Category Archives: Productions

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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The Band’s Visit

Dear Friends,

We hope this finds you well and hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday weekend.

We wanted to tell you about a wonderful musical that is getting rave reviews—and we think you should add show tickets to your holiday wish list!

It is The Band’s Visit, which Ben Brantley of the New York Times says is “one of the most ravishing musicals you will ever be seduced by.”

It is the story of a mix-up that sends an Egyptian Police Band into a remote Israeli village and “celebrates the deeply human ways music, longing and laughter can connect us all.”

the bands visit

It is now playing at the Barrymore Theatre (243 W 47th Street), starring Katrina Lenk and Tony Shaloub.  It is written by Itamar Moses, with songs by David Yazbak, and directed by David Cromer.

To buy tickets or read more about it, click here.

Best regards,
Philip and Marilyn

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Carousel

Dear Friends,

Hurray!  Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel is coming back to Broadway!

The Theatre Guild originally produced this play on Broadway in 1945–it was the second musical Rodgers & Hammerstein had written for The Theatre Guild.

Carousel was adapted from the play, Liliom, which The Theatre Guild had produced on Broadway in 1921. In some ways we love it even more than Oklahoma! (the first Rodgers & Hammerstein musical The Theatre Guild produced) because the love story in Carousel is so fantastic!
Carousel
We think you will love seeing Carousel (again?) because it has so much to offer!  It will be playing at the Imperial Theatre (249 W. 45th Street). Previews begin February 28, 2018 and it opens April 12, 2018.  To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.

Best regards,
Philip and Marilyn

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Stuck in Gander

Dear Friends,

This week we’re recommending a fantastic musical called Come From Away—the story of how a small town in Gander, Newfoundland was directly affected by 9/11 and how it “welcomed the world.”

come from away.jpg

It was nominated for 7 Tony Awards, with Christopher Ashley winning for Best Direction in a Musical.  According to the Washington Post, “this effervescent musical, enveloped in Canadian good will, is an antidote for what ails the American soul” and Ben Brantley of the New York Times says “even the most stalwart cynics may have trouble staying dry-eyed during this portrait of heroic hospitality under extraordinary pressure.”

To order tickets or read more, click here.

Best regards,
Philip and Marilyn

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Still Beautiful

Dear Friends,

Those of you who joined us at the beginning will know that the very first show we wrote about was Beautiful: The Carol King Musical.  In fact, seeing the show is partly what gave us the inspiration to start this newsletter—we wanted to share our stories and experiences about the theatre with you!

Beautiful is such a great show!  If you haven’t seen it, we definitely urge you to add it to your list of “must sees.”   It is the story of how Carol King became Carol King—and it is just fabulous!

To order tickets click here
And to see a short video about it, click below:

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

PS—if you’re new and wanted to read the play that started it all, click here to read our first ever Newsletter!

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Final Chance!

Dear Friends,

Just a reminder that Prince of Broadway will be closing its limited run in only 12 more performances–with its final performance on 10/29/2017!

It showcases the life and times of our dear family friend, Harold Prince, including some of his greatest productions, like:

West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Evita, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, and The Phantom of the Opera to name a few!

You definitely do not want to miss out on this spectacular show!  Click here for your last chance at tickets!
prince of bway 2
Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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Indecent on Broadway

Dear Friends,

In continuing our Summer Series, this week’s recommendation is Indecent.

Indecent, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel, is based on the real-life events surrounding the 1923 Broadway debut of God of Vengence by Sholem Asch.  It is directed by Rebecca Taichman, who won a Tony Award for Best Director and is currently playing at the Cort Theatre with extended performances until August 6th.

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Charles Isherwood of the New York Times calls the play a “superbly realized production…[and] sheds an eye-opening light on a little-known time when theatrical history, Jewish culture and the frank depiction of homosexuality intersected, with explosive results.”  You can read the full review here.

Don’t miss this powerful and wonderful play—click here to purchase tickets!

Best regards,
Philp and Marilyn

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Memories On The Small Screen

Dear Friends,

Last Saturday a film we produced played on NBC.  It was Judgement at Nuremberg, starring Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Maximilian Schell, Montgomery Clift, and Werner Klemperer.

