1906 Anna Held is The Parisian Model who inherits money mysteriously. Harry B. Smith provides the book and lyrics to Max Hoffman's score. While the show is directed by Julian Mitchell, the production numbers are under the "personal direction" of Florenz Ziegfeld.
1911 Birthday of David Margulois, better known as Broadway producer David Merrick, whose highly developed taste, fiery temper, and flamboyant approach to public relations helps earn him the sobriquet "the abominable showman." Among his long-running hits are 42nd Street, Oliver!, and Hello, Dolly!.
1927 The call is for First-Class Passengers Only at the Arts Theatre in London. Written by Osbert and Sacheverell Sitwell, the comedy stars Edith Sitwell as a social climber seeking retaliation. The cast includes Val Gielgud, Sybil Arundale, Phyllis Dean, and Esme Percy.
1928 American producer Gertrude Macy begins her theatrical career as assistant stage manager for Margaret Ayer Barnes' adaptation of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, at the Empire Theatre in New York. Macy is also secretary to actor Katharine Cornell.
1929 With Fifty Million Frenchmen you can't go wrong, especially when they're performing music and lyrics by Cole Porter and a book by Herbert Fields. For nearly eight months, songs like "You've Got That Thing" and "You Do Something To Me" fill New York's Lyric Theatre. The cast includes William Gaxton as the American playboy trying to win Genevieve Tobin.
1937 The International Ladies Garment Workers Union turns producer to present a union-themed musical revue, Pins and Needles, which runs an astonishing 1,108 performances and launches the career of composer Harold Rome.
1973 Neil Simon's adaptation of several stories by Uncle Vanya playwright Anton Chekhov, The Good Doctor, opens at Broadway's Eugene O'Neill Theatre. Cast member Marsha Mason, starring alongside René Auberjonois, Barnard Hughes, Christopher Plummer, and Frances Sternhagen, will go on to marry Simon during the play's run.
2001 Pulitzer and Tony winner Proof begins a national tour in San Francisco. Such tours have become increasingly rare for non-musicals.
2006 Lincoln Center Theater hosts the U.S. premiere of The Coast of Utopia, Tom Stoppard's sprawling trilogy of plays following Alexander Herzen, a real-life 19th century Russian revolutionary who suffers the tragedy of being a half century too soon. Jack O'Brien directs a cast that includes Brian F. O'Byrne, Billy Crudup, Ethan Hawke, and Amy Irving. Part One, Voyage opens on this date, with the other two parts, Shipwreck and Salvage, joining it in December and February. The project wins the Tony Award for Best Play of 2007.
More of Today's Birthdays: Eugene Walter (1874-1998). Vera Allen (1897-1987). Priscilla Gillette (1925-2006). Fisher Stevens (b. 1963). Robin Givens (b. 1964). Elizabeth Marvel (b. 1969). Michael Xavier (b. 1977). Alison Pill (b. 1985).
Flip through photos from David Merrick's production of 42nd Street: