Tag Archives: Broadway history

Actors’ Strike of 1919

Dear Friends,

Today we’d like to tell you about an exciting Theatre Guild happening that took place on Broadway in 1919.

Actors’ Equity Association was formed by Broadway actors in 1913. After they were formed, they started approaching theatrical producers  to arrange contracts for their actors with each of them. The producers and Equity were not able to come to an agreement–with one notable exception–and in 1919 the Broadway actors decided to strike.

Happily The Theatre Guild was that one notable exception who chose to recognize Actors’ Equity and agree to a contract. The result was that The Theatre Guild was the only producer with a play running on Broadway during the strike.

The play was John Ferguson running at the Fulton Theatre on 46th Street, and it became a huge sell-out lasting for six months!

According to my father, Lawrence, “I was looking for a play for us to produce and I picked a book off the shelf—little thinking that I held the future of the new Theatre Guild in my hand! It was just the play we were looking for! My fellow Board members were all as excited about the play as I was and we decided to produce it at once.”

Wasn’t it fortuitous that The Guild had a sensible reaction to actors on Broadway wanting to have a union, and what a happy result!

Best wishes,
Philip & Marilyn Langner

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The Secret Life of the American Musical

Dear Friends,

We wanted to tell you today about a wonderful book that we’ve read about in The Washington Post.

The book is called THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN MUSICAL: How Broadway Shows Are Built by Jack Vietal.

secret life of american musical

According to The Post:

Viertel offers such examples throughout, making related but different points. His close analysis of craft doubles nicely as an account of the American musical’s evolution over the past century.

We know Jack—and have worked with him on plays in the past.  His backstage anecdotes are what really bring this book to life!

It is currently on sale at Amazon.  If you love Broadway musicals or Broadway history, then we think that this is a book you will absolutely love!

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn Langner

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