Epatha Merkerson as siblings in 1930s Pittsburgh who struggle over the choice to sell a family heirloom. Lloyd Richards directs the production that will run 320 performances.

2000 Palm Sunday traditionally commemorates Jesus Christ's entrance into the city of Jerusalem. This Palm Sunday, however, marks the official entry of Jesus Christ Superstar into the Broadway season, as the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's rock opera opens at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

2001 The Proof is in the Pulitzer. The prestigious award goes to David Auburn's drama about a troubled young woman trying to prove that a mathematics breakthrough is her own work and not cribbed from her math-genius father.

2012 The world premiere of In Masks Outrageous and Austere, the final full-length play from Pulitzer Prize winner Tennessee Williams, opens Off-Broadway at Culture Project at 45 Bleecker. Directed by David Schweizer, the production stars Shirley Knight as Babe Foxworth.

2014 James Franco and Chris O'Dowd make their Broadway debuts in a revival of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, opening at the Longacre Theatre. Anna D. Shapiro directs the play, which Steinbeck adapted from his novel about two migrant field hands in California during the Great Depression.

2015 Lincoln Center Theater's revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic  The King and I, starring Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe, opens on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. A cast of more than 50 is featured. The production wins four Tony Awards, including Best Actress in a Musical for O'Hara, and Best Revival of a Musical.

Today's Birthdays: Fifi D'Orsay 1904. Barry Nelson 1917. Peter Ustinov 1921. Edith Adams 1927. Robert Stigwood 1934. Ellen Barkin 1954. Kelli O'Hara 1976.