A Hal of a Guy

Dear Friends,

As you know, Broadway marquees went dim Wednesday night to say good-bye to our dear friend, Hal Prince.

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We have known and worked with Hal on numerous projects over the last 60 years—the most notable being Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, and Cabaret. He was a remarkable man, a wonderful friend, and will be sorely missed.

There were so many extraordinary things Hal accomplished in his life and we consider ourselves so blessed to have known him.

Click here for NY Times feature on Hal: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/theater/hal-prince-dead.html

Goodbye, dear friend, we will miss you tremendously.
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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100 Years of Great Theatre

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow night there will be a celebration in honor of our Centennial Anniversary.

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The evening format is an interview led by the talented Foster Hirsch to our former Theatre At Sea artistic director: the incomparable Lee Roy Reams and longtime Theatre Guild star, who has co-written and stars in our most current production, Adoption Roulette:  the wonderful Joel Vig.

It will be presented at The Coffee Club starting at 6pm and there are a few seats left, with an entry fee of $10 for the interview and cocktail hour. Please email us if you are interested in attending: theatguild@aol.com

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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2019 Season at the Playhouse

Dear Friends,

If you’re looking for something cool to do to escape this awful heatwave we are having, we’d like to recommend you look at your local theatre for some great summer theatre!
Of course, having run The Westport Playhouse for years, it is always our go-to for summer theatre.

Below is the list of plays in production this season, along with a short summary (which we pulled from their website).

Hershey Felder as IRVING BERLIN
July 16 – August 3, 2019
From Czarist Russia to New York’s Lower East Side to Broadway, Irving Berlin’s uplifting immigrant story epitomizes the American Dream. His songs captured our hearts. Featuring Berlin’s most popular standards including the Great American Songbook classics “Blue Skies,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “White Christmas,” and more, Felder’s one-man show celebrates Irving Berlin, the composer, and reveals the inspiration for Berlin’s countless hit songs.

MLIMA’S TALE
October 1 – 19, 2019
Mlima’s Tale is a powerful, theatrical fable about a magnificent and beloved Kenyan elephant named Mlima hunted for his coveted ivory tusks. As traffickers maneuver the illicit ivory market, the animal’s invincible spirit follows their path of desire, greed, crime, and corruption.

DON JUAN
November 5 – 23, 2019
Meet the legendary Don Juan as you’ve never seen him in this darkly comic take on a classic tale. Wherever he goes, the notorious seducer and antihero leaves behind a trail of broken hearts and society scandals, relying on his trusty sidekick, Sganarelle, to clean up his unruly messes. When an unearthly visitor arrives, Don Juan may finally be forced to confront his wicked ways. Sex, politics, religion — nothing is sacred in Molière’s brilliant comedy.

For more information or to purchase tickets click here: https://www.westportplayhouse.org/

Enjoy!

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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The Theatre Guild on the Air

Dear Friends,

In digging through our archives today, we were reminded that on this day—July 12th—a mere 58 years ago in 1961we released Watching Out for Dulie. It was adapted to television for our series, “The US Steel Hour,” by Arthur Heinemann from a novel by David Hestheimer and starred Larry Blyden, Shari Lewis, Patricia Cutts, and Lloyd Bochner.

In 1945, The Theatre Guild began broadcasting a radio program called The Theatre Guild on the Air in an effort to bring theatre into the homes of millions of radio listeners. After 8 years of presenting weekly plays on the radio, it was decided that an even better and further reaching medium for The Theatre Guild on the Air would be television.

The United States Steel Corporation came on board as sponsor to present “The US Steel Hour” every other week. Our show ran on NBC until its final performance in 1963, starring our beloved Theatre Guild favorites Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt.

While we were unable to locate Watching Out for Dulie for online viewing, UCLA—which houses part of The Theatre Guild archives, and is alma mater to Marilyn—has posted some of the episodes of “The US Steel Hour” on YouTube, which you can find here:

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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Debating in Two Parts

Dear Friends,

As I’m sure you are aware, last night was the first half of the Democratic Debate on NBC. We watched as 10 candidates waded out into the Presidential waters, many of whom we haven’t had the chance to get to know very well. It was fascinating!

Tonight at 9:00pm is the second half, and we cannot wait to see how the other half of the candidates fare tonight. Of course, there are a lot more well-known names so we think that tonight will have an even livelier debate.

But if you did not watch last night or cannot watch tonight, we urge you not to tune out altogether—we actually found the after-debate analysis and interviews with the candidates far more informative and telling than the debate itself.

