The Nazi Officer’s Wife

Dear Friends,

Today rather than recommend a play, we are going to tell you about a marvelous book called The Nazi Officer’s Wife.

It is a terrific read that tells the story of a young Jewish woman.  It is the story of her life in Vienna just before Hilter came to power through the end of the Second World War.

This book takes you on her journey—as a young woman at university to the slow demoralization and loss of everything familiar to her—including her family—as Hilter escalated his anti-Semitic laws in Germany, Austria, and conquered countries.

Even if you are not interested in WWII, this is an amazing tale about one woman’s journey and struggle to survive against all odds.

You can order it from Amazon by clicking on this link.

Best regards—and reading!
Philip & Marilyn

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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.

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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

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Classic Movies on the Small Screen

Dear Friends,

Today we want to write to you about a lovely happening brought to us by our daughter.

I am speaking about the films that are available every day on Turner Classic Movies (here in New York, it’s Channel 82).

We have been going about our business for years, only really watching PBS and a handful of news stations, but we never seem to branch out and explore other channels.  Finally, our daughter “made us” turn to Channel 82 and we have been extremely enthusiastic ever since!

TCM actors

The best thing about TCM is that they play movies you’d never get to see normally and when you watch them, you realize that you are getting to watch the best movies that were made between 1930-1950!

Many of these films are absolutely wonderful!  In analyzing them, we find that they are very much like Broadway plays.  Back then, movies had not gone into space or battled aliens or imaginary characters—they simply had the feel of the stage, however, you were just viewing them on the big (and now small) screen!

It is so interesting to watch great stars like Bette Davis or Joan Crawford just by changing the channel.  We love this era of movies, where everyone spoke so passionately about life!

The next time you find yourself in front of the television, do turn it on to Turner Classic Movies—you never know what you’re going to find! For example, last night’s line-up was The Good Earth (1933), a wonderful film adaptation of the novel by Pearl S. Buck.  That was followed by the entertaining musical Gold Diggers (1933) starring Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell.  After that was a favorite of ours, Holiday, starring Carey Grant and Katharine Hepburn.  All around, it was an entertaining evening!

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

PS—speaking of Bette and Joan, the FX series Feuds: Bette and Joan, starring Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon, only has only weeks left—don’t miss out!  Sundays at 10pm (Eastern Standard Time) on the FX channel.

feud poster

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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.

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.

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Marry Harry

Dear Friends,

We are writing today with some exciting news!

A delightful musical, Marry Harry, will be coming to the York Theatre April 25-May 21.

marry harry fullIt is a romantic comedy about love and family in the East Village and “Marry Harry cooks up ideas of family loyalty, marriage, love, and food with a side of humor, heart, and just the right amount of spice.”  It is written by our friend, Jennifer Robbins.

We think it’s a wonderful way to spend the evening—a fun musical with a superb cast and a lot of laughing!

You can click here to read more about it and buy your tickets or call the theatre directly 212/935-5824.

And the York is currently offering a special price on tickets $39.50 (April 25-May 3) using the promo code MARRY39 and $56.00 (May 5-23) using the promo code MARRY56!

york marry harry

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

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Snow, Stocks, and Most Import of All: Amazing Theatre

Dear Friends,

This afternoon we are preparing for a lovely 10”+ inches of snow that is expected to arrive tomorrow.  We wanted to write to you before it starts.

Today we want to again remind you to purchase tickets for Sunset Boulevard, starring Glenn Close.  Ben Brantley of the New York Times said that “Ms. Close is even better than when I first saw her — more fragile and more frightening, more seriously comic and tragic.”

sunset times

The play is set to close on June 25, 2017 and tickets are selling rapidly.

You can purchase tickets on their website or by calling the Paramount Box Office 877/250-2929

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On a non-theatre subject, we received a stock market prediction by market analysist David Stockman that a big stock market crash would be starting this Wednesday, March 15th.

What a jolly week!  Let’s hope he is totally wrong!

Best regards—and stay warm!

Philip and Marilyn

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Bette & Joan.

Dear Friends,

Last week on television we watched a fantastic movie, What Happened to Baby Jane?.  As I think we all tend to do as time passes by, we forget just how good something is until we happen upon it once again.

It stars two of the most renowned actresses: Joan Crawford and Bette Davis.  Their on-and-off stage acrimony, has them permanently linked even after all these years.

In fact, their fighting was so famous that their story is now the feature of FX’s series “Feud: Bette and Joan,” starring Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange as the iconic stars Davis and Crawford respectively.

According to Ryan Murphy (creator/writer/director), “what was really interesting to explore was what a tragedy the last 15 years was in the lives of these women, and how they deserved so much more.”

feud

 

The show focuses on more than just the glamour of these two glamourous stars of the big screen, but the trials and tribulations of what it means to get older as a woman in Hollywood—something their modern counterparts say is all too familiar.

“Feud” airs Sunday nights at 10pm on FX.  You can read more about it at the New York Times and you can watch it online here.

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

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Close on Broadway!

Dear Friends,

Today we are writing to tell you about a thrilling–possibly the most thrilling–thing that happens in the theatre:

It is very occasionally getting to see great actors/actresses perform live.

New York now has, gloriously, that chance, as Glenn Close–one of the world’s greatest actresses–is currently starring in Sunset Boulevard at the Palace Theatre.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see this phenomenal actress perform.  Sunset Boulevard is playing now through May 28th.

glenn-close

Click on the picture for show times and to purchase tickets.

Enjoy!

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

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