Category Archives: Theatre Guild Productions

100 Years of Great Theatre

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow night there will be a celebration in honor of our Centennial Anniversary.

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The evening format is an interview led by the talented Foster Hirsch to our former Theatre At Sea artistic director: the incomparable Lee Roy Reams and longtime Theatre Guild star, who has co-written and stars in our most current production, Adoption Roulette:  the wonderful Joel Vig.

It will be presented at The Coffee Club starting at 6pm and there are a few seats left, with an entry fee of $10 for the interview and cocktail hour. Please email us if you are interested in attending: theatguild@aol.com

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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The Theatre Guild on the Air

Dear Friends,

In digging through our archives today, we were reminded that on this day—July 12th—a mere 58 years ago in 1961we released Watching Out for Dulie. It was adapted to television for our series, “The US Steel Hour,” by Arthur Heinemann from a novel by David Hestheimer and starred Larry Blyden, Shari Lewis, Patricia Cutts, and Lloyd Bochner.

In 1945, The Theatre Guild began broadcasting a radio program called The Theatre Guild on the Air in an effort to bring theatre into the homes of millions of radio listeners. After 8 years of presenting weekly plays on the radio, it was decided that an even better and further reaching medium for The Theatre Guild on the Air would be television.

The United States Steel Corporation came on board as sponsor to present “The US Steel Hour” every other week. Our show ran on NBC until its final performance in 1963, starring our beloved Theatre Guild favorites Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt.

While we were unable to locate Watching Out for Dulie for online viewing, UCLA—which houses part of The Theatre Guild archives, and is alma mater to Marilyn—has posted some of the episodes of “The US Steel Hour” on YouTube, which you can find here:

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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Oh What A Beautiful Opening!

Dear Friends,

The Theatre Guild was founded in New York City in 1919 by my (Philip) father Lawrence Langner, Philip Moeller, Helen Westley, Maurice Wertheim, Lee Simonson, and Theresa Helburn. My (Philip) mother, Armina Marshall served as a co-director. The Theatre Guild evolved out of the work of the Washington Square Players and departed from the usual theatre practice in that its board of directors shared the responsibility for choice of plays, management, and production and is known for the production of high-quality, noncommercial American and foreign plays. Our first production was the play “Bonds of Interest”, which opened April 14, 1919 at the Garrick Theatre.

Since last week marked our 100th Anniversary, we found it fitting that a revival of our most successful musical, Oklahoma!, opened to rave reviews. This production, directed by Daniel Fish, was originally developed, produced, and premiered at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College.

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Ben Brantley of the New York Times writes:

How is it that the coolest new show on Broadway in 2019 is a 1943 musical usually regarded as a very square slice of American pie? The answer arrives before the first song is over in Daniel Fish’s wide-awake, jolting and altogether wonderful production of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!,” which opened on Sunday night at the Circle in the Square Theater.

To read the full review, click here.
Oklahoma! is playing at the Circle in the Square Theatre. To buy tickets, click here or on the picture above.

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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Rolling Back To Broadway

Dear Friends,

As we already announced in December, our beloved Oklahoma! is making its 5th appearance on Broadway—and previews are only a few weeks away! At the time we wrote to you, tickets were not on sale—but they are now! Click here for tickets.

In 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!.

Our original production, which opened on March 31, 1943, was by far our most successful Broadway hit, playing for five years (2,200 performances) in its original run! It was so popular we actually had to hire NYPD to handle the lines of ticket buyers!

This most recent production will be at the Circle in the Square Theatre (235 West 50th Street) with previews starting March 19th, opening on April 7th, and closing on September 01, 2019.

Don’t miss out on this extraordinary musical! Click on the picture below to purchase tickets
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Best,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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A Shakespeare Christmas on Broadway

Dear Friends,

As we head into this last weekend before Christmas, we are reminded of Shakespeare’s comedy, Twelfth Night, involving twins Viola and Sebastian who are separated in a shipwreck. In the spirit of Epiphany (or the Twelfth Night of Christmas), Viola disguises herself as a man, falls in love with Count Orsino, has Lady Olivia fall in love with her in disguise, and hilarity ensues.

