Puritanical Thinking

Dear Friends,

Yesterday we had a lovely conversation with a friend who is originally from Bulgaria, but now lives in Texas.

She was telling us how she was brought up in Bulgaria, where both the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches had congregations.

The subject of the conversation was that her family and the people she knew did not believe that mankind arrived in this world as sinners.

Think of that! You and we, when we were born, had not done anything evil. We were completely free, innocent, and kindly human beings. How much evil could we have done in our mother’s womb?

When I (Philip) was a child I went to church every Sunday and was totally sold on the fact that I was loaded with sin!

That’s the end of today’s sermon! We do not have to feel that all our thoughts are EVIL.

Enjoy life!
Philip & Marilyn

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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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Constitutional Thoughts

Dear Friends,

We are very excited to learn that the play Jesse Green of the New York Times calls “the best and most important play of the season,” is staying on Broadway a little longer.

What the Constitution Means to Me has extended its run at The Helen Hayes Theatre (44th St. between 7th & 8th Ave) until August 24th. The remarkable play is one where Obie Award Winner Heidi Schreck “recalls her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women in her own family and the founding document that dictated their rights and citizenship.”

Constitution

To read more about it and order tickets, click here or on the picture above.

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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A Smashing Endgame

Dear Friends,

Last weekend, Disney premiered their newest Marvel movie: Avengers Endgame and it was a literal (Hulk) smash, breaking every Box Office record imaginable…and maybe even creating a few more!
$1.2 billion. Yes billion with a “b” dollars—is the official weekend tally.

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Though it’s been a few years now, we remember when our film Judgment at Nuremberg was breaking box office records, but it and many other successful films over the years didn’t even come close to the newest Avengers movie (even taking into consideration the inflation rate!).

We congratulate Marvel Studios on their resounding success with this film and we urge you to go see it if you haven’t already (although judging by the numbers, you already have!)

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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Oh What A Beautiful Opening!

Dear Friends,

The Theatre Guild was founded in New York City in 1919 by my (Philip) father Lawrence Langner, Philip Moeller, Helen Westley, Maurice Wertheim, Lee Simonson, and Theresa Helburn. My (Philip) mother, Armina Marshall served as a co-director. The Theatre Guild evolved out of the work of the Washington Square Players and departed from the usual theatre practice in that its board of directors shared the responsibility for choice of plays, management, and production and is known for the production of high-quality, noncommercial American and foreign plays. Our first production was the play “Bonds of Interest”, which opened April 14, 1919 at the Garrick Theatre.

Since last week marked our 100th Anniversary, we found it fitting that a revival of our most successful musical, Oklahoma!, opened to rave reviews. This production, directed by Daniel Fish, was originally developed, produced, and premiered at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College.

oklahoma

Ben Brantley of the New York Times writes:

How is it that the coolest new show on Broadway in 2019 is a 1943 musical usually regarded as a very square slice of American pie? The answer arrives before the first song is over in Daniel Fish’s wide-awake, jolting and altogether wonderful production of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!,” which opened on Sunday night at the Circle in the Square Theater.

To read the full review, click here.
Oklahoma! is playing at the Circle in the Square Theatre. To buy tickets, click here or on the picture above.

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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Ed in Danbury

Dear Friends,

Today we are writing you about a lovely event that is taking place this Sunday (April 07, 2019) at 3:00pm in Danbury, Connecticut.  It is starring our dear friend Ed Asner in God Help Us! at The Palace Danbury.

We know how brilliant Ed  was as FDR (we presented him in 102 different theatres across the US!), so we know that you will definitely enjoy this show!

ASNER

Click here or on the picture above for more information and to order tickets:

Our best wishes to you all.

Sincerely,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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The Saddest Good-bye

Dear Friends,

It is with very heavy hearts that we are writing to you today. We received the devastating news that our beloved Director/Stage Manager, Ron Nash, has passed away.

Ron and his husband Norman are very dear to us and have joined us on many adventures over the years. Ron’s death was very sudden and so shocking that it seems surreal to us that he is gone.

RoninCuernvaca

photo credit: Norman Duttweiler

Good bye, dear friend. We love you—your happy spirit, magnificent creativity, and brilliance will certainly be missed. Your passing has created a void in so many who have the privilege of knowing you, but your kindness and wonderfulness will never be forgotten.

Our love and deepest sympathies go out to Norman.

Love,
Philip & Marilyn

PS—below is Ron’s official biography, which shows but a sampling of all the great work that he did.

RON NASH lists among his directorial and design credits national tours of Song of Singapore starring Loretta Swit, The Wiz starring Peabo Bryson and Grace Jones, Murder Among Friends starring Lana Turner, Tammy Grimes, and Arlene Dahl, Janus starring Joan Fontaine, Dreamgirls starring pop vocalist Mikki Howard, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas starring Stella Parton, and Under Milkwood starring Judith Light. He directed a new production of Shirley Valentine starring Loretta Swit in Toronto. Mr. Nash also co-directed the Broadway production of Oh! Calcutta!, which ranks as the fifth longest running musical on Broadway, as well as productions in Tokyo, Oslo, Tel Aviv, Milan, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, and Chicago. Mr. Nash has been a Production Stage Manager on Broadway for 12 years, as well as with the New York Shakespeare Festival for 7 productions. Mr. Nash also directs and coordinates productions for the Theatre Guild’s cruises on the Mediterranean and the Amazon, with celebrities such as Helen Hayes, Patrice Munsel, Claire Bloom, Patricia Neal, Anne Jackson, Eli Wallach, Alan Arkin, Sandy Duncan, Cliff Robertson, Judy Kaye, Zoe Caldwell, Lynn Redgrave, Jean Stapleton, Carol Channing, and Gena Rowlands. He directed 5 time Emmy Award winner Ed Asner in FDR and toured with him to over 150 American cities. He toured for 3 years with both Jean Stapleton and Loretta Swit in different productions of Eleanor: Her Secret Journey. He served as Artistic Director at the Forestburgh Playhouse, in which capacity he directed over 25 shows including A Christmas Carol, The Sunshine Boys, Deathtrap, Witness for the Prosecution, 1776, On Golden Pond, Driving Miss Daisy, Ragtime, Titanic, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, The Diary of Anne Frank, Miss Saigon, West Side Story, South Pacific, Dial M for Murder, Born Yesterday, Carousel, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Broadway Bound, M. Butterfly, The Night of the Iguana, The Chosen and Equus. Since 2014, he has lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico with his husband Norman Duttweiler and has guest lectured at New Mexico State University and guest directed a local production of The Laramie Project. Mr. Nash holds an M.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of Actors’ Equity and the Society of Directors and Choreographers.

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