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American poet and playwright LeRoi Jones (later known as Amiri Baraka) on the day of his play "The Toilet" debuted at the St. Marks Playhouse in New York, in 1964. An L.A. production the following year would be banned by the vice squad. (Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images)

This Month in Theatre History

Births, deaths, debuts and bans of bygone Marches.

1930 (85 Years Ago)
Stephen Sondheim is born on March 22. He will grow up to be the leading American musical-theatre composer/lyricist of his generation, with notable shows including Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods.

1965 (50 Years Ago)
Amiri Baraka’s The Toilet opens at Los Angeles’s Warner Playhouse. The engagement comes after the play was booted out of its original L.A. space. The show will subsequently be closed down again by the L.A. vice squad after tape recordings are made of its dialogue to prove that it is obscene.

1975 (40 Years Ago)
The Rocky Horror Show makes its way across the pond from London, opening at the Belasco Theatre on March 7 to mixed reviews. It closes on April 5 after only 45 performances. A film version made in 1976 will eventually be considered a cult classic.

2010 (5 Years Ago)
June Havoc, whose childhood was part of the inspiration for Gypsy, dies at age 96. Havoc made her Broadway debut in Forbidden Melody at 22. She made her final Broadway appearance in 1982 as Miss Hannigan in the original production of Annie.

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