1969 Dancer-actress Irene Castle dies today in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. She partnered with her husband Vernon Castle in shows such as Watch Your Step, and she appeared alone in Miss 1917.
1973National Lampoon's Lemmings plays at the Village Gate in New York City. This revue, inspired by the magazine National Lampoon, has a cast that includes future "Saturday Night Live" stars John Belushi, and Chevy Chase, among others. The eleven-month run is directed by Tony Hendra.
1978Laughter!, Peter Barnes' black comedy, runs at London's Royal Court Theatre. Timothy West, Frances de La Tour, and Roger Kemp are featured.
1996 One day before the first Off-Broadway performance of Rent, author-composer Jonathan Larson dies of an aortic aneurysm. Much litigation would follow regarding both the circumstances of his death and the authorship of the musical, but none of it would tarnish the runaway success of Larson's story of young, hand-to-mouth, downtown New Yorkers who refuse to pay "last year's rent."
2003 Closing day for the gothic musical Dance of the Vampires after just 56 Broadway performances at the Minskoff Theatre, losing its entire investment, estimated at $12 million. Based on the Roman Polanski film, "The Fearless Vampire Killers," the show had been a major hit in Vienna, where it originated. But New York critics faulted its uneven tone, sometimes trying to be campy, sometimes trying to be scary.
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.