Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 8

Playbill Vault   Playbill Vault's Today in Theatre History: February 8
Sherie Rene Scott in The Little Mermaid.
Sherie Rene Scott in The Little Mermaid. Per Breiehagen

1907 Actor Ray Middleton is born in Chicago, Illinois. In 1946 he stars opposite Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun, and in 1965 he is featured in Man of La Mancha.

1937 Maxwell Anderson continues his effort to bring back verse plays with his portrait of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria, The Masque of Kings. It runs 89 performances with Dudley Digges and Henry Hull at the Shubert (and later Majestic) Theatre.

1940 The revue Two for the Show opens at the Booth Theatre, with a cast that includes Eve Arden, Alfred Drake, and Betty Hutton.

1947 The Story of Mary Surratt is a short one at the Henry Miller's Theatre. John Patrick's depiction of the execution of the boarding-house keeper in whose home President Lincoln's assassination was planned performs just 11 times. Dorothy Gish stars.

1954 The Immoralist stars James Dean as an Arab boy attempting a seductive blackmail. Louis Jourdan and Geraldine Page are the couple he may ensnare. Based on Andre Gide's novel, Ruth and Augustus Goetz's play runs for three months at the Royale Theatre.

1956 Paddy Chayefsky's drama Middle of the Night opens at the ANTA Playhouse. Edward G. Robinson and Gena Rowlands play an older man and younger woman who fall in love. Joshua Logan provides the direction.

1973 Barbara Bel Geddes and Gene Rupert star in Jean Kerr's domestic comedy Finishing Touches, which runs 164 performances at the Plymouth Theatre.

2004 Taboo, which marked the debut of famed talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell as Broadway producer, closes after just 100 performances. The musical also served as the Broadway debut for its composer-lyricist and co-star, George O'Dowd (a.k.a. Boy George). Also featured in the cast: Euan Morton, Sarah Uriarte Berry, Raúl Esparza, and Liz McCartney.

More of Today's Birthdays: Edith Evans 1888. Myron McCormick 1908. Betty Field 1913. Jack Lemmon 1925. James Dean 1931. Robert Klein 1942. Sherie Rene Scott 1967.

Watch highlights from the Taboo 10th anniversary concert at 54 Below:

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