Author Archives: theatguild

Flying Down To Rio

Dear Friends,

As we are preparing for a snowstorm due to hit New York City tomorrow, we thought we’d take an opportunity to share with you another one of our favorite classic movies: Flying Down To Rio.

The 1933 movie is a romantic comedy musical that stars Dolores Del Rio and Gene Raymond, who fall in love on an ill-fated plane trip to Rio.

flying to rio

Most remarkably, this is the first time Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire appeared on screen together and help save the day!

We think it’s a great movie to watch anytime, but most especially when hunkered down trying to stay warm on snowy, cold days!

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Kennedy Center

Dear Friends,

Last week, we watched the Kennedy Center Honors and we thought we might share with you a newsletter we wrote several years ago about our connection with the Kennedy Center.

To watch the full broadcast of this year’s Honors, click here to go to CBS https://www.cbs.com/shows/kennedy_center_honors/

Happy New Year!
Philip & Marilyn Langner

 

Dear Friends,

Today we want to tell you about the Kennedy Center for The Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.–a GREAT U.S. theatre!

We have been thinking about the Kennedy Center since we saw President and Mrs. Obama attending a performance there recently.

We were very involved in opening the Kennedy Center because The Theatre Guild was designated as the subscription organization for the Kennedy Center theatre-goers to subscribe to each winter series of plays.

We began in 1971 and had a subscription audience of 15,000 members.  We remained at the Center for 15 years, and during that time we also presented some of our own plays there.

The Eisenhower Theatre is great for plays and musicals, with a seating capacity of 1,161!  It is a lovely theatre and one of the very best places to bring a play.

eisenhower theatre

It’s a wonderful historic theatre that has come into existence in our lifetime.  According to The Kennedy Center’s Archives:

Two months after President Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, Congress designated the National Cultural Center (designed by Edward Durell Stone) as a “living memorial” to Kennedy, and authorized $23 million to help build what was now known as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Fundraising continued at a swift pace–with much help coming from the Friends of the Kennedy Center volunteers, who fanned out across the nation to attract private support and nations around the world began donating funds, building materials, and artworks to assist in the project’s completion. In December 1964, President Lyndon Johnson turned the first shovelful of earth at the Center’s construction site, using the same gold-plated spade that had been used in the groundbreaking ceremonies for both the Lincoln Memorial in 1914 and the Jefferson Memorial in 1938.

From its very beginnings, the Kennedy Center has represented a unique public/private partnership. As the nation’s living memorial to President Kennedy, the Center receives federal funding each year to pay for maintenance and operation of the building, a federal facility. However, the Center’s artistic programs and education initiatives are paid for almost entirely through ticket sales and gifts from individuals, corporations, and private foundations.

The Center made its public debut on September 8, 1971, with a gala opening performance featuring the world premiere of a Requiem mass honoring President Kennedy, a work commissioned from the legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. The occasion enabled Washington to begin earning a reputation as a cultural hub as well as a political one; as The New York Times wrote in a front-page article the next morning, “The capital of this nation finally strode into the cultural age tonight with the spectacular opening of the $70 million [Kennedy Center]…a gigantic marble temple to music, dance, and drama on the Potomac’s edge.”

The Center’s presence also enabled Washington to become an international stage, hosting the American debuts of the Bolshoi Opera and the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, as well as the first-ever U.S. performances by Italy’s legendary La Scala opera company.

To read and learn more about the Kennedy Center for The Performing Arts, visit their website.

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

100 Years of The Theatre Guild

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year!

We are so excited about this upcoming year, which marks the 100th Anniversary celebrations for The Theatre Guild. The Theatre Guild was started in 1919 in New York City by my (Philip) father, Lawrence Langner along with Philip Moeller, Helen Westley, Maurice Wertheim, Lee Simonson, and Theresa Helburn. Lawrence’s wife (Philip’s mother), Armina Marshall, served as a co-director.

As we head into the new year, we would like to remind you that January is the perfect time to renew your love of theatre and urge you, now that the holidays will be winding down, to find a show or musical that has piqued your interest and go see it!

But before we jump ahead, we also wanted to take a moment to tell you about a very special place that was created by our dear friend Ed Asner. As you will remember, in recent years Ed had been touring around the U.S. in our production of Dore Schary’s play, FDR. Ed has, along with his son, Matthew, and daughter-in-law, Navah, created The Ed Asner Family Center. This center was created as:

a one-stop shop for those with special needs and their families seeking wholeness in all attitudes of life. The Center will act as an oasis of balance and thought, of interaction and education. Most importantly, The Center will give children and adults of all levels of ability a chance at dignity, confidence, and self-respect. At The Ed Asner Family Center, we do not only cater to the needs of the special child. We aim to enroll the complete family and help them meet the challenges they face with grace.

If you are looking to make a charitable contribution this holiday season, we ask you to please consider this inspiring and wonderful place that is truly making a difference in people’s lives. To read more about The Ed Asner Family Center, learn about the programs and services they offer, or make a donation, please visit their website at http://edasnerfamilycenter.org/

Best wishes for a Happy 2019!
Philip and Marilyn

Tagged , , , , , , ,

A Shakespeare Christmas on Broadway

Dear Friends,

As we head into this last weekend before Christmas, we are reminded of Shakespeare’s comedy, Twelfth Night, involving twins Viola and Sebastian who are separated in a shipwreck. In the spirit of Epiphany (or the Twelfth Night of Christmas), Viola disguises herself as a man, falls in love with Count Orsino, has Lady Olivia fall in love with her in disguise, and hilarity ensues.

We presented the Twelfth Night on Broadway the Winter Season of 1940-41 at the St. James Theatre starring Helen Hayes and Maurice Evans. It was 129 performances of Shakespeare comedic bliss!

