Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: May 13 | Playbill

Playbill Vault Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: May 13
John Raitt, Janis Paige, Marion Colby, Thelma Pelish, and Buzz Miller in The Pajama Game. Friedman-Abeles / The New York Public Library

1907 Writer-playwright Daphne du Maurier is born to actors Gerald and Muriel du Maurier. Daphne later adapts her novel Rebecca into a play.

1919 St. John Ervine's drama depicting life in Ireland, John Ferguson, is the Theatre Guild's first success. Augustin Duncan stages and plays the lead. It runs 177 performances at Broadway's Garrick Theatre.

1924 Composer Louis Hirsch dies in New York City. He composed music for three of the Ziegfeld Follies and The Honeymoon Express, among others. He was 37 years old.

1954 The Pajama Game opens on Broadway at the St. James Theatre. Jerry Ross and Richard Adler's score includes "Hey There," "Hernando's Hideaway," and "Steam Heat." George Abbott and Jerome Robbins direct, and Bob Fosse choreographs. It runs 1,063 performances, and wins five Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

1964 English actor Diana Wynyard dies in London at age 58. She made her professional debut in London in 1925. In 1932, she debuted on Broadway in The Devil Passes. She was the first wife of film director Carol Reed.

1973 Christopher Plummer noses his way into the Palace Theatre via a musical version of Cyrano. The Michael J. Lewis-Anthony Burgess show wins Plummer a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical.

1999 John Rando directs Erin Dilly and Clea Lewis in Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight. Three couples find themselves in relationship turmoil at 3 AM in Peter Ackerman's comedy at Off-Broadway's Promenade Theatre.

2006 Joan Diener, the actor who lustily played Aldonza/Dulcinea in the original Broadway production of Man of La Mancha, dies of cancer at age 76.

2011 Pam Gems, who found stage plays in the lives of persons as diverse as French chanteuse Edith Piaf and English painter Stanley Spencer, dies at age 85. Her plays included Queen Christina, Piaf, Stanley, and Marlene.

More of Today's Birthdays: Sir Arthur Sullivan 1842. Maxine Sullivan 1911. Bea Arthur 1922. Theodore Mann 1924. Zohra Lampert 1937. Harvey Keitel 1939. Zoe Wanamaker 1949. Hunter Parrish 1987.

Watch highlights from the 2011 Broadway revival of Godspell, starring Hunter Parrish as Jesus:

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