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Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: August 22

1922 Theoni V. Aldredge, one of Broadway’s foremost costume designers of the late 20th century, is born in Greece. Her dozens of Broadway projects include A Chorus Line, Annie, Ballroom, 42nd Street, Barnum, Dreamgirls, and La Cage aux Folles.

1983 Cicely Tyson stars with Peter Gallagher as a tutor in rural Wales in a revival of Emlyn WilliamsThe Corn Is Green at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

1989 A.R. Gurney‘s Love Letters opens at the Promenade Theatre Off-Broadway. The play is written as a series of love letters between one Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and one Melissa Gardner from the time of their childhood up to her death. Due to the simplicity in the staging of the piece (two actors sitting at tables reading letters back and forth), the cast changes from one set of stars to another, week by week. This first week, John Rubinstein is Andrew and Stockard Channing is Melissa. Other pairings during the initial run are George Segal and Dana Ivey, Treat Williams and Kate Nelligan, Timothy Hutton and Elizabeth McGovern, and Jason Robards and Elaine Stritch. The production transfers to Broadway’s Edison Theatre on October 31, 1989, with Colleen Dewhurst and Jason Robards Jr. starring in the 96-performance run.

1989 A British Military Entertainment troupe circa the late 1940s parks Off-Broadway at the Roundabout Theatre Company for a 64-performance run of Privates on Parade. The cast includes Jim Dale and Donna Murphy.

1996 Al Pacino directs himself in Eugene O’Neill‘s Hughie at the Circle in the Square Theatre. The production runs for 56 sold-out performances.

2011 Simon Russell Beale returns to the New York stage in the U.S. premiere of Simon StephensBluebird, in which he plays a London cabbie listening to the woes of his eclectic passengers. Presented by the Atlantic Theater Company at its intimate Atlantic Stage 2, the cast also includes Michael Countryman, Charlotte Parry, John Sharian, Kate Blumberg, Mary McCann, Tobias Segal, and Todd Weeks.

2021 Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s Pass Over becomes the first play to open on Broadway since COVID-19 shutdown most live theatre worldwide in March 2020. Jon Michael Hill, Namir Smallwood, and Gabriel Ebert star in this riff on Waiting For Godot that centers on two Black men killing time on a street corner until a white man enters their space.

More of Today’s Birthdays: Daniel Frohman (1851-1940). Dorothy Parker (1893-1967). Michael Langham (1919-2011). James Kirkwood (1924-1989). Diana Sands (1934-1973). Valerie Harper (1939-2019). Regina Taylor (b. 1960). Amra-Faye Wright (b. 1960). James Corden (b. 1978). Laura Dreyfuss (b. 1988).

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