1924 Henry Oscar and Esme Biddle are the leads of Byron by Alice Law, at the Century Theatre in Bayswater, England. In a very small role is someone named Laurence Olivier.
1926 Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II's The Desert Song, one of the last of the blockbuster operettas, opens. The mysterious and romantic Red Shadow and his rebel band ride over the dunes of North Africa in the musical, which runs 471 performances at the Casino Theatre and tours for much of the next two generations.
1937 W.P. Lipscomb's Thank You, Mr. Pepys! opens at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London. This comedy is based on the biography of Samuel Pepys by Arthur Bryant. The cast includes Edmund Gwenn, Barry K. Barnes, and Marjorie Mars.
1939 Something not-quite-right is going on beneath the surface of Paul Osborn's subtle Morning's at Seven, seemingly a Norman Rockwell portrait of suburban life, which runs for only 44 performances at the Longacre Theatre. The play has more success in 1980, with a hit revival that runs 564 performances.
1947 Birthday of playwright David Mamet, who writes hard-bitten plays that capture the unique rhythms of speech of working people, including real estate salesmen (Pulitzer winner Glengarry Glen Ross), movie makers (Speed-the-Plow), academics and feminists (Oleanna), and small-time thieves (American Buffalo).
1952 Birthday of actor Mandy Patinkin who creates a series of intense characters in musicals Evita, The Secret Garden, Sunday in the Park With George, and The Knife before turning to TV, and a concert and recording career.
1955 Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II suffer a rare flop with Pipe Dream, based on John Steinbeck's story of life in a brothel. The show closes after 246 performances (R&H's shortest run) at the Shubert Theatre.
1964 Slow Dance on the Killing Ground featuring George Rose opens at the Plymouth Theatre. Hume Cronyn is co-producer of the William Hanley play about people associated with murder and death. Joseph Anthony directs the 11-week run.
1972 Arthur Miller takes on the Bible, retelling the story of Adam and Eve in his own terms in The Creation of the World and Other Business. But in this case, the flawed father is God, and even the presence of Zoe Caldwell as Eve can't stop the show from closing after just 20 performances at the Shubert Theatre.
1988 Tonight's episode of Tattinger on NBC is titled "Barrymore's," with a cast that includes Elaine Stritch, Blythe Danner, Jerry Stiller, Mary Beth Hurt, and cameos by George Abbott and Garson Kanin.
2000 Opening night for Seussical at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's musical that combines many of the stories of children's author Dr. Seuss, including Horton Hears a Who, McElligot's Pool, and The Cat in the Hat into a single story.
2011 The Actors Fund and the Vineyard Theatre present the New York premiere of John Kander and Fred Ebb's musical The Visit as a one-night-only benefit concert at Broadway's Ambassador Theatre. Tony Award winners Chita Rivera and John Cullum star as Claire Zachanassian and Anton Schell. The musical finally arrives on Broadway in 2015, with Rivera starring opposite Roger Rees.
2017 Uma Thurman makes her Broadway debut in Beau Willimon's political drama The Parisian Woman, opening at the Hudson Theatre. Josh Lucas, Blair Brown, Marton Csokas, and Phillipa Soo co-star in the play about a Washington, D.C. power couple angling to secure a judicial post.
More of Today's Birthdays: Mark Twain (1835–1910) Jules J. Levanthal (1888–1949), Virginia Mayo (1920–2005), Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (1918–2014), Robert Guillaume (1927–2017), David Hersey (b. 1939), Stephen Dillane (b. 1956), Jeff Still (b. 1959), David Auburn (b. 1969), Ryan Murphy (b. 1965), David Lindsay-Abaire (b. 1969), Amy Ryan (b. 1969), Clay Aiken (b. 1978)