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Jean Stapleton Stars As Eleanor Roosevelt

Dear Friends,
As we are gearing up for the proverbial changing of the guard, we decided to take a moment to look back at an earlier at some of our earlier posts. We came across this one about Eleanor, starring Jean Stapleton. We thought it apropos on the eve of the Presidential Inauguration, since it was a production about one of our most formidable First Ladies.
All the best!
Marilyn & Philip
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The Theatre Guild Newsletter

We recently came across this photo of Jean Stapleton, who was one of our most beloved actresses. She starred in the play Eleanor Roosevelt by Rhoda Lerman, performing all over the United States for 37 weeks.  While everyone may recognize Jean in her prominent role of Edith Bunker, it is her stage presence and her warm and darling personality that makes us miss her so!

—Marilyn & Philip

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The Tonys Are Coming!

Dear Friends,

The big news today that we would like to remind you of is that the Tony Awards will be this next Sunday, June 12th.

tony awards

The ceremony will be taking place at the Beacon Theatre (Broadway between 74th and 75th Streets), starting at 8pm ET.  It will be broadcast live on CBS and online at https://www.cbs.com/all-access/

We can’t wait!

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

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Holiday Workout

Dear Friends,

As we wrap up Thanksgiving weekend and head into the Christmas season, we received this proposed workout for the holiday season and thought it was too good not to share!

Enjoy!

holiday workout

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Giving Thanks…And Trivia!

Dear Friends,

It’s that time of year when we pause to give thanks for all the wonderful things in our lives—our beautiful family, our wonderful friends, our health, a warm house to live in, great theatre to watch, and so much more!

As we often do, we love to research the origins of things and Thanksgiving is no exception.

First of all, National Geographic has a great mini series showing right now (with rebroadcasting on Thursday), called Saints & Strangers:

“Saints & Strangers is a story that goes beyond the familiar historical account of Thanksgiving and the founding of Plymouth Plantation, revealing the trials and tribulations of the settlers at Plymouth: 102 men, women and children who sailed on a chartered ship for a place they had never seen. Of this group, half are those we think of as “pilgrims,” religious separatists who abandoned their prior lives for a single cause: religious freedom. The other half, the “merchant adventurers,” had less spiritual and more material, real-world objectives. This clash of values created complex inner struggles for the group as they sought to establish a new colony, compounded by a complicated relationship with the local Native American tribes. The conflicting allegiances among these groups culminated in trials of assimilation, faith, and compromise, that continued to define our nation to this day.”

Secondly, in our search we found some great Thanksgiving trivia and we thought we’d share some of them with you—a bit of food for thought, if you will!   You can find the whole list of trivia items here.

FUN FACTS ABOUT THANKSGIVING!

  • The Plymouth Pilgrims were the first to celebrate the Thanksgiving.
  • They celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  • The Wampanoag Indians were the people who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land.
  • The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621. He invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians to the feast.
  • The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days.
  • Mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, popcorn, milk, corn on the cob, and cranberries were not foods present on the first Thanksgiving’s feast table.
  • Lobster, rabbit, chicken, fish, squashes, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, maple syrup and honey, radishes, cabbage, carrots, eggs, and goat cheese are thought to have made up the first Thanksgiving feast.
  • The pilgrims didn’t use forks; they ate with spoons, knives, and their fingers.
  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States.
  • Abraham Lincoln issued a ‘Thanksgiving Proclamation’ on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.
  • The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in the 1920’s.
  • In 1939, President Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving would take place on November 23rd, not November 30th, as a way to spur economic growth and extend the Christmas shopping season.
  • Congress to passed a law on December 26, 1941, ensuring that all Americans would celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
  • In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations.
  • Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the United States.
  • Although, Thanksgiving is widely considered an American holiday, it is also celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.
  • The average weight of a turkey purchased at Thanksgiving is 15 pounds.
  • The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog.
  • Turkey has more protein than chicken or beef.
  • Turkeys will have 3,500 feathers at maturity.
  • Male turkeys gobble. Hens do not. They make a clucking noise.
  • Commercially raised turkeys cannot fly.
  • Turkeys have poor night vision.

Whether you are traveling across the country, down the street, or simply walking into your dining room; whether you are watching the parade, football, or your favorite holiday movies; whether you celebrate with family, friends, or simply by yourself, we wish you the very best for a happy Thanksgiving.

Philip & Marilyn

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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Lost In Translation

Dear Friends,

We wanted to share this great OpEd piece written in the NY Times by James Shapiro in response to the announcement from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that it will commission 36 playwrights to rewrite all of Shakespeare’s plays into “modern English.”

Shakespeare in Modern English?

By JAMES SHAPIRO OCT. 7, 2015

THE Oregon Shakespeare Festival has decided that Shakespeare’s language is too difficult for today’s audiences to understand. It recently announced that over the next three years, it will commission 36 playwrights to translate all of Shakespeare’s plays into modern English.

Many in the theater community have known that this day was coming, though it doesn’t lessen the shock. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has been one of the stars in the Shakespeare firmament since it was founded in 1935. While the festival’s organizers insist that they also remain committed to staging Shakespeare’s works in his own words, they have set a disturbing precedent. Other venues, including the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the University of Utah and Orlando Shakespeare Theater, have already signed on to produce some of these translations.

