Category Archives: playwrights

New Season Newsletter

Dear Friends,

We are calling this our New Season Newsletter since it is our first one since returning from vacation—and it is indeed about the upcoming theatre season.

Before we begin, though, we’d like to tell you that we have been away in Ocean City, New Jersey. This is our 12th year to be visiting—and we just think it is a marvelous place to go! Let us know if you’d like to hear more.

Exciting news about our newest play, Adoption Roulette: as we’ve told you before, this is a play about a couple in Westport, Connecticut who are trying to adopt a child in Russia. We are moving ahead with plans to produce the play this winter, and our next act is to arrange another reading of the play in Manhattan with a lovely theatre company—Theatre for the New City—which has four theatres downtown and plans to present a Reading of our play hopefully in October.

The actors for this performance will be the two authors, Elizabeth Fuller and Joel Vig, both of whom are excellent actors in addition to be excellent writers.

We are very excited about this project and we will let you know as soon as plans are finalized.

Meanwhile, the Broadway season is about to get under way and we will be sharing more information with you in the upcoming weeks.

Best wishes,
Philip & Marilyn

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The Power of Theatre

Dear Friends,

One more prior newsletter to share with you before we head back to New York City and the realities of summer coming to an end.

We cannot—CANNOT—stress the importance that the theatre can—and should!—have in the political realm. The tradition started with Shakespeare himself, and who knows, perhaps even before that!

Our friend Arthur Miller once said that it is the job of an artist to remind people of what they have chosen to forget. And in this political climate, nothing could be more true!

Best,
Philip & Marilyn

The Theatre Guild Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Today we wanted to discuss with you an incredible theatre happening that occurred a couple of weeks ago:

It is the conflict between The Theatre, as represented by Hamilton, and the Government-to-be, as represented by Vice-President Elect Mike Pence.

As you all know, Vice President-Elect Pence went to a performance of Hamilton where he was specifically addressed by the cast at the end of the performance (their spokesperson being Brandon Dixon).

Mr. Dixon made a plea to Vice President-Elect Pence–as a representative of our new government starting 20th of January.  The cast requested that Vice President-Elect Pence look out for their interests, aka those of the common people.  While Mr. Pence was walking out of the theatre at the time of the speech, he stopped and listened to what Mr. Harris had to say.

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To us, it is a fascinating happening.  It is The Theatre…

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Adoption Roulette

Dear Friends,

We cannot tell you what a spectacular evening we had this past Wednesday seeing the play Adoption Roulette at The Lambs.

You may remember from our Monday post that  we would be attending a reading of a new play—and it was just remarkable!

It was written and performed by Elizabeth Fuller and Joel Vig and is the true-life story of Elizabeth and her husband trying to adopt a child from Russia. They soon find themselves trapped in a story which has all the elements of a Hitchcock thriller set in Siberia.

And we must tell you, the entire audience was spell-bound and glued to their seats. So much so that when the performance was over, no one moved, and everyone had questions!

It was such a wonderful happening and we couldn’t be more thrilled that we hope to present it soon in other theatres.

Best,
Philip & Marilyn

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Mean Girls

Dear Friends,

Last week we went to see the new Broadway musical, Mean Girls. And what a fun time we had! There was so much laughing, we weren’t sure we were ever going to stop!

Of course, we’d expect nothing less from the remarkable Tina Fey, who has adapted her screenplay into this must-see Broadway musical.

The Washington Post effuses that “at the conclusion of 2½ hours of exuberant Broadway-style pop and hip-hop, the feel-good resolution actually now does make you feel good.”

means girls 2

Photo: Joan Marcus

Of course, we must admit we hold a bit of a soft spot for any production that plays in the August Wilson Theatre, 245 W. 52nd Street, as it was originally the Guild Theatre, constructed by the Theatre Guild in 1925! However, we certainly think this is a must-see for Broadway! To order tickets or learn more, click here.

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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A Match Made in Music

Dear Friends,

Today we are writing you about Carousel, which is coming back to Broadway with previews starting February 28th.

Carousel has a fascinating history.

In about 1940, the Theatre Guild decided it would like to make a musical from the play it had previously produced, called Green Grow the Lilacs. They invited Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II to write the musical which became, as you know, Oklahoma!.
With the glorious success of Oklahoma!, The Guild wanted Richard and Oscar to write another musical. The Guild examined the previous 50-60 plays it had produced on Broadway. Ultimately, a play The Guild presented in 1922, Liliom by famed Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnár, was chosen.

The musical, now called Carousel, was acclaimed everywhere and The Guild had another musical hit!

After Carousel, Richard and Oscar wrote one more musical, Allegro, for The Guild, but it was not as well received as Oklahoma! and Carousel. Richard and Oscar were great friends of ours, as were their children. I (Philip) grew up with Mary Rodgers, who was a great long-time friend.

We are so delighted that Carousel, which is being produced by Scott Rudin and Roy Furman, is being presented again next month at the Imperial Theatre. To purchase tickets, click here. It’s a great show!

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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Journey From A Play To A Musical, Part 1

Dear Friends,

Over the holidays, we came across the French movie Liliom on television. The movie was based on the play written by Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnár in 1909.

Of course, Liliom was not unfamiliar to us—The Theatre Guild brought the play to Broadway in 1921 and in 1945 convinced Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II to turn it into a musical, with a notable name change: Carousel.

