1924 Passengers on a mysterious shipboard journey turn out to be the dead coasting toward the afterlife in Sutton Vane's drama Outward Bound, which opens a 144-performance run at the Ritz Theatre today, with Alfred Lunt, Leslie Howard and Margalo Gillmore.
1935 The Petrified Forest looms at the Broadhurst Theatre. Robert E. Sherwood's melodrama has a cast that includes Leslie Howard, Peggy Conklin, and Humphrey Bogart in the role of the gangster that will throw a long shadow over Hollywood.
1935 Also today, Judith Anderson and Helen Menken star in the opening night of The Old Maid, Zoe Akins' adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel about two sisters in love with the same man during the Civil War. It wins the Pulitzer Prize for drama and runs 305 performances at the Empire Theatre.
1937 Lotte Lenya makes her New York City debut at the Manhattan Opera House. She plays Miriam in Franz Werfel's The Eternal Road, with music by her husband, Kurt Weill.
1943 Cole Porter wartime soldiers-and-dancing-girls musical Something for the Boys stars Ethel Merman and Betty Garrett. It runs 422 performances at the Alvin Theatre. Songs include "Hey, Good Looking" and "By the Mississinewa." It was subsequently made into a film for Carmen Miranda.
1958 Tennessee Williams' Garden District consists of two one-acts: Suddenly Last Summer and Something Unspoken. They are produced Off-Broadway at the York Theatre for a limited run. The duet will be revived, to mixed notices, at Circle in the Square in 1995.
1975 John Cullum stars in the musical Shenandoah, based on the Civil War film of the same name. It opens today at the Alvin Theatre and runs 1050 performances.
1985 Yul Brynner returns to Broadway for the final time in a revival of The King and I at the Broadway Theater. He stars opposite Mary Beth Peil. Brynner will receive an honorary Tony Award in 1985, celebrating his 4,525 performances in Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's 1951 masterpiece.
2002 Comedian and character actor, Avery Schreiber, known for his standup comedy with Jack Burns in the 1970s, and for acting in plays and musicals, including Cy Coleman's 1989 Welcome to the Club, dies of a heart attack.
2004 In its latest salvo against the increased use of non-union national touring companies, Actors' Equity Association files unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations against Clear Channel Entertainment. Complaints will follow against Dodger Theatricals Jan. 16 and the Nederlander Organization Feb. 3. The three targeted companies are among the biggest and most prolific producers on Broadway and the road. Equity charges that each has violated the Production Contract—the pact that rules Equity's work in Broadway and touring shows—by engaging the services of NETworks, Troika and Big League Theatricals, all of which produce non-Equity producers.
More of Today's Birthdays: Zora Neale Hurston 1891. Grace Hartman 1907.