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Playbill Vault’s Today in Theatre History: June 7

1909 Birthday of Broadway star Jessica Tandy, who creates many landmark roles including Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, Agnes in A Delicate Balance, and Fonsia in The Gin Game. She wins an Academy Award as Best Actress for playing Miss Daisy in the film adaptation of Driving Miss Daisy.

1928 Composer Charles Strouse is born on this day. He writes the music for Broadway musicals Bye Bye Birdie, Annie, Applause, and Golden Boy.

1965 Stage and screen star Judy Holliday dies at age 43. She won the 1957 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Ella Peterson in Bells Are Ringing, and was also seen on Broadway in Kiss Them for Me, Born Yesterday, Dream Girl, and Hot Spot. Holliday’s performance as Billie Dawn in the film Born Yesterday (recreating the role she originated on Broadway) earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress.

1974 Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon begins performances in San Francisco at the Savoy Tivoli. The campy spoof of pop culture runs for 45 years, making it the longest running musical revue in theatre history.

1990 Veteran stage actor Barbara Baxley dies. Baxley’s stage credits included Peter Pan, I Am a Camera, and Tennessee Williams’ Period of Adjustment. She was 65.

1998 In a surprise victory of Disney over Livent, The Lion King wins Best Musical over the predicted winner Ragtime at the 1998 Tony Awards hosted at Radio City Music Hall. The Lion King also wins the awards for best direction (Julie Taymor) and choreography, and for costume, set, and lighting design. Yasmina Reza’s British import, Art, takes Best Play over Martin McDonaugh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane, although the Irish drama still manages to walk away with four awards. Cabaret and A View From the Bridge, both produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company, earn the awards for Best Revival of a Musical and Play, respectively.

2001 John Guare’s Chaucer in Rome opens Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater.

2011 One of the more bizarre and influential chapters in American pop music history comes to light with the Off-Broadway opening of Joy Gregory, John Langs, and Gunnar Madsen’s musical The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World. Annie Golden, Steve Routman, Emily Walton, Peter Friedman, Kevin Cahoon, Jamey Hood, Cory Michael Smith, and Sarah Sokolovic star in the co-production between Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop, at Playwrights Horizons’ Mainstage Theater.

2012 The world premiere of Kenneth Lonergan’s Medieval Play opens Off-Broadway at The Irene Diamond Stage in The Pershing Square Signature Center. Set in the late 14th century, the comedy stars Josh Hamilton and Tate Donovan as two French mercenary knights.

2016 Performances of J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two begin at London’s Palace Theatre. The play picks up where the final Harry Potter novel left off, with Harry and Ginny bringing their son Albus, and Hermione and Ron bringing their daughter Rose, to King’s Cross Station for their first trip to Hogwarts. The production wins a record nine Olivier Awards, including Best New Play. A Broadway production opens in 2018.

2017 The New York premiere of Martyna Majok’s Cost of Living opens Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club. The play, exploring the interactions of abled and disabled individuals, wins the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

More of Today’s Birthdays: Dolores Gray (1924–2002); Anne Twomey (b. 1951); Liam Neeson (b. 1952); Richard Jones (b. 1953); Victor Slezak (b. 1957); Michael Cera (b. 1988).

Watch highlights from the 1998 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, The Lion King:

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