1898 Birthday of actor Shirley Booth, who appears in more than 30 Broadway productions in between film and TV stints. Her major stage roles include A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; The Philadelphia Story; Three Men on a Horse; The Time of the Cuckoo; Goodbye, My Fancy; and Come Back, Little Sheba; the last three winning her Tony Awards for acting.
1939 Stage and film actor Elizabeth Ashley is born Elizabeth Ann Cole in Ocala, Florida. She wins the Tony Award for her performance in Take Her, She’s Mine, and also appears on Broadway in Barefoot in the Park, Agnes of God, and a revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. In the 1990s, Ashley is also a regular on the CBS series Evening Shade.
1940 Superstar performers Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier are married. Leigh, an Academy Award winner for the previous year’s Gone With the Wind, and Olivier, a celebrated Broadway star and director, team up professionally on several occasions. Their work together includes a production of Anthony and Cleopatra and the London production of A Streetcar Named Desire. In the latter, Leigh stars as Blanche DuBois, and Olivier directs his wife in the role she later immortalizes on film.
1982 Following an extended run at the Kennedy Center, Arthur Kopit‘s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen‘s Ghosts opens on Broadway for a limited engagement at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. The production stars Liv Ullmann as Mrs. Helen Alving.
2000 Broadway’s child prodigy Daisy Eagan brings Stephen Spoonamore’s new play Where Everything Is Everything to Off-Broadway’s New York Performance Works. The actor, who at age 11 won a Tony Award for her performance in the 1991 production of The Secret Garden, now at 20 stars alongside Paul Sparks. The play directed by Spoonamore focuses on a relationship between a slick financial consultant and a sweet, shy graphic designer.
2001 Terrence Mann, once the uptight police inspector Javert, loosens up as the “sweet tranvestite” Dr. Frank ‘n’ Furter in the Broadway revival of The Rocky Horror Show, replacing Tony nominee Tom Hewitt.
2009 The Disney musical The Little Mermaid plays its final performance on Broadway after 685 performances.
More of Today’s Birthdays: Raymond Massey (1896–1983). Joan Blondell (1906–1979). Fred MacMurray (1908–1991). William Duell (1923–2011). William Ivey Long (b. 1947). Lewis Black (b. 1948). Jeff Bowen (b. 1971).
Watch highlights from the 2012 Off-Broadway musical Now. Here. This., featuring Jeff Bowen: