Category Archives: Farewells

A Sad Goodbye.

Dear Friends,

We are writing you today with the very sad news that our dear friend and fellow theatre producer, Elliot Martin has passed away.

Click here for the article the New York Times wrote about his great theatrical life.   Broadway showed its tribute by dimming the marquee lights in his honor last Friday.
Martin
We are so saddened by his departure from this world and our hearts and prayers go out to his family, especially his children Richard and Linda.

We will miss you terribly, Elliot.

Much love,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

 

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More Farewells.

Dear Friends,

In response to our post about our dear Tammy Grimes, a lovely Theatre Guild subscriber, Ruth—who accompanied us on many of our wonderful Theatre At Sea cruises—wrote about her recollections of Tammy.

We wanted to share these with you because they are so special, and a testament to how much Tammy will be missed.  Thank you, Ruth, for taking the time to share!

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

Dear Friends,

Appreciate your post on Tammy Grimes.   I was one of the many shipmates privileged to sail with Tammy Grimes during your many Theatre at Sea sailings.  What lovely days we all enjoyed in her company.   She was indeed all that you say and more.  I was not a celebrity and yet she always greeted me by name with warmth and charm.  Needless to say, I was very flattered and touched by her warmth.

On a personal note, some years ago, we shared the same hairdressing salon which we frequented on the same day.  On one occasion during one of our chats, she spoke of Private Lives and mentioned that she wished she had the playbill.  I told her that I would bring mine, since we were savers.   When we met again, I handed her the playbill.  She was overcome with surprise that I remembered and truly pleased to own it.   I was thrilled to be able to fulfill this request.  Her graciousness and sincerity could not be measured.   As everyone knows, she was not only a lovely lady, but also a great actress.

Sadly, we did not meet again and I soon realized that her health had become a major issue.

Theatre at Sea sailings were indeed special times for everyone.

Sincerely

Ruth

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Goodbye Tammy

Dear Friends,

Today we celebrate the life of a beautiful and wonderful friend, actress Tammy Grimes, who died on Sunday.

We first knew Tammy when she was an apprentice at our Westport Country Playhouse in 1949.  She was always outstanding, funny, and brilliant!

She starred in our musical, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, on Broadway—for which she won a Tony.

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Here is a brief look at the projects that Tammy worked on over the years:

Filmography

Three Bites of the Apple (1966), Arthur? Arthur! (1969), Play It as It Lays (1972), The Horror at 37,000 Feet (1973), The Borrowers (1973), Somebody Killed Her Husband (1978), The Runner Stumbles (1979), Can’t Stop the Music (1980), The Last Unicorn (1982), The Stuff (1985), America (1986), Mr. North (1988), Slaves of New York (1989), Backstreet Justice (1994), A Modern Affair (1995), Trouble on the Corner (1997), High Art (1998)

Stage

The Littlest Revue (1959), The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1960), Rattle of a Simple Man (1963), High Spirits (1964), The Only Game in Town (1968), Private Lives (revival) (1969), A Musical Jubilee (1975), California Suite (1976), Tartuffe (revival)(1977), Trick (1979), 42nd Street (1980), Sunset (1983), Orpheus Descending (revival) (1989), Wit & Wisdom (2003)

Here is the article in today’s New York Times:

Tammy Grimes, the Original ‘Unsinkable Molly Brown,’ Dies at 82

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Click on the title or the picture above to link to the full article.

We knew her so well—she was so charming and fun, and we will miss her so much.

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

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Patrice.

Dear Friends,

It is with heavy hearts that we share with you the passing of Patrice Munsel.  Patrice was one of the musical theatre greats, a dear friend, and a wonderful person.

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Patrice is—still to this day—the youngest star ever at the Metropolitan Opera, debuting when she was just 18 years old.  She later ventured into musical theatre, movies, and television.

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Patrice came on many of our theatre cruises.  We always loved it when she came along, as she was such a delightful and entertaining person!  We will miss her greatly.

To read her obituary in the New York Times, please click here.

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

 

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A Musical Goodbye

This past Sunday, we attended a memorial service for the world renowned jazz pianist, Ray Kennedy, who died May 28th after a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis. For us, Ray was more than just a phenomenal jazz pianist—he was our son-in-law.

No one really likes memorial services, however, I must admit this tribute to Ray was quite simply amazing.

