1914 A prank on the sale of soap called It pays to advertise, by Roi Cooper Megrue and Walter Hackett, opens at the Cohan Theatre. It stars Grant Mitchell and Ruth Shepley.
1932 John Bartmelodrama The man who got his head back opens on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theater for a run of 28 performances. Claude Rains, Stuart Caseyand Jean-Arthur plays in the play about a brilliant but deformed man who goes crazy when he finds out his employer is having an affair with his wife.
1953 Short-lived legendary musical Carnival in Flanders opens at the New Century Theater. Despite a score of Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burka book of Preston Sturgesand a famous man in the person of John Raitt, the show only has a run of six performances. In particular, the leading lady Dolores Gray won the 1954 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, the shortest series to be so honored.
1975 jazz titans Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgeraldand Count Basie make their Broadway debut in The concert at the Uris Theater. The sold-out two-week engagement features Sinatra and Fitzgerald singing against the backdrop of Basie’s 18-man band (with an additional 20 strings added for Sinatra’s set).
1977 Zero Mostel, star of stage and screen, dies at 62. His most notable work has been directing the original Broadway casts of fiddler on the roof and A funny thing happened on the way to the forum and featured in the Mel Brooks film The producers.
1999 Off-Broadway’s Century Theater becomes The exact center of the universe as Joan Vail Thorne’s comedy transitions to commercial release. The Southern Fried Family Comedy Presents Frances Sternhagen like a matron troubled by her son’s romance. John Tillinger leads the star and a cast that also includes Reed Birney, Marge RedmondTracy Thorne and Sloane Shelton. It offers 142 performances.
2009 Army Archerd, who chronicled show business projects and practitioners for half a century through his column in Variety, dies at 87.
2016 Spamilton, a satirical musical Forbidden Broadway creator Gerard Alessandrini, opens at Off-Broadway’s Cabaret Triad. Inspired by the Tony and Pulitzer Prize hamilton, the show celebrates and parodies both the historic musical, as well as much of the rest of Broadway. Originally announced as a limited 18-performance engagement, the show extended to the Triad before transitioning to an open-ended engagement at the 47th Street Theater/The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in June 2017.
2019 The Red Bull Theater celebrates the Off-Broadway opening of Keith Hamilton Cobb’s American Moor at the Cherry Lane Theatre. The monologue play is a journey through Shakespeare and race, as an African-American actor auditioning for the role of Othello must respond to the dictates of a young, white director.
Today’s birthdays: Howard Dietz (1896-1983). Jean-Louis Barrault (1910-1994). Sir Harry Secombe (1921-2001). Sid Caesar (1922-2014). Michael Frayn (born in 1933). Megan Lawrence (born in 1972). Rogelio Douglas, Jr. (b. 1978). Teal Wicks (born in 1982). Justin Peck (born in 1987).