1828 Birth of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, who revolutionizes world theatre with his realistic dramas A Doll’s House, Hedda Gabler, Ghosts, Rosmersholm, and An Enemy of the People.
1908 British actor Michael Redgrave is born. He grows to play opposite the likes of Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud. His wife is actor Rachel Kempson and their children are Vanessa Redgrave, Corin Redgrave, and Lynn Redgrave. Natasha Richardson is their granddaughter.
1924 It’s a Leap Year at London’s Hippodrome. George Robey heads the cast of the revue that runs 471 performances. Laurie Wylie provides the book for Clifford Harris‘s score.
1945 Go ahead and Kiss Them for Me. Luther Davis bases his comedy on Frederic Wakeman‘s Shore Leave. Judy Holliday, Richard Widmark, and Paul Ford are in the cast at the Belasco Theatre. There are 110 performances.
1988 David Henry Hwang‘s gender-bending drama M. Butterfly opens at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre on Broadway. John Lithgow and B.D. Wong star as the diplomat and his lover in the work, which wins the Best Play Tony Award.
1997 Shakespeare meets Ellington in the musical Play On!, which updates William Shakespeare‘s Twelfth Night to 1940s Harlem with a score of Duke Ellington standards. The Sheldon Epps conception opens at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre with stars André De Shields and Tonya Pinkins.
2011 Priscilla Queen of the Desert—a musical based on the Academy Award-winning film The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert—opens on Broadway at the Palace Theatre. Tony Sheldon, Will Swenson, and Nick Adams star as a trio of friends traveling through the Australian outback aboard a pink bus.
2012 Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton star in a revival of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler‘s musical Sweeney Todd at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre. Directed by Jonathan Kent, the production was originally seen at the Chichester Festival Theatre in October 2011. Ball and Staunton both win Olivier Awards for their performances, and the production wins Best Musical Revival.
2013 The world-premiere production of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, adapted by Richard Greenberg from Truman Capote‘s novella, opens on Broadway at the Cort Theatre. Emilia Clarke stars as the enigmatic Holly Golightly, opposite Cory Michael Smith as writer Fred. The production receives mostly negative reviews and closes a month later, after 38 performances.
2014 The 1992 Disney animated film Aladdin, about a so-called street rat’s journey to capture the heart of a misunderstood princess—and the magical Genie he befriends along the way—comes to life at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre. Aladdin stars Adam Jacobs in the title role, Courtney Reed as Jasmine, Jonathan Freeman as Jafar, and James Monroe Iglehart as Genie.
More of Today’s Birthdays: Carl Reiner (1922-2020). Ray Goulding (1922-1990). Hal Linden (b. 1931). Ted Bessell (1935-1996). Chip Zien (b. 1947). William Hurt (b. 1950). Holly Hunter (b. 1958). Christy Carlson Romano (b. 1984).