1939 Swingin' the Dream , with a cast including Louis Armstrong, Jackie "Moms" Mabley, and Butterfly McQueen opens at the Center Theatre in New York. Erik Charell directs his and Gilbert Seldes' musical, a swing version of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.
1943 Lovers and Friends by Dodie Smith opens for a 21 week-run at the Plymouth Theatre. The stars are Katharine Cornell and Raymond Massey, with direction by Gutherie McClintic.
1945, Strange Fruit blossoms under the direction of Jose Ferrer. Lillian Smith adapts her own novel, with help from her sister. The cast at the Royale Theatre includes Eugenia Rawls, Murray Hamilton and Ralph Meeker.
1956 Bells Are Ringing , starring Judy Holliday and Sidney Chaplin, opens at the Shubert Theatre. This production is also rung by the likes of Comden and Green supplying the book,Jule Styne the score, Bob Fosse the choreography, and Jerome Robbins pulling the strings. It will run 924 performances.
1997 Lyric Opera of Chicago presents the world premiere of Amistad, by composer Anthony Davis, opening tonight. George C. Wolfe, producer of The Joseph Papp Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival and famed director, will direct the opera; the cast includes Mark S. Doss and Thomas Young. The opera, based on an 1839 slave uprising aboard a Cuban chartered ship, will precede Steven Spielberg's film version of the same story (also titled "Amistad"), which is set to open Dec. 10. -- by Anne Bradley and Steve Luber