1925 Birthday of Jane Connell, star of smart 1950s revues with her husband, Gordon Connell; later a reliable and beloved character actress in Broadway musicals including Mame (as Agnes Gooch), Dear World, Me and My Girl and Crazy for You.
1952 The first (and unsuccessful) attempt to turn Giuseppe Verdi's Aida into a Broadway musical. Called My Darlin' Aida, the production is directed by Charles Friedman, who also supplied lyrics for Verdi's music. The show runs 89 performances at the Winter Garden. A successful adaption would come along in 2000, but only after jettisoning Verdi's score.
1954 Kim Stanley gets her first star billing today in Horton Foote's drama, The Traveling Lady, as it opens tonight at the Playhouse Theatre. The show closed after 30 performances.
1962 The British revue opening at the John Golden Theatre is definitely Beyond the Fringe. The show, which opens today, runs 673 performances and stars Dudley Moore, Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett, operating on the periphery of all things normal and straitlaced.
1964 Robert Preston returns to Broadway in the title role of Ben Franklin in Paris, with a score by Mark Sandrich, Jr. and Sidney Michaels. It runs 215 performances at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.
1980 The Actors' Equity Association has an anti-trust suit filed against it today by a group of major playwrights, including David Mamet. The organization is demanding that actors who participate in Off-Off Broadway showcase presentations be guaranteed work in future productions of the play. The playwrights win, and the guarantee is no longer valid.
1992 John Leguizamo's second major one-man show, Spic-O Rama, opens tonight at the Westside Theatre. His first show, Mambo Mouth, opened in 1991 and it won him an Obie Award. This new show includes his looking at his family from a childhood perspective and will run 80 performances. Mr. Leguizamo will make his Broadway debut in 1998 in another one-man show called, Freak, which will win him a Tony Nomination for Best Play and for Best Actor in a Play.
1995 The Public Theater is host tonight for a show that recounts African-American history through a tap dance revue. George C. Wolfe directs Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk in its pre-Broadway run downtown, which opens tonight. The show, conceived and choreographed by "tap dance kid" Savion Glover, will transfer to Broadway's Ambassador Theatre in April 1996, where it will win a Tony Award for Best Choreography, and be nominated for Best Musical.
2011 David Henry Hwang's Chinglish, a comedy about an Ohio businessman selling his goods in China — where there is mutual misunderstanding of language and business etiquette — opens on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre. The play, performed in English and Mandarin (with projected English supertitles), stars Jennifer Lim and Gary Wilmes.
More of Today's Birthdays: Dylan Thomas 1914. Ruby Dee 1924. John Cleese 1939. Elena Roger 1974.