Today's Birthdays 3/31

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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Today's Birthdays 3/31#0
Posted: 3/31/04 at 8:03pm
Rene Descartes 3/31/1596 - 2/11/1650 French mathematician, scientist and ‘Father of modern philosophy’: “I think, therefore I am.”

Joseph Haydn 03/31/1732 - 5/31/1809 Austrian composer - The Apothecary; Push Comes to Shove (Mikhail Baryshnikov)

Nikolai Vassilievitch Gogol 03/31/1809 - Mar 4, 1852 writer; novelist: Dead Souls - The Inspector General [1978 Lynne Charnay, Theodore Bikel]; Marriage; Revisor (Michael Chekov); The Government Inspector (Tony Randall, Jesse L. Martin, Peter Michael Goetz)

Richard Kiley 03/31/1922 - Mar 5, 1999 performer - 1953 Misalliance (Barry Jones, Tamara Geva, Roddy McDowall); Kismet; Time Limit! (Arthur Kennedy, Arthur Storch); Redhead (Gwen Verdon, Margery Beddow, Buzz Miller, Doris Rich, Cynthia Latham); Advise and Consent; No Strings; I Had a Ball; Man of La Mancha; Her 1st Roman; The Incomparable Max; Voices (Julie Harris); Absurd Person Singular; 1976 The Heiress; 1987 All My Sons; tv's & film's Emmy Award-winning actor: The Thorn Birds [1983]; Blackboard Jungle, The Bad Seed, Looking for Mr. Goodbar

Sydney Chaplin 03/31/1926 - brother of Charles Chaplin Jr., half-brother of Geraldine Chaplin, son of Charles Chaplin & Lita Grey, performer - Bells Are Ringing; Goodbye Charlie; Subways Are for Sleeping; In the Counting House (Howard Da Silva, Kay Medford); Funny Girl

William Daniels 03/31/1927 performer - origs The Legend of Lizzie; 1,000 Clowns; One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Kirk Douglas, Joan Tetzel, Ed Ames, Gene Wilder); On a Clear Day You Can See Forever; Daphne in Cottage D (Sandy Dennis); 1776

Shirley Jones 03/31/1934 performer, Mother of Ryan, Patrick, Shaun Cassidy, step-mother of David Cassidy, wife of Jack Cassidy (1956 - 1974) divorced, Marty Ingels (1977 - 1999) divorced - orig. South Pacific [replacement]; Maggie Flynn; 2001 42nd Street; tv's & film's Carousel, The Music Man, Oklahoma!, Elmer Gantry, The Partridge Family

Herb Alpert 03/31/1935 producer - Jelly's Last Jam; Angels in Amer I & II: Broken Glass (David Dukes, Amy Irving); Seven Guitars

Richard Chamberlain 03/31/1935 performer - Breakfast at Tiffany's [never officialy opened]; 1976 The Night of the Iguana; 1987 Blithe Spirit (Blythe Danner, Geraldine Page, Judith Ivy); 1993 My Fair Lady; 1998 The Sound of Music; tv's & film's Joy in the Morning; Dr. Kildare, The Thorn Birds; Centennial, Shogun, The Towering Inferno, Julius Caesar, The Madwoman of Chaillot, The Bourne Identity, King Solomon’s Mines

Christopher Walken 03/31/1943 brother of Glenn Walken, performer - origs: The Climate of Eden; The Visit; High Spirits; Baker Street; The Lion in Winter; The Unknown Soldier and His Wife; Enemies (Barbara Cook, Philip Bosco, Nancy Marchand, Frances Sternhagen); Hurlyburly; James Joyce's The Dead; film's The Deer Hunter; Pennies From Heaven; Batman Returns, Wayne’s World 2, Pulp Fiction


1943 Inititally produced for $75,000 and titled Away We Go, the re-titled Oklahoma! comes sweeping into Broadway's St. James Theatre for 2,248 performances. Rodgers and Hammerstein based this musical on Lynn Riggs' Green Grow the Lilacs. It will gross millions of dollars. The show is filled with memorable songs and a cast that includes Alfred Drake, Howard DaSilva, Joan Roberts and Celeste Holm. Agnes DeMille's dance sequences break new ground in choreography. Rouben Mamoulian stages.

1944 Billie Burke stars as a rich widow who thinks it might be fun to live under communism in Mrs. January and Mr. X. Zoe Atkins' comedy also stars Barbara Bel Geddes and Frank Craven at the Belasco Theatre in New York.

1945 Strongly etched and delicately remembered, Tennessee Williams' memory play The Glass Menagerie plays at the Playhouse Theatre in New York. Laurette Taylor makes a powerful comeback as Amanda Wingfield, matriarch of a fragile family. Eddie Dowling plays her son Tom struggling to find a life. Julie Haydon is her delicate daughter Laura. There will be 561 performances.

1960 Opening night for Gore Vidal's The Best Man, a political drama about how far a candidate will go to be elected president. The two antagonists bear a certain resemblance to this year's two prospective presidential candidates, Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. The drama will be revived during the 2000 presidential election.

1983 Marsha Norman's drama 'night, Mother opens at the John Golden Theatre. Kathy Bates plays a daughter who announces her impending suicide to her mother, played by Anne Pitoniak.


1492 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain issued an edict expelling those Jews unwilling to convert to Christianity.

1981 - Ordinary People (Ronald L. Schwary, producer) won four Academy Awards at the 53rd Oscar ceremonies. Johnny Carson hosted the show from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. Oscars were presented to a lot of ordinary people, like Tess and Melvin and Howard. However, it was the Best Picture, Ordinary People, that also won for Best Director (Robert Redford), Best Supporting Actor (Timothy Hutton) and Best Writing (screenplay based on material from another medium: Alvin Sargent). Best Actor that year was Robert De Niro for Raging Bull and the Best Actress was Sissy Spacek for Coal Miner’s Daughter. The Best Supporting Actress prize went to Mary Steenburgen for Melvin and Howard and Best Music/Song Oscars were awarded to Michael Gore (music) and Dean Pitchford (lyrics) for Fame from, uh, Fame.

(sources: IBDB, NYT's ON THIS DAY,’s Those Were The Days,

Updated On: 3/31/04 at 08:03 PM