We presented the Twelfth Night on Broadway the Winter Season of 1940-41 at the St. James Theatre starring Helen Hayes and Maurice Evans. It was 129 performances of Shakespeare comedic bliss!

 

 

It’s hard to imagine that was 78 years ago! Time surely flies when you’re having fun in the theatre!

Merry Christmas and warm wishes for a happy holiday season!
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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Oklahoma….OK!

Dear Friends,

Big things are happening next year!

In additional to our 100th Anniversary, we are so excited that our beloved Oklahoma! –the biggest hit we ever produced—is returning to Broadway! This will be the sixth time since we opened the musical at the St. James Theatre in 1943 that it has appeared on Broadway.

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Previews will begin March 19, 2019 and it will open April 7th at the Circle in the Square Theatre (235 West 50th Street). It will be a limited run, closing on September 01, 2019.

Tickets are not currently available, but will be released January 05, 2019.  Click on the picture above for more information.

Best,
Philip & Marilyn

PS–if you’re interested in reading more about Oklahoma!‘s history, here are a handful of our posts over the years:

  1. Oklahoma!
  2. A Match Made In Music
  3. Green Grow The Lilacs
  4. The Lift of a Lifetime
  5. Broadway Hit!

 

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Actors’ Strike of 1919

Dear Friends,

Today we’d like to tell you about an exciting Theatre Guild happening that took place on Broadway in 1919.

Actors’ Equity Association was formed by Broadway actors in 1913. After they were formed, they started approaching theatrical producers  to arrange contracts for their actors with each of them. The producers and Equity were not able to come to an agreement–with one notable exception–and in 1919 the Broadway actors decided to strike.

Happily The Theatre Guild was that one notable exception who chose to recognize Actors’ Equity and agree to a contract. The result was that The Theatre Guild was the only producer with a play running on Broadway during the strike.

The play was John Ferguson running at the Fulton Theatre on 46th Street, and it became a huge sell-out lasting for six months!

According to my father, Lawrence, “I was looking for a play for us to produce and I picked a book off the shelf—little thinking that I held the future of the new Theatre Guild in my hand! It was just the play we were looking for! My fellow Board members were all as excited about the play as I was and we decided to produce it at once.”

Wasn’t it fortuitous that The Guild had a sensible reaction to actors on Broadway wanting to have a union, and what a happy result!

Best wishes,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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Adoption Rules The Evening

Dear Friends,

We wanted to share with you how spectacular our reading on Monday night went. Authors Liz and Joel have written such a spellbinding story based on Liz’s experiences in adopting a child in Russia.

The wonderful addition of Sachi Parker to the cast made for a thrilling component to the already suspenseful reading.

We are so very excited that we are featuring this extraordinary and powerful play and we cannot wait to bring it to more venues here in New York City!

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Thank you to those of you who came out to the performance. We hope that you enjoyed the night as much as we did!

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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Adoption Update

Dear Friends,

We are excited to announce that our reading of Adoption Roulette at The Theatre for the New City (155 First Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets) on October 08, 2018 at 7:00pm will star both the actors/writers, Elizabeth Fuller and Joel Vig, and our new star, Sachi Parker, acclaimed theatre and film actress and only child of show biz icon Shirley MacLaine.

 

Sachi Parker began her film career working with director Burt Reynolds on the film Stick. Other notable films include Back To The Future, Riders to The Sea, Peggy Sue Got Married, and Scrooged. Parker recently completed All Me, All The Time with Keir Dullea. Ms. Parker’s theatre work includes The Lulu Plays, My Cup Runneth Over, Pastorale, The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull, and The Three Sisters.

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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