85 Years Ago (1930)
George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin team up with George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind for Strike Up the Band, which opens at the Times Square Theatre on Jan. 14. The show, a satire on big business, runs for 191 performances, and pushes the team to move onto their next satire, the Pulitzer-winning Of Thee I Sing.
50 Years Ago (1965)
T.S. Eliot dies in London at the age of 77 on Jan. 4. The modernist poet is credited with reviving the poetic drama with his Murder in the Cathedral in 1935. Other dramatic titles in his repertoire include The Cocktail Party, The Family Reunion and The Confidential Clerk. His book of poems Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats will later be the inspiration for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit 1982 musical Cats.
35 Years Ago (1980)
Playwright, actor and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda is born on Jan. 16. He will grow up to create the musical In the Heights, which will open on Broadway in 2008 and win the Tony for best musical. He will also work on Spanish translations for the 2009 revival of West Side Story and write music for Bring It On, the Musical. (His newest show, Hamilton, begins performances at the Public Theater this month.)
10 Years Ago (2005)
Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women becomes a Broadway musical, opening at the Virginia Theatre. The show features a score by Jason Howland and Mindi Dickstein and a book by Allan Knee. A young Sutton Foster stars as Jo, with Maureen McGovern as Marmee.