1893 Birthday of Hattie McDaniel, the first African American actor to win and be nominated for an Academy Award. McDaniel won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in 1939's Gone With The Wind. McDaniel's life was the subject of Hi-Hat-Hattie, a solo play, seen Off-Broadway, performed by Karla Burns and written by Larry Parr.
1922 Birthday of Frances Ethel Gumm, better known as Judy Garland, star of numerous Hollywood film musicals including The Wizard of Oz. Her Broadway experience consists of three concert shows: Judy Garland: Palace Two-A-Day in 1951, Judy Garland in 1956, and Judy Garland "At Home at the Palace" in 1967. In 1952, she receives a special Tony Award "for an important contribution to the revival of vaudeville through her recent stint at the Palace Theatre." She was portrayed on Broadway by Tracie Bennett in 2012's End of the Rainbow.
1976 Neil Simon's California Suite opens on Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. The play about couples and their troubles with each other and other couples stars Tammy Grimes, George Grizzard, Jack Weston, Leslie Easterbrook, and Barbara Barrie. The production runs through the next year, playing 445 performances before closing July 2, 1977.
1981 WP Theater celebrates the opening of Constance & The Musician, a musical by with a book and lyrics by Caroline Kava and music by Mel Marvin, directed by Joan Micklin Silver.
1982 Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy opens on Broadway at the Little Theatre. The play, composed of three one-acts focusing on homosexuality and family values, wins Fierstein Tony Awards for Best Play and for Best Actor in a Play. Also in the cast is pre-Golden Girls Estelle Getty. It runs 1,222 performances.
1993 The first Broadway revival of Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, and Joe Masteroff's musical She Loves Me opens at the Roundabout Theatre Company's Criterion Center Stage Right. Boyd Gaines, Judy Kuhn, Sally Mayes, and Howard McGillin star, and Gaines wins a Tony Award for his performance. The production later transfers to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, and runs a total of 354 performances.
1993 The Five Lesbian Brothers—made up of Maureen Angelos, Babs Davy, Dominique Dibbell, Peg Healey and Lisa Kron—open Brave Smiles...Another Lesbian Tragedy at New York Theatre Workshop.
1994 Lisa Kron's monologue piece, 101 Humilating Stories opens at New York Theatre Workshop. Performed by Kron, the play recounts the adventures and misadventures of a self-described Big Lesbian as she tests the boundaries of decorum in social and professional situations.
1999 Harry Groener plays Noël Coward to Twiggy's Gertrude Lawrence in Sheridan Morley's If Love Were All opening Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. The musical revue, which focuses on the relationship between actor Lawrence and her friend and frequent co-star, playwright Coward, is directed by Leigh Lawson.
2008 Lisa B Thompson's Single BLACK Female, directed by Colman Domingo, opens at The Duke on 42nd Street. The play, a two-hander that explores the lives of 30something African American middle-class women, starred Riddick Marie and Soara-Joye Ross.