95 YEARS AGO (1925)
Martha Morton, called “the dean of America’s Women Playwrights,” dies of heart disease at age 59 in NYC. Morton, also a director, was Broadway’s first woman to achieve success as a writer, with plays such as A Fool of Fortune, A Bachelor’s Romance, Her Lord and Master, and Three of Hearts. In addition, responding to the American Dramatists Club’s refusal to accept women, she founded the Society of Dramatic Authors in 1907.
90 YEARS AGO (1930)
The McCarter Theatre in Princeton, N.J., opens its doors with the Triangle Club’s staging of The Golden Dog, which features Princeton University junior Joshua Logan as well as sophomore James Stewart as an accordion-playing member of the ensemble. Constructed as a home for the Triangle Club, the theatre will go on to premiere such works as Our Town (in 1938) and Bus Stop (in 1955). In 1973 the university will transfer operation of the theatre to the nonprofit McCarter Theatre Center.
40 YEARS AGO (1980)
Norfolk Theatre Center, later known as Virginia Stage Company, mounts its first production, Alan Ayckbourn’s Relatively Speaking. The show is presented at the Wells Theatre in Norfolk, Va., which will continue to serve as the organization’s home four decades later. The 1913 space, where artists including Fred and Adele Astaire once performed, had become an adult film theatre before the company obtained it and gave it a full renovation. The inaugural show opens in the middle of a blizzard—despite the storm, the performance is presented to a full house.
35 YEARS AGO (1985)
Baltimore Center Stage simultaneously offers two plays by Eric Overmyer, Native Speech and On the Verge, plus the company has commissioned another. The two shows mark the first stagings of Overmyer’s stint as artistic associate, which began the previous year. Overmyer will go on to have a successful career in TV as a writer and producer, and among his credits will be work on The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, Treme, The Affair, and multiple series in the Law & Order franchise.