1913 Birthday of June Hovik, better known as June Havoc, even better known as namesake of Baby June, the character based on her in the musical Gypsy. The show pretty accurately sums up her childhood with a hard-driving mom in the dying years of vaudeville, and a sister who later becomes Gypsy Rose Lee. Havoc has a busy Broadway career of her own, appearing in Pal Joey, Mexican Hayride, Affairs of State, and her own play, Marathon '33. She's present to advise the cast of the original 1959 Gypsy, as well as the 2003 revival.
1926 Opening night at the Imperial Theatre for the George and Ira Gershwin musical Oh, Kay!, about hijinks involving rumrunners at a Long Island estate. Gertrude Lawrence and Victor Moore are featured in the show, which runs 256 performances and introduces the standards "Someone To Watch Over Me," "Do Do Do," and "Clap Yo' Hands." In 2012, a reworked version of the musical opens on Broadway under the title Nice Work If You Can Get It.
1932 Opening night for Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's operetta Music in the Air at the Alvin Theatre, beginning a run of 342 performances. The score includes "I've Told Ev'ry Little Star" and "The Song Is You." The cast includes Walter Slezak, Al Shean, Natalie Hall, and a pre-I Love Lucy Vivian Vance.
1939 Life With Father, a family comedy based on Clarence Day’s stories that was written by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse, opens at the Empire Theatre. The cast includes Lindsay himself taking over a role that was turned down by Alfred Lunt. He appears on stage with his offstage wife, Dorothy Stickney. Lindsay had hoped that the play would run for at least six months. He gets his wish; the play runs for over eight years, setting a new record for a non-musical play, racking up 3,224 performances.
1950 John Gielgud and a young Richard Burton appear together in Christopher Fry's The Lady's Not for Burning at the Royale Theatre for 151 performances. Gielgud also directs the romantic comedy set in the 15th century.
1973 Boom Boom Room by David Rabe opens at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, marking the first time that Joseph Papp has a show at Lincoln Center. Madeline Kahn stars as a middle-aged woman realizing that her adult life is, in reality, not that much better than her abusive childhood. Charles Durning and Robert Loggia co-star in the show that wins mixed reviews and a short run of only 37 performances.
1979 Romantic Comedy opens at the Barrymore Theatre with stars Mia Farrow and Anthony Perkins. The Bernard Slade play gets mixed reviews and runs 396 performances.
1990 Six Degrees of Separation opens at Lincoln Center after a successful Off-Broadway run. Directed by Jerry Zaks and starring Stockard Channing, Courtney B. Vance, and John Cunningham, the show about a Black impostor posing as a college friend of a White family's son runs for 485 performances at its new home.
2001 Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of Clare Booth Luce's not altogether affectionate comic treatise on her sex, The Women, features a constellation of contemporary stars, including Kristen Johnston, Rue McClanahan, Cynthia Nixon, Mary Louise Wilson, and Jennifer Tilly.
2006 After numerous stage adaptations of movies, Broadway gets a musical based on a TV special. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas opens at the Hilton Theatre and proves to be so popular, it returns the following year. Patrick Page stars as the greedy green title character, with John Cullum as his faithful pooch.
2007 He grunts, he shuffles, he stomps—he sings! Mary Shelley's 19th-century creature is reinvented for Broadway in Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan's musical based on Brooks' 1974 film comedy, opening at the Hilton Theatre. The production stars Roger Bart as Dr. Frankenstein, Megan Mullally as the doctor's love interest Elizabeth, Sutton Foster as comely assistant Inga, Shuler Hensley as The Monster, Andrea Martin as castle matron Frau Blucher, and Christopher Fitzgerald as hunchback Igor. Reviews are less enthusiastic than for Brooks' previous Broadway effort, the smash hit The Producers, but the production still runs 485 performances.
2011 Venus in Fur, David Ives' two-character play about the relationship between a hungry actor and a controlling writer-director, opens on Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Nina Arianda, who created the role of Vanda in the production's 2010 Off-Broadway premiere, stars opposite Hugh Dancy. Arianda wins a 2012 Tony Award for her performance.
2012 Annie, the 1977 show that introduced generations of children to the tuneful optimism of traditional Broadway musicals, opens in a new production on Broadway at the Palace Theatre. The 35th anniversary revival of the tale of a red-headed orphan in the care of a billionaire Republican during the Great Depression stars Lilla Crawford in the title role, Katie Finneran as Miss Hannigan, and Anthony Warlow as Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks.
2015 Marc Acito, Jay Kuo, and Lorenzo Thione's musical Allegiance, inspired by the childhood of veteran actor George Takei, opens on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre. Takei stars alongside Lea Salonga and Telly Leung. The production runs 111 performances.
2018 King Kong, a Broadway musical based on Merian C. Cooper’s 1932 adventure novel that inspired the 1933 Hollywood classic—and a subsequent film franchise—opens at the Broadway Theatre. The centerpiece of the production is its titular star: a 20-foot-high, 2,000-pound puppeteer-operated gorilla whose lifelike face is capable of expressing a breathtaking range of emotion. The puppet's creators, Sonny Tilders and Creature Technology Company, receive a Special Tony Award.
More of Today's Birthdays: Bram Stoker (1847–1912). Peter Weiss (1916–1982). Gene Saks (1921–2015). Nicholas Kepros (b. 1932). Alfre Woodard (b. 1952). Chuck Cooper (b. 1954). Parker Posey (b. 1968). Gretchen Mol (b. 1972). David Turner (b. 1974).