Category Archives: Recommendations

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

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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

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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

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Show Boat

Dear Friends,

The other night we saw one of our favorite musicals on television: Showboat.

show boat 1951

This film was produced in 1951, starring Kathryn Grayson, Ava Gardner, and Howard Keel and directed by George Sidney. It was based on the original Broadway musical written by Oscar Hammerstein II with music by Jerome Kern. It tells the story of late 19th century hijinks aboard a Mississippi River show boat. It features some of Broadway’s greatest show tunes including Ol’ Man River, Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man, and Make Believe.

This musical is so superb that it makes us want to discuss the importance of theatre in our lives. We seldom think about it, but what if, at 5:30pm every night after a day of work, we simply had dinner and went to bed? Our workdays are usually not very spiritual or uplifting, so it is at nighttime and weekends that we get to observe and participate in the “finer things in life,” as in “what are we living for?” So this film says it all!

It’s wonderful and we’re so glad to have seen it on television! If you want to see it, it is available to watch via streaming or to purchase on Amazon (click here )

Best wishes,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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3 Days Away!

Dear Friends,

We wanted to send you one last reminder that a reading of our new play, Adoption Roulette, will be performed at The Theatre for the New City (155 First Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets) on October 08, 2018 at 7:00pm.

To read more about Adoption Roulette—the true story of Elizabeth Fuller’s experience adopting a child from Russia, our wonderful performers, and The Theatre for the New City, click here.

Tickets for the reading are $5 suggested donation at the box office. The Monday, October 8th performance starts at 7pm, but the theatre suggests arriving between 6:00-6:30pm.

We hope to see you there!

Best wishes,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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Tracy & Hepburn

Dear Friends,
As we have mentioned before, Katharine Hepburn played a huge role in helping us bring our film, Judgement at Nuremberg, to the big screen (for that story click on this link) by bringing the script to Spencer Tracy.

At that point, early 1960s, Hepburn and Tracy had starred in eight movies together, with one final movie in 1967. Last night on Turner Classic Movies, we watched their film, Desk Set, and we just loved it so! We decided that we wanted to share with you a list of their movies for you to enjoy as well:

Woman of The Year (1942) Hepburn and Tracy play married reporters working for the same newspaper, where Hepburn’s character gets all the accolades.

Keeper of the Flame (1943) Tracy plays a reporter covering the sudden death of a beloved war hero, whose widow is played by Hepburn.

Without Love (1945) Tracy plays a scientist in need of a place to work and Hepburn a single woman with a conveniently unused house with a science lab in the basement.

Sea of Grass (1947) Hepburn plays a St. Louis woman wooed by a New Mexican rancher (Tracy), only to discover when she arrives in New Mexico he’s not as charming and debonair as she thought.

State of the Union (1948) is a political drama where Tracy plays a Presidential Candidate and Hepburn his estranged wife, who is skeptical, but campaigns for him on the road to the White House.

Adam’s Rib (1949) based on a true story, Hepburn and Tracy play a married prosecutor and defense lawyer pitted against each other in a murder trial where Hepburn defends a woman accused of shooting her husband.

Pat and Mike (1952) Hepburn plays a brilliant athlete with a domineering fiancé and Tracy her slightly unscrupulous manager, who helps her escape from the clutches of her fiancé.

Desk Set (1957) Hepburn plays Department Head of Research for a big television company and Tracy the man sent in to computerize the entire department.

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (1967) in their final movie, Hepburn and Tracy play a married couple whose daughter introduces them to her new boyfriend (played by Sidney Poitier).

They were so magical on the screen together! All of these films are worth watching—and if you’d like to own the whole collection, Amazon has a set for sale which you can access by clicking here or the picture below.

tracy and hepburn

We hope you enjoy!
Best,
Philip & Marilyn

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The Gish Sisters

Dear Friends,

Last week we told you about all the wonderful movies we’ve been watching this summer and we wanted to add one more to the list: Orphans of the Storm, starring Lillian Gish and Dorothy Gish.

This nearly 100-year-old silent movie is the story of two orphaned sisters during the French revolution. Despite the 3-hour length, we stayed glued to the screen—a testament to writer/producer/director DW Griffith, the Gish sisters, and their supporting cast. We knew the Gish sisters so well–they were friends of our parents and performed in many plays for The Theatre Guild!

orphans of the storm

It is unbelievable how far cinema has advanced, but equally as amazing how much we can still enjoy the classics by tuning into Turner Classic Movies!

Best,
Philip & Marilyn

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Summer Nights

Dear Friends,

Today we are sending you information to while away your summer.
Every night we turn the television channel to Turner Classic Movies, and each night there is always a wonderful old movie to watch.

So far this summer we have watched over 60 movies, including the wonderful classics such as:

It Happened One Night
Three Coins in the Fountain
Jezebel
Holiday Inn
A Room With a View
Some Like It Hot
Laura
Two For The Road
The Blue Angel
Funny Face
The Dirty Dozen
Follow The Fleet
Cabaret
Chorus Line
The Scarlet Pimpernel
All The King’s Men
For Me and My Gal
Gaslight

And such great stars as:
Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Marlene Dietrich, Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, John Cassavetes, Marilyn Monroe, Fred Astaire, Eva Gabor, Tyrone Power, and Ian McKellen—to name a few!

In this day and age where nothing good seems to be on (and almost never any good news), it’s always nice to know that you can find a great classic movie right on your television set to pass the evening!

Best,
Philip & Marilyn

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A Jewish Legacy

Dear Friends,

We wanted to share with you today a wonderful DVD by PBS—Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy.

We saw it when PBS first aired it and we liked it so much we bought our own copy so that we could continue to enjoy this amazing show.

This program “examines the unique role of Jewish composers and lyricists in the creation of the modern American musical. The film showcases the work of legends such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim.” It  includes performances by Matthew Broderick, Kelli O’Hara, Zero Mostel, Nathan Lane, Barbra Streisand, Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, and many more!

Don’t miss out—you can order your copy from PBS today! The cost is only $29.99, and you can get it by clicking on this link or on the picture below.

broadway PBS

Best,
Philip & Marilyn

 

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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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