Carousel has been on our minds lately, as it is coming back to Broadway starring Joshua Henry, Jessie Mueller, and Renée Fleming and directed by Jack O’Brien. Previews begin next month (February 28th) and the musical opens on April 12th.

Carousel

We are so very excited at its return to Broadway at the Imperial Theatre on 45th Street—and we cannot wait to see it!

Tickets are now on sale, which can be purchased in person at the Imperial (249 W. 45th Street) or clicking here.

Stay tuned next week for more history behind the creating of Carousel!

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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Playwrights Welcome

Dear Friends,

We received an email yesterday from Samuel French, with whom The Theatre Guild has worked for many years.  It was a reminder about Playwrights Welcome—a program with the Dramatist Guild and participating theatres to offer playwrights free tickets to shows.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Become a member of the Dramatist Guild (click here to learn more and become a member)
  2. Go to the Samuel French Playwrights Welcome website to find a participating theatre near you and their terms for the Playwrights tickets. For example in New York State, the following theatres are participants:
    • Atlantic Theater Company (New York, New York)
    • Axis Company (New York, NY)
    • Irish Repertory Theatre (New York, NY)
    • Paul Robeson Theatre (Buffalo, NY)
    • The Pearl Theatre Company (New York, NY)
    • Queens Theatre (Queens, NY)
    • Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (New York, NY)
    • Road Less Traveled Productions (Buffalo, NY)
    • Roundabout Theatre Company (New York, NY)
    • Urban Stages (New York, NY)
    • Vineyard Theatre (New York, NY)
  3. Go to the Box Office of a participating theatre and ask if they have Playwright tickets.
  4. If so, present your Dramatist Guild card and your ID and go see a great show!

As we have written about the rising price of theatre tickets—especially on Broadway—we are so excited to learn about this opportunity for members of the Dramatist Guild to see shows for free!

And for those of you who plan to start their Thanksgiving Day travels early—please have a safe and wonderful holiday!

Best regards,
Philip and Marilyn

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The Iceman Cometh Back To Broadway

Dear Friends,

Today we are writing to you about Eugene O’Neill’s play The Iceman Cometh, which will be returning to Broadway this spring starring Tony and Academy award winner Denzel Washington!!
iceman cometh
Having originally produced this play on Broadway, we are so very excited that it is coming back–and with such a wonderful actor playing the lead!  This is one of O’Neill’s greatest plays and we remember having it here in New York—an unbelievable evening!

It  has also reminded us about the other Eugene O’Neill plays that The Theatre Guild produced in New York in the 1920s-1950s.  They were:

  • Marco’s Millions
  • Strange Interlude
  • Dynamo
  • Mourning Becomes Electra
  • Ah, Wilderness!
  • Days Without End

In addition, The Guild had a very personal relationship with O’Neill and helped him in other aspects of his life.

Nowadays, it is very difficult to mount serious plays and we salute the theatres, like the Roundabout and the Jacobs Theatre, that are making an effort to keep these plays going!

The Iceman Cometh opens April 26, 2018, with previews starting on March 22nd.  It will be playing at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.  To read more or purchase tickets, click here.

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

We believe this will be the greatest play of this season!

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Only One More Day…

Dear Friends,

We hope that you are enjoying your weekend.  We just wanted to take a moment to remind you about the Tony Awards, hosted by Kevin Spacey, tomorrow night (Sunday).

They will be aired on CBS, starting at 8pm Eastern Time.
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We’ve listed the main nominees in our Newsletter a couple of weeks ago (click here to read!) or you can click here to see all the nominees.

We can’t wait!

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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The Power of Theatre

Dear Friends,

Today we wanted to discuss with you an incredible theatre happening that occurred a couple of weeks ago:

It is the conflict between The Theatre, as represented by Hamilton, and the Government-to-be, as represented by Vice-President Elect Mike Pence.

As you all know, Vice President-Elect Pence went to a performance of Hamilton where he was specifically addressed by the cast at the end of the performance (their spokesperson being Brandon Dixon).

Mr. Dixon made a plea to Vice President-Elect Pence–as a representative of our new government starting 20th of January.  The cast requested that Vice President-Elect Pence look out for their interests, aka those of the common people.  While Mr. Pence was walking out of the theatre at the time of the speech, he stopped and listened to what Mr. Harris had to say.

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To us, it is a fascinating happening.  It is The Theatre showing its influence on our world.  Not only in the message that the play itself gives the audience, but in this historic case, the actors themselves sent out a message that was viewed—thanks to social media—all around the world.  Theatres have often had an effect on society in the past, starting with William Shakespeare himself.

Personally, we experienced this in mid-1950s with McCarthyism.  At a time when everyone was afraid of being locked up for being a Communist, Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible, which was set during the Salem Witch Trials but in fact, was the very replica of what was happening in America at that time.  The play was so sensational that Miller was interrogated by the US House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities!

arthur-miller

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President-Elect Trump’s comments aside, we do hope that Vice President-Elect Pence will take these words to heart.  Not as an attack, but as a plea from those who have real concerns for the ideals and path that the new administration seems to be leading us down in order to “make America great again.”  We have always looked to the theatre to lead in voicing current political concerns and we are very proud of the cast of Hamilton for continuing this tradition!

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn Langner

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