Category Archives: Theatre History

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

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

gal2

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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!.

ok stamp
Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

Tagged , , , , ,

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

 

Tagged , , ,

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Little More Than Just Inflation

Dear Friends,

It never ceases to amaze us just how high tickets prices on Broadway have gotten!  We’re not even talking about the Hamilton phenomenon, where, if you’re willing to wait until next January, you can get center orchestra tickets for $849 A PERSON!

We decided to do some research about the average ticket price and we found one article where the writer says that she paid $2.50 (stand-up seats) in 1960 to see Gypsy at the Imperial Theatre.  According to the Dollar Times, that would be the same as purchasing the ticket for $20.53 today.  Today, Rear Mezzanine tickets to see Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet also at the Imperial start at $59.00—three times as much!

We then decided to look at our biggest hit, Oklahoma!, and found that the price in 1943 for the best seat was $4.80—that is $68.57 today.

Oklahoma

Anyone who has been to the theatre recently will know that it is hard to find mezzanine tickets for $68 dollars, let alone orchestra seats!  Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet (Imperial Theatre) is selling orchestra tickets starting at $169 per ticket, and center orchestra tickets for Miss Saigon at the Broadway Theatre are $249 per ticket.

It is not unthinkable to know that tickets prices have increased over the years—but to increase 4, 5, or even 10 times, even accounting for inflation?  CRAZY!

The last days of Pompeii?

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,