PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: JANUARY 20
20 Jan 2014
1896 Say good morning, George. Actually it was "Nathan" then — Nathan Birnbaum born today. As George Burns, he and Gracie Allen will become headliners of vaudeville. Together they will appear in films and their own television show. On his own, Burns will also have a successful film career.
1914John Barrymore stars in The Yellow Ticket at the Eltinge Theatre in New York. This drama written by Michael Morton and staged by Hugh Ford, will run 183 performances.
1926 Actress Patricia Neal is born today in Packard, Kentucky. Among other productions, she will appear in Lillian Hellman's Another Part of the Forest. For her performance in that show she will have the distinction of being the very first person to be handed a Tony Award at the inaugural ceremony.
1975 A gay bathhouse is the setting of Terrence McNally's high-energy farce, The Ritz, which stars Jack Weston as a bewildered straight man forced to hide out there, and Rita Moreno as spirited entertainer Googie Gomez. It runs 398 performances at the Longacre Theatre, and wins Moreno the Tony for Best Supporting Actress. She's the last person to win it, however: Her speech about supporting "nothing but my beads," leads the Tonys to change the name of the category to Best Featured Actress.
2003 Iconic Broadway caricaturist Al Hirschfeld dies at age 99. Having captured the spirit of New York life, particularly actors in performance, since the 1920s, he was known for hiding his daughter's name, "Nina," in his sketches. At least one Broadway show, My Fair Lady, used a Hirschfeld drawing as its logo. Within months of his death, the Martin Beck Theatre will be renamed the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in his honor.
2004Bernard Punsly, the last surviving member of the quintet of young Broadway and Hollywood actors known as "The Dead End Kids," for their first appearance in the Broadway drama Dead End, dies in Torrence, California, at age 80.
2005 Also today, Dick Gallagher, 49, a trusted accompanist, musical director and Off-Broadway composer (for What Not, Whoop-Dee-Doo! and — his greatest hit — When Pigs Fly), dies in Manhattan after a long illness.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular: Buy One, Get One Free!
The Rockettes® dazzle in brilliant dance numbers and Radio City® shines with the joy of the season.
Follow Santa on his sleigh ride, see ice skaters swirl across the stage, and catch a snowflake or two
in this immersive theatrical experience like no other. And this year, delight in the magic of Santa’s enchanted toy factory! We’re bringing back a fan favorite to Santa’s workshop, with charming ragdolls that come to life.