1776 E. T. A. Hoffmann is born. His stories form the basis of the ballets Coppelia and The Nutcracker.
1905 Buster Brown, based on Richard F. Outcault's comic strip about a kid and his dog, opens at the old Majectic Theatre.
1929 Edith Evans stars as Florence Nightingale in The Lady With a Lamp. The drama by Reginald Berkeley runs at the Garrick Theatre in London for 22 weeks.
1933 Noël Coward's Design for Living has its U.S. premiere at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Coward co-stars in it with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. Depression-era audiences are scandalized and titillated by the story of a ménage à trois.
1944 Standing in the shadows is The Duke in Darkness. Patrick Hamilton's tale of a duke who feigns blindness while imprisoned runs for three weeks at the Playhouse Theatre in New York.
1971 Irish playwright and critic St. John Ervine dies in London. Among his numerous plays are Mixed Marriage, John Ferguson, and The First Mrs. Fraser. He was 88 years old.
1979 Mabel Taliaferro, a stage veteran of numerous shows including George Washington Slept Here, dies at age 91.
2000 Cherry Jones and Gabriel Byrne star in Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, to be followed by a run at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theater. The production receives four 2000 Tony Award nominations and one win for Roy Dotrice (Best Featured Actor in a Play).
2006 Chita Rivera reunites with Bye Bye Birdie co-star Dick Van Dyke for the first of four special performances of her show Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life.
2006 Fayard Nicholas, the surviving half of the athletic tap duo of stage and screen known as The Nicholas Brothers and a Tony Award winning choreographer for Black and Blue, dies at age 91.
2008 S. Epatha Merkerson plays a woman trying to cope with loneliness, longing, and an alcoholic husband (Kevin Anderson) in a revival of William Inge's 1950 drama Come Back, Little Sheba at the Biltmore Theatre.
2010 Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson star in a Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge. Johansson wins the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role.
2019 Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano play two brothers holed up in their mother's California house in a revival of Sam Shepard's Pulitzer Prize-nominated drama True West.
More of Today's Birthdays: Pierre Augustin Beaumarchais (1732-1799). Estelle Winwood (1883-1984). Vicki Baum (1888-1960). Ernest Borgnine (1917-2012). Donald Saddler (1918-2014). Helen Stenborg (1925-2011). Maria Tallchief (1925-2013). Sarah Ruhl (b. 1974). Carrie Coon (b. 1981). Daveed Diggs (b. 1982).