Today’s birthdays include Taye Diggs, Christopher Durang, and Beth Malone.
1911 Elsie Janis stars as the enviable princess who is too thin. The musical aptly titled The Slim Princess has a book and lyrics by Henry Blossom, music by Leslie Stuart, and additional uncredited music by Victor Herbert.
1922 Someone’s getting away with Lawful Larceny at the Republic Theatre in New York. Margaret Lawrence stars in the Samuel Shipman play about a wife whose husband is seduced by another woman and pays for it by being robbed in a gambling saloon. The comedy runs beyond the season, to the bewilderment of the critics.
1949 Birthday of iconoclastic playwright Christopher Durang, who writes Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You, Beyond Therapy, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, A History of the American Film, Sex and Longing, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and many more.
1951 Robert E. Sherwood revises the late Philip Barry‘s last play Second Threshold. Clive Brook plays a retired senator who threatens suicide if his daughter marries a man twice her age. Margaret Phillips plays the daughter. The comedy runs 126 performances at the Morosco Theatre in New York.
1968 The Negro Ensemble Company presents Peter Weiss‘ Song of the Lusitanian Bogey, its first production, at St. Mark’s Playhouse in Greenwich Village. Rosalind Cash and Moses Gunn star in the drama about Portuguese colonialism in Africa.
1969 Untamed sexual desire in the suburbs is the subject of the musical comedy The Fig Leaves Are Falling, which manages only a 4-performance run despite music by Albert Hague, lyrics by “Hello Muddah” writer Allan Sherman, a leading performance by Dorothy Loudon, and a supporting cast that includes David Cassidy and Jenny O’Hara.
1972 Fun City, a sarcastic-titled revue poking fun at New York in some of its darkest days, opens a 9-performance run at the Morosco Theatre with a cast that includes Joan Rivers, Rose Marie, Paul Ford, Pierre Epstein, and Louis Zorich.
2011 Pete Postlethwaite, an English character actor who brought an unmistakable voice and face to his many performances on stage and screen, dies at age 64 after a battle with cancer. A veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company, his theatre credits included the title role in a 2008 production of King Lear at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, and a touring a 90-minute one-man play called Scaramouche Jones.