Playbill Vault’s Today in Theater History: February 3

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Happy birthday, Nathan Lane!

1938 A grandfather holds back death by chasing him into a tree On borrowed time. The comedy was adapted by Paul Osborn from the novel of the same title by Lawrence Edward Watkin. Dudley Digges plays the role of Gramps, Peter Holden that of his grandson and Frank Conroy that of Grim Reaper.

1951 Maureen Stapleton is a lonely widow who yearns for her dead husband in rose tattoo. the Tennessee Williams also work stars Eli Wallach, Sal Mineoand Martin Baume. It lasts 38 weeks.

1956 Broadway Musical Leading Man Nathan Lane was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He would go on to win Tony Awards for his performances as Max Bialystock in The producersnickname in A funny thing happened on the way to the forumand Roy Cohn in Angels in America and receive applications for The first page, La Nancy, and guys and dolls. He also collaborates with Stephen Sondheim on the musical Frogsand lends his voice to Timon the meerkat in the Disney animated film The Lion King.

1960 The wrong side of the park could also be the bad side of marriage in John Mortimerthis is the drama. Staged by Stone Room at the Cambridge Theater in London, Margaret Leighton plays the role of a neurotic wife tormenting her husband (Richard Johnson) with a fantasy of her deceased first spouse. It lasts almost 22 weeks.

1976 Opening night for A matter of gravity featuring Catherine Hepburn and Christopher Reeve. Enid BagnoldThe drama runs 79 performances at the Broadhurst Theatre.

1982 James Earl Jones stars as othello at the Winter Garden Theater opposite Christopher Plummer as Iago. The production was first seen the previous summer at the American Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, Connecticut. Also in the cast are Dianne Wiest as Desdemona and Kelsey Grammer as Cassio.

2005 Pulitzer winner Donald MarguliesBrooklyn Boy opens on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre. Adam Arkin, Polly Draperand Ari Graynor star in the drama about a man who returns to his childhood neighborhood after becoming a famous novelist.

2012 Ben Gazzara, an intense stage and film actor who originated the role of Brick in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a hot tin roofdies at age 81. He received Tony Award nominations for his performances in A rain hat, Hughie / Duetand Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

More birthdays from today: James A. Michener (1907-1997). Robert Earl Jones (1910-2006). Bibi Osterwald (1920-2002). John Fiedler (1925-2005). Blythe Danner (born in 1943). Linda Edder (born in 1961). Geoffrey Nauffts (born in 1961). Anne Harada (born in 1964). Doug Besterman (born in 1965). Maura Tierney (born in 1965). Ashley Brown (born in 1982). Brandon Michael Hall (born 1993).

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Tribute to three-time Tony Award winner Nathan Lane


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