Tag Archives: actors

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.


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


Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

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Dear Friends,

It is with heavy hearts that we share with you the passing of Patrice Munsel.  Patrice was one of the musical theatre greats, a dear friend, and a wonderful person.

patrice munsel 1

Patrice is—still to this day—the youngest star ever at the Metropolitan Opera, debuting when she was just 18 years old.  She later ventured into musical theatre, movies, and television.

patrice munsel 2

Patrice came on many of our theatre cruises.  We always loved it when she came along, as she was such a delightful and entertaining person!  We will miss her greatly.

To read her obituary in the New York Times, please click here.

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn


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More About Marlene…


marlene dietrich 2

We recently wrote about Marlene Dietrich’s 1930 film, Blue Angel, which we urged you to see. So interesting!

And today I’m telling you about Marlene, whom I got to know quite well during the filming of JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG, a manuscript I found and became one of its film producers.

During the course of the 12 weeks shooting of the film in Hollywood I spent every morning with Marlene in her dressing room talking and wiling/ away the hours waiting for her to be called.

And this is what is so surprising: Marlene’s thinking was totally antithetical to her glamorous image.

If you watch Blue Angel, you will see the real Marlene. She wanted no part of glamour. You see her as a down to earth regular woman, spending no time on makeup, dresses, and other fashion activities. I would say she wanted to be respected for her thoughts and actions.

So…when she was chosen out of hundreds of actresses to go to Hollywood and star in Morocco with Gary Cooper (1930), she had no idea she would turn into one of the two most glamorous stars ever seen on screen – the other being Greta Garbo.

It’s so ironic that the most sexy and gorgeous star was totally against her image. As we spent many mornings in her dressing room she wanted to talk about regular things, average happenings in the newspaper, or, indeed, the difficulties of the human race.

She was very interested in helping the poor, and spent much time writing letters and working to help people she knew, or who wrote to her about their problems

If aspects of her film persona came up, she would ridicule her costume requirements. And yet she was a total expert. She chose or created every aspect of her inimitable attire. She created Marlene Dietrich, The Glamor Queen of All Time.

Marlene Dietrich was a wonderful, lovely, caring person, and a great actress, but never wanting to be what the Hollywood image makers had decried for her.

Philip Langner

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A Play for A Season

I came across a fascinating aspect of theatre in the earlier days in New York (when the Theatre Guild first began).

I was reading about the different great theatrical people who worked with the Theatre Guild from 1920-1960.  An amazing finding was that Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne—undoubtedly the two greatest stage stars we’ve had in America—actually played every single season for the Theatre Guild for a quarter of a century.  So the situation perhaps became “what play should we get for the Lunts to do this year?” and, as such, from 1924 to 1949 they would perform a new play each and every season: 25 in all!

Of course, their acting in these plays guaranteed that these plays would succeed artistically and financially—the plays always ran long enough to pay back their production costs—usually within one season!  As Ring Lardner once said: “if you want to pack ‘em out front, hire Fontanne and Lunt!”

Lunt and Fontaine

Theatre today is such a different matter.  Because of the continually rising costs of production, plays now try to run as long as they can and certainly some of the most successful have seen decades on Broadway.  Our own play, FDR, is currently in its 5th season of touring the U.S. with hopefully years to continue.  This difference makes it harder and harder to hold on to actors, who want to move to the next step in their career.

A very interesting change in theatre today!

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