1999 Cross-dressing British comedian Eddie Izzard begins previews for Lenny, the biopic on the life of American shock comedian Lenny Bruce. The production, directed by Sir Peter Hall, plays at the Queen's Theatre in London. Izzard is best known for his touring comedy shows and videos such as Dress to Kill and Glorious.
2000 Nathan Lane stars as Sheridan Whiteside and Jean Smart stars as Lorraine Sheldon in the revival of the Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman play, The Man Who Came to Dinner, which opens tonight at the Roundabout Theatre Company's new Broadway house, the American Airlines Theatre. Lane will probably be remembered more for his second starring role of the season, as Max Bialystock in The Producers which won him the Tony for Best Actor. The American Airlines Theatre is the refurbished and rechristened Selwyn Theatre on 42nd Street.
2001 Alan King's solo show, Mr. Goldwyn debuts at New York Stage & Film at Vassar College. The production later transfers to Off-Broadway.
2003 Actor and comedian Bob Hope dies today at age 100. Though he's known primarily for his film career, he appeared in eight Broadway musicals in the late 1920s and early 1930s, notably Jerome Kern's Roberta, Cole Porter's Red, Hot and Blue! and Vernon Duke's Ziegfeld Follies of 1936.
2008 I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, which opened at the Westside Theatre Aug. 1, 1996, plays its final performance at that Off-Broadway venue. The musical revue played a total of 20 previews and 5,003 regular performances, making it the second longest-running musical in Off-Broadway history.
2008 Stuart W. Little, who for three decades covered the New York theatre as a reporter and author, dies at age 86. He wrote a theatre column for the New York Herald Tribune from 1958 until the newspaper closed in 1966. Thereafter, he became known for a series of books that examined the inner workings of the theatre business.