There is an entire country of hopes and dreams that will be placed on the shoulders of whomever the Democrats pick to take on Trump and the Republicans. And you can bet that we will be following all of the primaries and the months leading up to them very closely.

To learn more about each of the Democratic candidates click here: https://www.nbcnews.com/2020candidates?icid=politicspromo

To watch NBC’s full coverage of last night’s debate click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ6MrDO0kgY

And tomorrow when tonight’s debate is available to rewatch, we will update today’s newsletter to include both debates, so that you can readily access them.

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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An American In Paris

Dear Friends,

Last night we rewatched one of our favorite musicals—An American in Paris—and if you haven’t seen in the 1951 movie starring Gene Kelly, we urge you to watch it as soon as possible!

Like most of Kelly’s movies, this one is filled with wonderful songs and fantastically choreographed dance sequences. Of course, we loved it the first time we saw it many, many years ago–and we weren’t the only ones!

AAIP

After digging through the archives, we found an original review from Variety, where they called An American in Paris

one of the most imaginative musical confections turned out by Hollywood in years, spotlighting Gene Kelly, Oscar Levant, Nina Foch, and a pair of bright newcomers (Leslie Caron and Georges Guetary) against a cavalcade of George and Ira Gershwin’s music.

You can read the full review by clicking here or on the photo above.

It swept the 1951 Academy Awards, winning Best Picture, Story & Screenplay, Color Cinematography, Color Art Direction, Score for a Musical Picture, Color Costume Design. And personally speaking, we think it’s the best film of all!

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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The Tonys

Dear Friends,

Just a quick reminder that this Sunday evening will be the 73rd Annual Tony Awards. They will be held at Radio City Music Hall here in New York City and televised on CBS starting at 8:00pm (Eastern Time).

The Tonys are always such a wonderful show—and this year should be no exception, as the talented and always wonderful James Corden is returning as host of the evening’s festivities.

Tonys Corden

With so many wonderful plays and musicals currently running, the field is packed with a lot of different favorites, including a revival of Oklahoma! (originally commissioned and produced by The Theatre Guild), which earned 8 nominations.

We certainly have our favorites whom we hope will win. How about you? To read more about the nominees visit the Tony’s website https://www.tonyawards.com/

Best,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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Play On Shakespeare

Dear Friends,

In the mail this weekend we received a notification from Play On Shakespeare Festival which we wanted to share with you today.

Their Shakespeare festival will begin next Wednesday (May 29th) at 7:00pm with The Two Gentleman of Verona. The month-long festival will be held here in New York at the Classical Stage Company (136 E. 13th Street) and the final performance will be The Noble Kinsmen on June 30th at 2:00pm.

Of course, Shakespeare is very near and dear to our hearts—my (Philip) father started the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, CT in the early 1950s. And because Shakespeare was a love of my father’s, Shakespeare was also a large part of my life and I just could not image theatre without Shakespeare.

With 39 performances available to you, we strongly urge you to go partake in the Play On Shakespeare Festival! Below is a list of the plays being shown. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.

PLAY ON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL LINE UP
May 29 7:00pm – The Two Gentlemen of Verona
May 30 2:00pm – The Taming of the Shrew
May 30 7:00pm – Titus Andronicus
May 31 7:00pm – Henry VI, Part 1
June 1 2:00pm – Henry VI, Part 2
June 1 7:00pm – Henry VI, Part 3
June 2 2:00pm – Richard III
June 3 7:00pm – The Comedy of Errors
June 5 7:00pm – Love’s Labour’s Lost
June 6 2:00pm – Edward III
June 6 7:00pm – Richard II
June 7 7:00pm – Romeo and Juliet
June 8 2:00pm – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
June 8 7:00pm –King John
June 9 2:00pm – The Merchant of Venice
June 10 7:00pm – Much Ado About Nothing
June 12 7:00pm –Henry IV, Part 1
June 13 2:00pm – The Merry Wives of Windsor
June 13 7:00pm –Henry IV, Part 2
June 14 7:00pm – Henry V
June 15 2:00pm – As You Like It
June 15 7:00pm – Julius Caesar
June 16 2:00pm – Hamlet
June 17 7:00pm – Twelfth Night
June 19 7:00pm – Troilus and Cressida
June 20 2:00pm – Measure for Measure
June 20 7:00pm – Othello
June 21 7:00pm – All’s Well That Ends Well
June 22 2:00pm – Timon of Athens
June 22 7:00pm – King Lear
June 23 2:00pm –Antony and Cleopatra
June 24 7:00pm – Macbeth
June 26 7:00pm – Coriolanus
June 27 2:00pm – Pericles
June 27 7:00pm – Cymbeline
June 28 7:00pm – The Winter’s Tale
June 29 2:00pm – Henry VIII
June 29 7:00pm – The Tempest
June 30 2:00pm – The Two Noble Kinsmen

Regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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The 100 Best

Dear Friends,

As we have shared with you numerous times, we are huge fans of watching movies—particularly of tuning in to Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and watching their great line-up!