However well intended, this experiment is likely to be a waste of money and talent, for it misdiagnoses the reason that Shakespeare’s plays can be hard for playgoers to follow. The problem is not the often knotty language; it’s that even the best directors and actors — British as well as American — too frequently offer up Shakespeare’s plays without themselves having a firm enough grasp of what his words mean.

Claims that Shakespeare’s language is unintelligible go back to his own day. His great rival, Ben Jonson, reportedly complained about “some bombast speeches of ‘Macbeth,’ which are not to be understood.” Jonson failed to see that Macbeth’s dense soliloquies were intentionally difficult; Shakespeare was capturing a feverish mind at work, tracing the turbulent arc of a character’s moral crisis. Even if audiences strain to understand exactly what Macbeth says, they grasp what Macbeth feels — but only if an actor knows what that character’s words mean…

You can read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/07/opinion/shakespeare-in-modern-english.htm

And we’d love to hear your thoughts about this hot topic in Shakespearean theatre!

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Katharine Hepburn’s Unknown Triumph!

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 year 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!

This is an amazing [and nearly unknown] story about Katharine Hepburn….

The Theatre Guild Newsletter

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, Katherine Hepburn was playing Antony & Cleopatra at the Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, CT. 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 Locus Valley lockjaw accent—“That’s not a suntan, those are spots!” Looking back, Philip always wondered…

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The Show Must Go On!

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 year 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!

This is our very first post…

The Theatre Guild Newsletter

The theatre is such a wonderful happening!

We had an unbelievable evening a few weeks ago when we saw Beautiful: The Carol King Musical.  It lifted us so—from our ordinary daily lives we were brought to an evening of heaven.

And it led us to an exciting idea: staring this website to share with you the theatre that we know and love so well.  The events, the history—all of the past, present, and future!

We (my talented wife, Marilyn Clark, and I) have lived our lives in the theatre: Marilyn from the time she was an actress at 15.  And my parents were writers and producers, so I literally grew up in theatre.  Now as we reminisce a lot about all the trials and tribulations and success and stars, we decided to start this website—a place where theatre lovers everywhere can come together and find both information about the…

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A Celebration of the Life and Music of Ray Kennedy

A most wonderful musical event took place two weeks ago in St. Louis that involved our family.

The event was a tribute concert at the Sheldon Theatre, honoring the great jazz pianist, Ray Kennedy. Ray was our son-in-law (married to our daughter Eve), who died in May.

Headlining the concert was Bucky Pizzarelli and The John Pizzarelli Trio, led by famous jazz performer John Pizzarelli, alongside his brother Martin on bass and Konrad Paszkudzki on piano. Ray played piano with The John Pizzarelli Trio for over 11 years.

Ray is survived by his wife, Eve Langner and two young daughters: Lauren and Brielle. And both girls have inherited their father’s musical genius.

Lauren, age 14, is a most accomplished flautist, who played at Carnegie Hall—just like her father.

Brielle, age 12, provided one of the most moving moments of the concert when John invited her up on stage to play for the entire theatre. There was great applause, many tears of happiness, and a standing ovation that our dear Brielle is unlikely to ever forget!

The performance was a huge success and Eve, Lauren, and Brielle were bowled over by the emotional love and support shown by all.

While so many people made the concert a success, our profound thanks goes to John Pizzarelli, Bucky Pizzarelli, Martin Pizzarelli, Konrad Paszkudzki, Paul Reuter (Executive Director of the Sheldon), and Gene Kieren (organizer of the whole event). What an incredible celebration!

ray cut-out

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Slam in the Park

We know that it’s July, but we wanted to share with you a fantastic happening every April: a gathering in Central Park to read Shakespeare’s sonnets (not plays). It is the Annual Shakespeare’s Birthday Sonnet Slam, which started in 2010, and—rain or shine—all of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets are read aloud.

Shakespeare had 2 personalities: the one that wrote plays with plots, like playwrights today, and the other who wrote sonnets based on his view of life. These sonnets are his expressions, his thoughts, his own dreams.
We read about this event in The New Yorker and wanted to share this article with you today, where the author, Adam Gopnik, wonders “can love, and its songs, go on forever?” as he ventures through the various types of love Shakespeare expressed in his wide-ranging sonnets. This is a magnificent event, especially for those wanting something more interactive than seeing a Shakespeare play.

Sonnet Slam does not have yet have details of their 2016 event yet posted (that we found), however, as we hear further news, we will pass it along!

The article is June, Moon, Tune by Adam Gopnik and found in the July 6 & 13, 2015 issue of The New Yorker.

Illustration by Eiko Ojala--click on photo to go to The New Yorker online

Illustration by Eiko Ojala–click on photo to go to The New Yorker online

See what Shakespeare is saying here:

Sonnet 18:
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

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Unclaimed Money

We found this interesting and thought you would too:

We went to a party on Thanksgiving and several guests found ourselves talking about The New York State Lost Money department.

They are holding $14 Billion of our unclaimed money!!

Several guests checked and found they had unclaimed money–and you know what? So did we!

If you live in New York State, you can check here:  http://www.osc.state.ny.us/ouf

If you don’t live in NY,  you can check with your state’s Comptroller’s Office. Or you can always Google it!

Wishing you sucess!

Philiip and Marilyn

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