TODAY IN THEATRE HISTORY: In 2009, Alice Ripley plays a suburban woman battling mental illness in Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s musical, Next to Normal, which opens on Broadway at the Booth Theatre. Directed by Michael Greif, the cast also includes J. Robert Spencer, Aaron Tveit and Jennifer Damiano. Ripley will win a Tony Award for her performance, and the musical will win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
TODAY IN THEATRE HISTORY: In 1960, the Elvis Presley phenomenon gets spoofed in the lighthearted musical Bye Bye Birdie, with a score by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams. Dick Van Dyke plays the put-upon manager of rocker Conrad Birdie, who is trying to get him to give “One Last Kiss” to a fan on the Ed Sullivan show before he’s drafted. The show opens at the Martin Beck Theatre today, and runs 607 performances.