Category Archives: Theatre History

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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Giving Thanks.

thanksgiving

Dear Friends,

This being Thanksgiving week, we are thinking about thanks in the theatre world.

We always felt that the theatre would suffer—and perhaps come to an end—because it is not a mass-production enterprise.  Therefore, it cannot equal automobiles, electric lights, and all sorts of items in our daily lives that are mass-produced by machines.

We have previously told you that in 1943, when we brought Oklahoma! to Broadway, Orchestra tickets were $5.75 each, the equivalent to $81.53 today.  Since currently  Broadway musical tickets are averaging $125.00, it is clear that ticket prices have gone up faster than inflation—although only somewhat faster!

The good news is that all 40 Broadway theatres currently have plays running or will be opening new plays this Spring.  This make us very happy because the fact that plays are not mass-produced has not yet ended the theatre!

We are happy and giving thanks this week to all of those who work hard to make the theatre the success that it continues to be!

Best regards and Happy Thanksgiving!
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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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!
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Best regards,
Philip & 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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Good-bye Bette!

Dear Friends,

Time is running out to see the truly great actress, Bette Midler, in her Tony-Award winning performance as Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly!.   Bette’s last performance is scheduled for January 14, 2018.

hello dolly 2

She will be replaced by the lovely Bernadette Peters, who officially steps into the iconic role on February 22, 2018.

You can read more about Bette departure from and Bernadette’s return to the stage in these articles from the Playbill:

Bette

Bernadette

To purchase tickets or read more about the show, visit the Hello Dolly! website.

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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Prince on Broadway

Dear Friends,

In December we posted the news about our recommendation for this week in our Summer Series: Prince of Broadway.  It is currently in previews and will open August 24th.

It is a musical that celebrates the career of Broadway legend, and our dear friend, Harold Prince.

In fact, when we wrote Hal to wish him the best of success, he very kindly replied that he considers himself “a continuum of everything Lawrence and Armina Langner gave to the theatre. They were my idols and I remember them not only for their extraordinary accomplishments, but their generosity. As a kid, they always made me feel welcomed and encouraged me.”

Over the span of his career, Hal has received 21 Tony Awards, a Kennedy Center Honor, and a National Medal of the Arts from President Clinton.  His long list of productions have helped shape Broadway with shows such as Fiddler on The Roof, Damn Yankees, West Side Story, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sweeney Todd, Evita, The Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, Follies, A Little Night Music, and Show Boat to name a few!
hal-prince
This is one show you absolutely do not want to miss!  Click here to order tickets or to learn more.

We are so happy for Hal—and wish him the best of success for this exciting show.

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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Theatre History

Hello Friends!

We are very pleased today because Cindy Adams, Page Six writer for the New York Post, was writing an article about Theatre History in the wake of last night’s Tony Awards .

Lo and behold! The Theatre Guild got a nod from Ms. Adams:

1918. Formation of the Theatre Guild. Also, Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House.” That’s 99 years before the Golden’s current occupants grabbed all those nominations for “Part 2.”

Click here for the full article.

99 years!  It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a century—and we are very excited about our 100th Anniversary, as there may well be a new commemorative postage stamp similar to the one to mark the 50th Anniversary of our musical Oklahoma!.

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Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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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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