PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today In Theatre History: MAY 25

By Robert Viagas
and Anne Bradley
May 25, 2014

1878 Birthday of legendary dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (1878-1949), whose Broadway appearances will include Memphis Bound!, The Hot Mikado and Blackbirds of 1928.

1939 Birthday of British actor Ian McKellen, a Tony-winner in 1981 for playing Salieri in Amadeus, who also will appear on Broadway in Dance of Death and Ian McKellen: Acting Shakespeare, who also will make many film appearances including "X-Men," "Gods and Monsters" and "The Lord of the Rings" (as Gandalf).

1943 Shadow and Substance by Paul Vincent Carroll, plays at the Duke of York's Theatre in London. Among the cast are Joyce Redman, Denis Carey, Megs Jenkins and Malcolm Keen. Hugh Hunt stages.

1964 Opening night of The Subject Was Roses, Frank Gilroy's play about a soldier who returns home to his battling parents (starring Jack Albertson and Martin Sheen), which will go on to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award as Best Play.

1999 Audience members to East is East, opening tonight at the Manhattan Theatre Club, are treated to the real smells of frying fish n' chips. Director Scott Elliott makes every effort to include the audience in the surroundings of Ayub Khan-Din's drama, about a Pakistani family in England.

1999 Add Thwak to the list of onomatopoeic shows that have made it to the stage as this production starts at Off-Broadway's Minetta Lane Theater today. The Australian comedy duo of David Collins and Shane Dundas, better known as The Umbilical Brothers, present an evening of physical comedy and self-produced sound effects.

2002 Josephine R. Abady, a major regional theatre director who served as artistic director of The Cleveland Playhouse and Circle in the Square in New York City, dies at her Manhattan home at age 52.

More of Today's Birthdays: Hal David 1921. Joseph Bova 1924. Roger Bowen 1932. Dixie Carter 1939. Leslie Uggams 1943. Eve Ensler 1953. Anne Heche 1969.