This year in an effort to make sure we haven’t missed any of the great ones, we consulted the American Film Institute (AFI), who have an on-going list of the Top 100 Movies of All Time.

Throughout the years we have seen many of them, but not all. Therefore, we’ve decided to rectify this and have started working our way through the list below.  For example, recently we’ve seen The Philadelphia Story and It Happened One Night.

AFI’s TOP 100 MOVIES OF ALL TIME

1. CITIZEN KANE (1941)
2. THE GODFATHER (1972)
3. CASABLANCA (1942)
4. RAGING BULL (1980)
5. SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952)
6. GONE WITH THE WIND (1939)
7. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962)
8. SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993)
9. VERTIGO (1958)
10. THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)
11. CITY LIGHTS (1931)
12. THE SEARCHERS (1956)
13. STAR WARS (1977)
14. PSYCHO (1960)
15. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)
16. SUNSET BLVD. (1950)
17. THE GRADUATE (1967)
18. THE GENERAL (1927)
19. ON THE WATERFRONT (1954)
20. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946)
21. CHINATOWN (1974)
22. SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959)
23. THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940)
24. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982)
25. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962)
26. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939)
27. HIGH NOON (1952)
28. ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)
29. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944)
30. APOCALYPSE NOW (1979)
31. THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)
32. THE GODFATHER PART II (1974)
33. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (1975)
34. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937)
35. ANNIE HALL (1977)
36. THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957)
37. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946)
38. THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948)
39. DR. STRANGELOVE (1964)
40. THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965)
41. KING KONG (1933)
42. BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967)
43. MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969)
44. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940)
45. SHANE (1953)
46. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934)
47. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951)
48. REAR WINDOW (1954)
49. INTOLERANCE (1916)
50. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (2001)
51. WEST SIDE STORY (1961)
52. TAXI DRIVER (1976)
53. THE DEER HUNTER (1978)
54. M*A*S*H (1970)
55. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)
56. JAWS (1975)
57. ROCKY (1976)
58. THE GOLD RUSH (1925)
59. NASHVILLE (1975)
60. DUCK SOUP (1933)
61. SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS (1941)
62. AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973)
63. CABARET (1972)
64. NETWORK (1976)
65. THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1951)
66. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)
67. WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? (1966)
68. UNFORGIVEN (1992)
69. TOOTSIE (1982)
70. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971)
71. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998)
72. THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994)
73. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969)
74. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)
75. IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (1967)
76. FORREST GUMP (1994)
77. ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN (1976)
78. MODERN TIMES (1936)
79. THE WILD BUNCH (1969)
80. THE APARTMENT (1960)
81. SPARTACUS (1960)
82. SUNRISE (1927)
83. TITANIC (1997)
84. EASY RIDER (1969)
85. A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1935)
86. PLATOON (1986)
87. 12 ANGRY MEN (1957)
88. BRINGING UP BABY (1938)
89. THE SIXTH SENSE (1999)
90. SWING TIME (1936)
91. SOPHIE’S CHOICE (1982)
92. GOODFELLAS (1990)
93. THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971)
94. PULP FICTION (1994)
95. THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (1971)
96. DO THE RIGHT THING (1989)
97. BLADE RUNNER (1982)
98. YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942)
99. TOY STORY (1995)
100. BEN-HUR (1959)

How many have you seen?

Regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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What’s In A Name?

Dear Friends,

Today we are writing about something we think about all the time: titles of plays.

So many titles, in our opinion, are not at all helpful to a play’s success.

I remember talking with Richard Rodgers about the title Oklahoma!. While it is very recognizable now, back then it was a really bad idea to name a musical about a lonely, grim sounding state. Of course, the most obvious title would have been to leave it as the same title as the play it was based on: Green Grow The Lilacs, a romantic sounding title.

However, for legal reasons that title could not be used and believe it or not, the title Oklahoma! was about 312th on the list of possibilities.

At any rate, it is so easy to think of titles that would intrigue us into going to see the play of that title.

So we urge you to look at the theatre directory of New York Times and have your thoughts about the titles you see there. Some are very good, others not so much. Which ones catch your eye and makes you want to see them and which ones make you want to stay far, far away?

Regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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