Judgement at Nuremberg

We enjoyed it so much—it was so filled with the author, Abby Mann’s screenplay.  And, despite being thought of as too “intellectual and thoughtful,” it was one of our greatest successes! We just love the story about how the film came together and decided to re-share our story with you today (we originally posted the story below November 2014).

KATHARINE HEPBURN’S UNKNOWN TRIUMPH! 

In 1960, a teleplay was performed on Playhouse 90. The program was called Judgment at Nuremburg, which was a somber and serious piece.
Philip Langner of The Theatre Guild, Inc. received a script “over the transom”—as they say about unknown scripts. The Guild directors liked the script and “knowing” its virtual impossibility as a film, decided—with the author’s agreement—to have a play written and to produce it on Broadway.

At the time, Katharine Hepburn was playing Antony & Cleopatra at the Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, CT (created by Lawrence Langner). On a very remote possibility, Philip and the author, Abby Mann, drove to Stratford on a matinee day to see Kate.  After the matinee, they went to her cottage.  She opened the door and Philip said politely “Kate, you have a lovely suntan!”  Kate said with her typical Locust Valley lockjaw accent—“That’s not a suntan, those are spots!” Looking back, Philip always wondered if he should have replied, “well, they do look wonderful on you!”

Kate agreed to look at the t.v. production, which she did at The Theatre Guild building on 53rd Street. She liked the teleplay enormously and decided to work diligently to make it into a film.

She sent the play to Spencer Tracy and she succeeded! Tracy sent it to Hollywood producer, Stanley Kramer, who produced it in 1961 with the most incredible cast for such a serious—and therefore risky—film.  Kramer persuaded all 9 film stars to take modest salaries.  The film was released in 1961.

Kramer was the Producer, Philip Langner the Associate Producer, and Abby Mann was the Screenwriter. The incredible cast included:

  • Spencer Tracy
  • Richard Widmark
  • Burt Lancaster
  • Marlene Dietrich
  • Max Schell
  • Montgomery Clift
  • Judy Garland
  • William Shatner
  • Warner Klemperer

Thus, one of the Great War films of all time was created.

And who got it done? Katharine Hepburn.

AND WHO WAS NEVER TOLD ABOUT HER TRIUMPH? The World. 

Judgment at Nuremburg was nominated for 11 Academy awards, winning 2 for Best Actor (Schell) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Mann). The film was recently entered into the Library of Congress National Film Registry.

Best regards,
Philip and Marilyn

PS—The discussion in this film on the subject of war is so important, and of course, it is wildly pertinent in today’s world with North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Yemen all hoping(?) for some war excitement.

And also: we bought a DVD of Judgement at Nuremberg at Amazon, which is currently for on sale for $12.00.  To order your copy, click here.

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Great Actresses on Broadway

Dear Friends,

Today we are coming back to a subject that we’ve discussed previously—namely the bravura performance of Glenn Close in her Broadway play, Sunset Boulevard.

In years past, great actresses would play on Broadway every year, sometimes in a new play and sometime in an old one.

We are thinking of acting greats, such as Helen Hayes and Lynn Fontanne (who performed for The Theatre Guild in 19 plays over her career!).

Each year we would ask ourselves “which play is Helen Hayes in this year?” and then we would go see that play.  This seems almost directly opposite to modern times when we ask which is the most popular play showing on Broadway this season.

So it is in this spirit of focusing on the great stars that we urge you to see one of our greatest actresses, Glenn Close, in Sunset Boulevard, which is currently running on Broadway only until June 25th.

glenn-close

That is only 12 more weeks!  We are urging you to not miss out on seeing her amazing performance!

Click here for tickets while they last!  Or call the Palace Theatre 212/730-8200.

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Marry Harry

Dear Friends,

We are writing today with some exciting news!

A delightful musical, Marry Harry, will be coming to the York Theatre April 25-May 21.

marry harry fullIt is a romantic comedy about love and family in the East Village and “Marry Harry cooks up ideas of family loyalty, marriage, love, and food with a side of humor, heart, and just the right amount of spice.”  It is written by our friend, Jennifer Robbins.

We think it’s a wonderful way to spend the evening—a fun musical with a superb cast and a lot of laughing!

You can click here to read more about it and buy your tickets or call the theatre directly 212/935-5824.

And the York is currently offering a special price on tickets $39.50 (April 25-May 3) using the promo code MARRY39 and $56.00 (May 5-23) using the promo code MARRY56!

york marry harry

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

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