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

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Only One More Day…

Dear Friends,

We hope that you are enjoying your weekend.  We just wanted to take a moment to remind you about the Tony Awards, hosted by Kevin Spacey, tomorrow night (Sunday).

They will be aired on CBS, starting at 8pm Eastern Time.
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We’ve listed the main nominees in our Newsletter a couple of weeks ago (click here to read!) or you can click here to see all the nominees.

We can’t wait!

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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Michael Moore on Broadway

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago with shared with you the glorious news of Michael Moore coming to Broadway with his play The Terms of My Surrender.  Click here for a copy of that article.

We just wanted to remind you that previews start on July 28th.  We know that it is still 2 months away, but we are urging you to get your tickets now, because it is only running for 12 weeks and you definitely do not want to miss this production.

terms of surrender

We feel it is so violently important and brilliant for this play to be addressing the political environment in which we are currently living.

We cannot wait for this play to debut!  You can get tickets by clicking on this link.

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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Booming Broadway

Dear Friends,

A few days ago the New York Times had a great article about the rising price of Broadway tickets.  Since we’ve broached this subject before (click here to read), we wanted to share this article with you.

According to the article:

The Broadway season that ended on Sunday was one for the record books. Box-office grosses, which have been climbing since 2013, rose 5.5 percent, to $1.449 billion, a new high, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Broadway League, an industry trade group.

The article gives credit to a combination of factors, namely hit shows like Hamilton, who are sold out months in advance, and shows with big star power like Glen Close and Bette Milder.

One way in New York

The average ticket price is currently $109.00 and while some worry that these rising prices will scare off new theatre goers, producers assert that the higher prices are a way to recapture money going to the scalpers.

Of course, the Times points out, there are options for purchasing last minute tickets at discounted rates such as websites like TodayTix, which offers a large selection of discounted Broadway tickets for both musicals and plays (alas, not for Hamilton!). A great option for many of us who love the theatre, but don’t have a spare $500 to spend!

To read the full article, click here.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about rising prices and your favorite ways to get discounted tickets!

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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The Tony Awards!

Dear Friends,

In just a few short weeks will be the night that Broadway lives for:

The Tony Awards

This year will be hosted by Kevin Spacey and we cannot wait!  It will be aired on Sunday, June 11th at 8pm Eastern Standard time on CBS.

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Here are the top nominees in plays and musicals this year (click on the shows to see their websites):

Best Play 
A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath
Indecent by Paula Vogel
Oslo by J.T. Rogers
Sweat by Lynn Nottage

Best Musical
Come From Away  
Dear Evan Hansen 
Groundhog Day The Musical 
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play 
Denis Arndt, Heisenberg 
Chris Cooper, A Doll’s House, Part 2 
Corey Hawkins, John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation 
Kevin Kline, Present Laughter 
Jefferson Mays, Oslo 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play 
Cate Blanchett, The Present 
Jennifer Ehle, Oslo 
Sally Field, The Glass Menagerie 
Laura Linney, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes 
Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical 
Christian Borle, Falsettos 
Josh Groban, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Andy Karl, Groundhog Day The Musical 
David Hyde Pierce, Hello, Dolly! 
Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical 
Denée Benton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 
Christine Ebersole, War Paint 
Patti LuPone, War Paint 
Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly! 
Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon 

It appears Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 lead the nominations with 12, followed closely by Hello Dolly! with 10 nominations and Dear Evan Hansen with 9 nominations.  For more nominees and to read more about this year’s Tony Awards, click here!

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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A Couple of Reviews

Dear Friends,

Today we are sending you couple of reviews of the musical we recently told you about, Marry Harry, which is currently playing at the York Theatre (619 Lexington Ave—between 53rd and 54th Streets / phone: 212.935.5824) until May 21st.
marry harry times
For the New York Times review, click here.
MARRY-HARRY-zeal
Click here to read the ZealNYC review.

Both reviews tell you what a charming show it is and we hope that you will be able to see it.

For tickets and information, click here.

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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The Terms

Dear Friends,

Last week on television, film maker Michael Moore announced a marvelous happening—he is coming to Broadway with his play, The Terms of My Surrender.  According to Moore:

it’s a humorous comedy about a country that just elected a madman as president.

The play, which Moore says is “simultaneously entertaining and infuriating,” will run for 12 weeks at the Belasco Theatre, with previews starting July 28th. To purchase tickets click here.
terms of surrender
We think this is brilliant and cannot wait to go see it!  As we have said in a few past articles (Power of Theatre and President Trump), we believe one of theatre’s biggest responsibilities is to speak out about the political culture of our time.

Thank you Michael Moore—we know that it will be a huge success!

And before we go, we’d like to leave you with a great quote from Arthur Miller:
arthur-miller
Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn Langner
The Theatre Guild

PS—to read more about this play, you can click here to see an article from the New York Times.

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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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