I think that it truly embodied who Ray was in life—uplifting and positive—and focused on the two things that Ray loved most in this world: music and family. Everyone who spoke reminded us of the gentle, funny, and caring man who loved our daughter and granddaughters so deeply. The speakers’ narratives were filled with funny stories, sweet memories, and bittersweet tears. We were especially moved by John Pizzarelli’s talk about Ray. Ray had been John’s pianist in the Pizzarelli Trio for 13 years. John read letters he had gathered from people who wrote to John about how much they loved Ray and his music, such as comedian Billy Crystal, author Mitch Albom, Bob Ryan of The Boston Globe, radio host/columnist Doug McIntyre and more.

In additional to the speeches, there was music as well. The John Pizzarelli Trio and The Russ Kassoff Group played and sang songs that were special to Ray. Our granddaughters each got up to play tributes to their father: Lauren on the flute and Brielle on the piano. They played beautifully and I know that Ray would have been exceptionally proud and beaming at their performances.

The most amazing part of the day was the transformation that we felt as the service progressed. We arrived feeling such a profound sense of loss at the tragedy of Ray’s life cut so short by MS, but we left feeling at peace, knowing Ray would have loved the tribute—nearly as much as we all love him.

Good bye, dear Ray. While you may be gone, you will never be forgotten. Your spirit lives not only in the beautiful music you created, but in our lovely granddaughters who have inherited your love of music.

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Bucky Pizzarelli & The Kennedy Brothers

We thought we’d share this wonderful YouTube video of Bucky Pizzarelli with Ray and his brother Tom.

Enjoy!

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Ray Kennedy (1957-2015)

We are writing you today about our beloved son-in-law and great jazz musician, Ray Kennedy, who died on Thursday May 28, 2015.

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Ray was a not just a world renowned jazz pianist—he was a husband, father, and friend to many. The New York Times described Ray as “…an extraordinary pianist… [whose style] suggests a toned down fusion of Oscar Peterson and Erroll Garner, with a dash of George Shearing,” while the London Jazz review Boz described Ray as “a pianist with a rare and electrifying talent.” His work as pianist/arranger with The John Pizzarelli Trio for over a decade led to Ray being internationally recognized as a leading exponent of the “swing jazz” piano style established by such jazz legends as Teddy Wilson and Nat Cole. Ray was introduced to music at an early age by his father, who took him to hear acclaimed jazz musicians on a regular basis. One such outing led to the then 14-year-old pianist meeting and ‘sitting in’ with the great Dizzy Gillespie.

Ray performed and/or recorded with many of the top names in jazz, including Nat Adderley, Ruby Braff, Buddy DeFranco, Freddie Hubbard, James Moody, David Sanborn, Woody Shaw, and Sonny Stitt. He recorded more than one hundred albums, not only in the field of jazz but in various other musical genres. Ray lived in New York City where he was active as a pianist, composer, and arranger, working with performers as diverse as Christina Aguilera and Maureen McGovern, for whom he also served as musical director.

His compositions have been featured on numerous recordings including the soundtracks of two motion pictures. He composed and performed the music for the off Broadway show Bill W. and Dr. Bob, which opened at the New World Stages in March of 2007. Ray was a featured guest artist on Marian McPartland’s NPR program Piano Jazz and contributed commentary on the music of Harry Warren on NPR’s Fresh Air program. He appeared with many major orchestras throughout the country, including The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops, and made numerous television appearances on The Tonight Show, Conan O’Brien, and Late Nite with David Letterman.

Ray has recorded 12 CDs with his trio, with several dedicated to the composers of the great popular standards including The Ray Kennedy Trio Plays The Music Of Cole Porter and The Ray Kennedy Trio Plays The Music Of Arthur Schwartz. Another CD entitled Mozart in Jazz was recorded for and released in Japan and went to #1 on the jazz chart. It also received a Gold Disc award for artistic excellence from the country’s leading jazz magazine, Swing Journal. Ray has performed in concerts and jazz festivals in twenty-one different countries throughout the world. His career tragically cut short by a rare and extremely debilitating form of Multiple Sclerosis.

Ray was a wonderful man and an amazing musician—he brought joy to so many lives and the world feels a lot emptier without him here.

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At Peace

The tragedy that has struck the entertainment world this week is certainly staggering.  We, like the world, were so stunned and saddened to hear about the death of the remarkable Robin Williams.  He was such a delight and brought the world so much happiness and laughter.  His tragic death seems all the more paradoxical—but it certainly highlights the struggles and loneliness that anyone can have. 

Thank you for everything, Mr. Williams, we hope that you are now at peace.

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