1898 Birthday of Vincent Youmans, one of the iconic Broadway composers of the 1920s. His scores include No, No, Nanette; Two Little Girls in Blue; Hit the Deck; and Wildflower. His classic showtune is "Tea for Two."
1932 Milton Berle gets his Broadway break in Earl Carroll's Vanities of 1932, which opens at the Broadway Theatre. The former Vaudeville star gets to sing the popular song "I Got a Right to Sing the Blues" by Harold Arlen in the production, which is staged by Vincente Minnelli. The show runs for 11 weeks, racking up 87 performances.
1942 It's the wedding day for two famous couples, both very significant in the theatre world. Jessica Tandy marries Hume Cronyn, starting a relationship that would blossom on stage as well as off, since they often work together. They star on Broadway in Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance in 1966 and D.L. Coburn's The Gin Game in 1977. Stella Adler and Harold Clurman also marry today. Both are founders of the Group Theatre, a socially-conscious troupe that became one of the most influential theatre companies of the century.
1966 The Actors Studio announces that it will cancel its season due to a funding shortage. The Three Sisters was the last production, having taken place in 1964, and the profits left the company with just enough money to retain an infrastructure.
1972 The first graduating class of the Drama Division at the Juilliard School (referred to as "Group I") is directed by John Houseman in a production of School for Scandal. It's the first production of the City Center Acting Company and takes place at the Good Shepherd-Faith Church at Lincoln Center starring Kevin Kline and Patti LuPone.
1977 Estelle Parsons turns a whole Broadway theatre into her classroom and the audience into her unruly students in Miss Margarida's Way, which opens at the Ambassador Theatre. Parsons' tour-de-force performance earns her a Tony nomination as Best Actress in a Play.
2004 Val Kilmer warbles the phrase "Let my people go..." in song as Moses in The Ten Commandments: The Spectacle Musical, which opens at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.
2009 Peter Sellars' contemporary take on William Shakespeare's Othello, which aims to shed new light on race and power in modern politics, opens at the NYU Skirball Center. The co-production between The Public Theater and LAByrinth Theater Company stars John Ortiz in the title role opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman as Iago.
2012 Manhattan Theatre Club's revival of Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, adapted by British dramatist Rebecca Lenkiewicz and directed by Doug Hughes, opens on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Boyd Gaines plays the righteous title character, with Richard Thomas as his mayor-brother.
2015 Deaf West Theatre's re-imagined production of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's musical Spring Awakening, performed simultaneously in English and American Sign Language, opens on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
2018 The Manhattan Theatre Club production of Richard Bean's The Nap opens at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. The new comedy, directed by Daniel Sullivan, invites audiences into the world of snooker—a British version of pool. The cast includes Alexandra Billings, John Ellison Conlee, Johanna Day, Aly Elsayed, Ethan Hova, Heather Lind, Max Gordon Moore, Bhavesh Pate, Thomas Jay Ryan, and Ben Schnetzer.
More of Today's Birthdays: Jayne Meadows (1920–2015). Stephen Douglass (1921–2011). Arthur Penn (1922–2010). Mary McCarty (1923–1980). Sada Thompson (1929–2011). Meat Loaf (b. 1947). Patti Murin (b. 1980).