1926 Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II's The Desert Song, one of the last of the blockbuster operettas, opens. The mysterious and romantic Red Shadow and his rebel band ride over the dunes of North Africa in this musical, which runs 471 performances at the Casino Theatre and tours for much of the next two generations.
1937 W.P. Lipscomb's Thank You, Mr. Pepys! opens at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London. This comedy is based on the biography of Samuel Pepys by Arthur Bryant. The cast includes Edmund Gwenn, Barry K. Barnes, and Marjorie Mars.
1939 Something not-quite-right is going on beneath the surface of Paul Osborn's subtle Morning's at Seven, seemingly a Norman Rockwell portrait of suburban life, which flops after a 44-performance run at the Longacre Theatre. In 1980, audiences figure it out quicker, and a hit revival will run 564 performances.
1947 Birthday of playwright David Mamet, who will write hard-bitten plays that capture the unique rhythms of speech of working people, including real estate salesmen (Pulitzer-winner Glengarry Glen Ross), movie makers (Speed-the-Plow), academics and feminists (Oleanna) and small-time thieves (American Buffalo).
1952 Birthday of fierce actor Mandy Patinkin who will create a series of intense characters in musicals Evita, The Secret Garden, Sunday in the Park With George and The Knife before turning to TV, and a concert and recording career.
1955 Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II suffer a rare flop with Pipe Dream, based on John Steinbeck's story of life in a brothel. The show closes after 246 performances (R&H's shortest run) at the Shubert Theatre.
1964 Slow Dance on the Killing Ground featuring George Rose opens at the Plymouth Theatre tonight. Hume Cronyn is co-producer of this William Hanley play about people associated with murder and death. Joseph Anthony directs the eleven-week run.
1972 Arthur Miller takes on the Bible, retelling the story of Adam and Eve in his own terms in The Creation of the World and Other Business. But in this case, the flawed father is God, and even the presence of Zoe Caldwell as Eve can't stop the show from closing after just 20 performances at the Shubert Theatre.
1988 Tonight's episode of "Tattinger" on NBC will be titled "Barrymore's," with a cast that includes Elaine Stritch, Blythe Danner, Jerry Stiller, Mary Beth Hurt and cameos by George Abbott and Garson Kanin.
2000 Opening night for Seussical, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's musical that combines many of the stories of children's author Dr. Seuss, including "Horton Hears a Who," "McElligot's Pool" and "The Cat in the Hat" into a single story. Following a bumpy out-of-town tryout in which, for the first time, internet chat strongly affects the box office negatively, the show gets mixed reviews and struggles on for a 198-performance run at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
2011 The Actors Fund and the Vineyard Theatre present the New York premiere of John Kander and Fred Ebb's musical The Visit as a one-night-only benefit concert at Broadway's Ambassador Theatre. Tony Award winners Chita Rivera and John Cullum star as Claire Zachanassian and Anton Schell.
More of Today's Birthdays: Mark Twain 1835. Virginia Mayo 1920. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. 1923. Robert Guillaume 1937.