Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: June 19

1978 Carol Hall‘s The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, starring Carlin Glynn, opens on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre. The musical directed by Peter Masterson and Tommy Tune garners seven Tony nominations and wins two, for Glynn and co-star Henderson Forsythe.

1987 Robert Harling‘s smalltown drama Steel Magnolias transfers from Off-Broadway’s WPA Theatre to Off-Broadway’s Lucille Lortel Theatre where it plays 1,126 performances. The play features Betsy Aidem, Mary Fogarty, Margo Martindale, Rosemary Prinz, Constance Schulman, and Kate Wilkinson under the direction of Pamela Berlin.

1997 Cats officially becomes the longest-running musical in Broadway history when it plays its record-breaking 6,138th performance. The record is later surpassed by another Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, The Phantom of the Opera, in 2006.

2002 A.R. Rahman and Don Black‘s Bombay Dreams, a musical about a love story set in India, opens at London’s Apollo Victoria. The producer is Andrew Lloyd Webber. It opens on Broadway in 2004.

2004 The musical Children’s Letters to God, inspired by the bestselling book of the same name, makes its Off -Broadway debut at the black box space of the Lamb’s Theatre. Stafford Arima directs the new musical by David Evans (music), Douglas Cohen (lyrics) and Children’s Letters to God author Stuart Hample (book).

2007 Husband-and-wife actors Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna join the Broadway company of the Tony-winning revival of Kander and Ebb’s Chicago as Billy Flynn and Roxie Hart.

2011 Nilaja Sun’s portrait of New York City public schools, No Child…, which played 311 performances at the Barrow Street Theatre in 2006, returns to that venue for 40 performances only.

2013 The Off-Broadway premiere of Tennessee Williams‘ rarely-seen The Two-Character Play opens at New World Stages. Amanda Plummer and Brad Dourif star as two actors on tour who find themselves deserted by their troupe.

2014 Holler If Ya Hear Me, a non-biographical musical inspired by the music and lyrics of Tupac Shakur, opens on Broadway at the Palace Theatre. Directed by Kenny Leon, the cast includes Saul Williams, Christopher Jackson, Saycon Sengbloh, John Earl Jelks, and Tonya Pinkins. It closes a month later, after 38 performances.

2018 Donja R. Love’s drama Sugar in Our Wounds opens Off-Broadway in a Manhattan Theatre Club production. Saheem Ali directs a cast led by Sheldon Best, Stephanie Berry, Fern Cozine, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart, and Chinaza Uche as Henry. In the play, a mystical tree stretches toward heaven and protects James (Best), who reads newspapers about the imminent possibility of freedom. When a brooding stranger arrives, James and his makeshift family take the man in—the start of an unexpected bond and striking romance.

Today’s Birthdays Dame May Whitty (1865–1948). Moe Howard (1897-1975). Mildred Natwick (1905–1994). Eddie Bartell (1907–1991). Martin Gabel (1912–1996). Louis Jourdan (1919–1975). Nancy Marchand (1928–2000). Gena Rowlands (b. 1930). Maria Tucci (b. 1941). Phylicia Rashad (b. 1948). Kathleen Turner (b. 1954). Lauren Ward (b. 1970). Hugh Dancy (b. 1975). Erin Mackey (b. 1986).