Category Archives: Theatre Greats

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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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.

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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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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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Playwrights

With the end of summer looming and a new school year and theatre season on the horizon, we thought we’d take a bit of a break and head down the coast to spend a bit of time with our daughter and granddaughters.

We started this Newsletter just over a few years ago and we have been very fortunate in our ever-increasing number of subscribers. But we also realize that many of you haven’t had time to go back and read all of our articles, and so we thought we’d share a few with you while we’re lounging away on the beach, watching our granddaughters play!

In this post, we revisit some of the great and phenomenal playwrights The Theatre Guild has worked with over the years…enjoy!

The Theatre Guild Newsletter

One of the fascinating aspects of The Theatre Guild is all of the wonderful playwrights we have worked with in our 95 years, such as:

George Bernard Shaw—possibly the greatest playwright of the century—had 14 plays produced by The Theatre Guild.

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The Theatre Guild produced 9 of Eugene O’Neill’s plays.

Eugene O'Neill

Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontaine starred in 25 plays on Broadway for The Guild over a 30 year period from 1925 to 1956.

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Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, who wrote Oklahoma! at the suggestion of The Theatre Guild and collaborated with The Theatre Guild to create Carousel and Allegro.

rodgers and hammerstein

Of course, we can never forget Dore Schary—who wrote Sunrise At Campobello, which we produced and then later adapted to our current running play FDR, starring Ed Asner, which will be performing in Laguna Beach, CA in November, and Chicago in April 2015.

dore schary

These playwrights were so talented…

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The Celestials of Broadway

Dear Friends,

We are writing to you today to urge you to go see Lunt and Fontanne: The Celestials of Broadway.

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It is playing at The New York International Fringe Festival 64E4 Mainstage: Venue #11 (64 East 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue & Bowery) for four more performances this month: Wednesday 8/17 at 7pm, Saturday 8/20 at 7pm, Tuesday 8/23 at 2:15pm, and Saturday 8/27 at 4:45pm.

In LUNT AND FONTANNE: THE CELESTIALS OF BROADWAY, Mark E. Lang’s new stage play about the Lunts, today’s audiences get a chance to meet Alfred and Lynn, explore their life on and off the stage, see them perform scenes from their favorite plays– including Shakespeare’s TAMING OF THE SHREW and Molnar’s THE GUARDSMAN; interact with famous friends such as Noel Coward and Laurence Olivier; and share their experiences on Broadway, in London during World War II and on tour.

Alfred and Lynn were very dear to us here at The Guild—they performed in our productions from 1920-1960, with 25 consecutive seasons from 1929-1949!  We are excited that real-life married couple Mark E. Lang and Alison Murphy are portraying these beloved theatre stars and throwing them back into the limelight where they belong.

Click here to purchase tickets or learn more about the play.

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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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Chaplin’s World

Dear Friends,

We received an email today about the opening of Chaplin’s World—a museum in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland dedicated to the life and works of Charlie Chaplin.  But it is more than just a museum—it is an experience and a peek into Charlie’s world.  You can visit their website to read more about it.  It looks like a wonderful place to spend a few vacation days.

It made us think about our lovely visit with Charlie at his home in Corsier-sur-Vevey.  Needless to say, he was incredible!  Here is a picture from the weekend Marilyn and I spent with Charlie and his lovely wife, Oona.

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Top Left to Right: Marshall Young and Philip Langner
Bottom Left to Right:  Oona O’Neill Chaplin (daughter of Eugene O’Neill), Marilyn Langner, Charlie Chaplin

 

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Broadway Karaoke

Dear Friends,

To help set the stage for tomorrow night’s Tony Awards, we found this wonderful YouTube video with this year’s host, James Corden, and special guests Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Audra McDonald, and Jane Krakowski singing a variety of songs, such as from Hamilton, Rent, and Les Miserables.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we did—it sure looked like they had fun making it!

Regards,

Philip & Marilyn

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Incident at Vichy by Arthur Miller

Dear Friends,

Last night we watched a wonderful performance Incident at Vichy by Arthur Miller on WLIW Channel 21 (Long Island PBS). Who knew?!?

This is such an amazing play that was set in France during WWII.  It tells the story of eight men and one boy picked up under suspicion of being a Jew or a Jewish sympathizer.  The play takes us through the Nazi interviews of each of these men/boy, and the decision of whether to release each one or have them board a train to the concentration camps.

Incident at Vichy is quite remarkable and we love it!  We would highly recommend this play to everyone.

Thankfully, WLIW has made it available online (click the picture!)

Vichy

It is also shown from time to time on WLIW Channel 21.

Do watch—we’d love to hear your thoughts about this incredible play!

Best regards,

Philip and Marilyn Langner

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The Tallest Tree in the Forest

At the beginning of the year, we posted a fabulous photo from our archives of Paul Robeson.  I knew him well and played with his son often when I was a teenager.

This week in the New York Times, there was a wonderful article about a play now showing at the BAM Theatre celebrating Robeson and his historical life.

According to the Times:

The lives of actors often contain heady highs and dispiriting lows, so fragile is their hold on the public’s imagination and their access to the levers of power in the industry. But the story of Paul Robeson, the great African-American performer who achieved international fame in the 1920s and ’30s, only to be condemned for his political beliefs and branded a Communist during the witch hunts of the ’50s, is a particularly egregious example of a star falling at warp speed.

The extraordinary arc of Robeson’s life and career is resurrected with grace in “The Tallest Tree in the Forest,” an engrossing solo show written and performed by Daniel Beaty, and directed by Moisés Kaufman.

If you are in the New York City area, you should make time go see this stunning portrayal of such a fine actor—but don’t delay! Tomorrow is the last day of performances at the BAM Theatre.

To read the full New York Times story, click here.

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