1955 American producer and playwright John Golden dies at age 81. First an actor and then a writer, Golden eventually found success as the producer of such plays as The First Year and Seventh Heaven. A Broadway house bearing his name serves as a memorial.
1969 Oh! Calcutta! opens at the Eden Theater in New York. The adult-oriented review boasts a mostly-nude cast performing skits by the likes of John Lennon, Samuel Beckett, and Sam Shepard. While this production will have a long and successful run, it is the 1976 revival that will enter the history books as one of the longest-running musicals of all time, with 5,969 played performances.
1972 Tradition is broken as Fiddler on the Roof becomes the longest-running Broadway production, its 3,225 performances allowing it to surpass the previous record set by Life With Father. The Jerry Bock-Sheldon Harnick-Joseph Stein musical, based on Sholem Aleichem stories of "Tevye and His Daughters," has reportedly been playing at a loss for over a year in an attempt to break the long-run record and will soon close up shop.
1980 After playing 12 performances at Broadway's Morosco Theatre, Billy Bishop Goes to War transfers to Off-Broadway's Theater de Lys. The musical, written and composed by John Gray in collaboration with Eric Peterson, was inspired by the book "Winged Warfare," in which a young pilot named Billy Bishop recounts his service during World War I.
More of Today's Birthdays: Sammy Fain 1902. Ralph Bellamy 1904. Virginia Martin 1919. Barry Manilow 1943. Mark Linn-Baker 1954. Tracie Bennett 1961. John Gallagher, Jr. 1984.