1838 John Wilkes Booth, perhaps the most infamous actor in American history, was born. Son of actor Junius Brutus Booth and brother of actors Junius Brutus Booth Jr. and Edwin Booth, he appears with his brothers in a November 1864 special production of the tragedy of Shakespeare’s assassination, Julius Caesar, with Edwin as Brutus, Junius as Cassius and John Wilkes as Marc Anthony. Five months later, John assassinates President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater. In 1991, he became a character in the musical Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman, Assassins.
1899 Fred astaire was born in Omaha, Nebraska. With his sister Adele astaire, which is two years older, they become a popular vaudeville act and are subsequently featured on shows such as Madam, be nice and Funny head. After Adele retires, Fred appears opposite Claire Luce in the 1932 musical Gay divorce. This is his last appearance on Broadway. Fred leaves for Hollywood.
1961 A group of strangers—Dudley Moore, Pierre Cook, Jonathan miller, and Alan bennett-bring their comic review Beyond the margin at the Fortune Theater in London. It lasts 1,184 performances. Even though the show mocks the Prime Minister, Lord Chamberlain, normally a censor, attends the evening as part of the Queen’s Day.
1978 Fred Gwynne and Frances Sternhagen star in Broadway musical angel, based on the adaptation of Ketti Frings’ Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Thomas Wolfe Look home, Angel. He played a brief stint at the Minskoff Theater, for which Sternhagen got a Tony nomination.
2006 After an extended preview period that began on March 24, Disney’s fourth Broadway offering, Tarzan-Following Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Aida-opens at the Richard Rodgers Theater. Featuring the staging and stage design of Bob crowley and a note of Phil collins, the music stars Josh strickland in the title role opposite Jenn gambatese like Jane.
More birthdays today: Max Steiner (1888-1971), Dimitri Tiomkin (1899-1979), Nancy walker (1922-1992), Philip Cusack (1934-2013), Jo Henderson (1934-1988), Arthur kopit (1937-2021), Judith Jamison (born in 1943), Paige O’Hara (born in 1956), Suzan-Lori Parks (born 1963), Thom Clay (born 1967), Josh Young (born 1980), Katori Hall (born 1981), Caroline Bowman (born 1988)
Watch highlights from the 2012 Broadway revival Jesus Christ Superstar, starring the nominee for Tony Josh Young as Judas: