PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: MAY 9

By David Gewirtzman
and Robert Viagas and Anne Bradley
May 9, 2014

1860 Birthday of James M. Barrie (1860-1937), British author and playwright whose creations will include What Every Woman Knows, The Little Minister, The Admirable Crichton and the work that will make him immortal, Peter Pan.



1921 Robert Atkins directs William Shakespeare's Pericles for Lilian Baylis at London's Old Vic Theatre. This continues the cycle that began in 1914 and which will end in 1923, when all 37 of the Bard's works have been performed.

1956 In The House by the Lake lives a woman who was saved from suicide by her husband years before through hypnosis. Now, he plans to bring her to commit the act, again through hypnosis. Hugh Mills's thriller draws audiences for 928 performances at the Duke of York's Theatre in London.

1972 The children's classic Tom Brown's Schooldays is adapted by Joan and Jack Maitland with a score by Chris Andrews. Adam Walton and Roy Dotrice are in the cast at the Cambridge Theatre in London.

1978 Ain't Misbehavin', a review based on the music of Fats Waller, opens at the Longacre Theater on Broadway. Nell Carter, Ken Page, Charlaine Woodard and Andre De Shields are in the cast. It will run 1,604 performances.

1982 On this ninth day of May, Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston open their musical Nine at Broadway's 46th Street Theatre. Tommy Tune directs a cast that includes Raul Julia and a slew of women. The musical was inspired by the film "8 1/2" by Federico Fellini.

1994 Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's musical about obsessive love, Passion, opens on Broadway at the Plymouth Theatre. Based on the 1981 film "Passione D'Amore", it stars Marin Mazzie, Jere Shea and Donna Murphy under Lapine's direction.

2003 Jack Gelber, who wrote one of the seminal sensations of Off-Broadway's early years, The Connection, dies at his Manhattan home of Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, a cancer of the blood. He was 71.

2005 The Broadway theatres long known as the Plymouth and the Royale are renamed by the Shubert Organization in honor of longtime leaders Gerald Schoenfeld and the late Bernard B. Jacobs.

2010 Lena Horne, the elegant and statuesque singer who broke down color barriers by becoming one of Hollywood's first African-American female stars, and who later made a triumphant return to Broadway, dies at age 92. Her Broadway appearances included Dance With Your Gods, Lew Leslie's Blackbirds of 1939, Jamaica, and the Tony Award-winning one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music.

2011 Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage's By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, about an African-American maid and her white movie-star employer in the Golden Age of Hollywood, opens Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre. The world premiere production stars Sanaa Lathan as the title character, with Stephanie J. Block as her boss.

2012 Top Hat, a stage version of the 1935 film of the same name with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, opens at the West End's Aldwych Theatre. The production, which stars Tom Chambers and Summer Strallen in the roles created in the film by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, will win the 2013 Olivier Award for Best Musical.

More of Today's Birthdays Leonard Sillman 1908. Fay Kanin 1917. Alan Bennett 1934. Albert Finney 1936. Glenda Jackson 1936. Candice Bergen 1946.