 

 

It’s hard to imagine that was 78 years ago! Time surely flies when you’re having fun in the theatre!

Merry Christmas and warm wishes for a happy holiday season!
Philip & Marilyn Langner

Tagged , , , , , ,

Oklahoma….OK!

Dear Friends,

Big things are happening next year!

In additional to our 100th Anniversary, we are so excited that our beloved Oklahoma! –the biggest hit we ever produced—is returning to Broadway! This will be the sixth time since we opened the musical at the St. James Theatre in 1943 that it has appeared on Broadway.

oklahoma

Previews will begin March 19, 2019 and it will open April 7th at the Circle in the Square Theatre (235 West 50th Street). It will be a limited run, closing on September 01, 2019.

Tickets are not currently available, but will be released January 05, 2019.  Click on the picture above for more information.

Best,
Philip & Marilyn

PS–if you’re interested in reading more about Oklahoma!‘s history, here are a handful of our posts over the years:

  1. Oklahoma!
  2. A Match Made In Music
  3. Green Grow The Lilacs
  4. The Lift of a Lifetime
  5. Broadway Hit!

 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

A Day That Shall Live in Infamy

Dear Friends,

December 07, 1941–the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor–is a day we won’t forget.

I was standing outside a building in Connecticut when I heard the news. It seemed so incredible at the time that the Japanese would send out their kamikaze pilots to kill thousands of sailors and civilians alike.

pearl harbor

photo courtesy of msn.com

That was 77 years ago today.

I am sure many of you have been to Pearl Harbor in Honolulu and visited the memorial there—it is such an emotional experience.

We can all be thankful that we are not in a war at the present time. Let us pray that we remain at peace and be grateful for the brave men and women who lost their lives that fateful day.

Best regards,
Philip Langner

Tagged , , , ,

Tickets Flourishing

Dear Friends,

It’s time for our yearly talk about ticket prices on Broadway.

Our favorite comparison, which we remember well, is when the Broadway ticket prices skyrocketed from $4.80 to $5.75. Can you believe that the producers were terribly worried that Broadway would crumble at that sharp increase in ticket prices!!!!

At any rate, those $5.75 tickets would cost $80.68 today (based on the inflation rate). This $80.86 price is two-thirds of the current ticket price, which seems to be holding steady at $125.00 per ticket.

We find it interesting that in those days we felt that Broadway might come to an end because there were only so many seats in a theatre, whereas most other goods and services could expand to meet the higher demand.

All our worries were unfounded because Broadway is flourishing, both in terms of average ticket price and number of viewers going to shows. Who knew?!?

And, Hurray!

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

Tagged , , , ,

To Kill on Broadway

Dear Friends,

Great News! One of our favorites books has made it to Broadway!

To Kill A Mockingbird is currently in previews and opens on December 13, 2018. It is adapted to the stage by the talented Aaron Sorkin, directed by Bartlett Sher, and stars Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch and LaTanya Richardson Jackson as Calpurnia. One of the biggest surprises in the cast is the decision to cast Scout and Jem as adults (played by Celia Keenan-Bolger and Will Pullen respectively) rather than children.

mockingbird

This is the first time To Kill A Mockingbird has been present in the theatre and you do not want to miss out on the amazing opportunity to see it. It is playing at the Shubert Theatre (225 W. 44th Street) and you can purchase your tickets by clicking here.

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Giving Thanks.

Dear Friends,

We wanted to take a moment to wish you and your family a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving.

The tradition was started in the year 1621 when the surviving Pilgrims on the Mayflower celebrated a fruitful harvest and 90 members of a neighboring Wampanoag tribe joined in the celebration and feast. It was first declared a holiday by the Continental Congress in 1777.

While the holiday has changed significantly over the last 400 years, we hope that however you may celebrate, the spirit of thankfulness and love for our neighbors will rule the day.

Imagine how different our country might have been if the Wampanoag had refused to help the Pilgrims that first winter?

It seems today, more than ever, we all could use a little reminding of our history in this country and that apart from a very small minority of Americans, everyone’s ancestors hailed from some place far away. But let us not speak of politics, let us focus on the positive, on the love, and on the spirit of what Thanksgiving means.

 

thanksgiving ecard

 

You can read more about the details of the first Thanksgiving, including all the names of the Pilgrims in attendance of that first fateful meal by clicking here.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Philip & Marilyn Langner

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Watch It Again, Sam

Dear Friends,

As you know, we love old movies. And of these, our most favorite must be Casablanca.

Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Berman, this film is so beautifully done we could just watch it again and again!

casablanca

It was filmed during the middle of WWII, and ironically, no one expected it to be a hit—let alone one of the greatest movies ever made! It was nominated for 8 Academy Awards, winning for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Writing for a Screenplay.

We found a 1942 review by Variety, which states:

[The] Film is splendid anti-Axis propaganda, particularly inasmuch as the propaganda is strictly a by-product of the principal action and contributes to it instead of getting in the way. There will be few more touching scenes to be found than when a group of German officers in Rick’s [Café] begins to sing Nazi tunes and [Bergman’s onscreen husband] Henreid instructs the orchestra to go into “La Marseillaise.” A bit frightenedly at first, but then with a might that completely drowns out the Germans, the [nightclub] patrons and [servers] in Rick’s give voice to the anthem of France of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.” It is just another facet of the variety of moods, action, suspense, comedy and drama that makes “Casablanca” an A-1 entry at the b.o.

To our mind, the greatest picture we have ever seen!

To read the full review, click here.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen this classic, we urge you to watch it immediately—a glorious evening!

Best wishes,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

Tagged , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements