Tag Archives: Lawrence Langner

Prince on Broadway

Dear Friends,

In December we posted the news about our recommendation for this week in our Summer Series: Prince of Broadway.  It is currently in previews and will open August 24th.

It is a musical that celebrates the career of Broadway legend, and our dear friend, Harold Prince.

In fact, when we wrote Hal to wish him the best of success, he very kindly replied that he considers himself “a continuum of everything Lawrence and Armina Langner gave to the theatre. They were my idols and I remember them not only for their extraordinary accomplishments, but their generosity. As a kid, they always made me feel welcomed and encouraged me.”

Over the span of his career, Hal has received 21 Tony Awards, a Kennedy Center Honor, and a National Medal of the Arts from President Clinton.  His long list of productions have helped shape Broadway with shows such as Fiddler on The Roof, Damn Yankees, West Side Story, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sweeney Todd, Evita, The Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, Follies, A Little Night Music, and Show Boat to name a few!
hal-prince
This is one show you absolutely do not want to miss!  Click here to order tickets or to learn more.

We are so happy for Hal—and wish him the best of success for this exciting show.

Best regards,
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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To The Bard!

Dear Friends,

As April 23rd approaches, there are many celebrations for the 400th Anniversary of William Shakespeare’s life!  As a tribute, Channel 13 (aka PBS) is honoring his work!  He was such an instrumental and important person, both in terms of literature and theatre…and well, so many other things.

We at the Theatre Guild are so proud of our founder, Lawrence Langner, creating The American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, CT.  While it is currently not open, many lovely plays were showcased there—such as The Merchant of Venice and Much Ado About Nothing, both starring Katharine Hepburn.  And my (Philip) mother played in As You Like It at Westport Playhouse—so one could say that Shakespeare runs deep in the family roots!

No writer is more celebrated than The Bard and if you need any reasons why, just check out some of the Shakespeare inspired and/or written shows Channel 13 will be presenting over the next 10 days!

The 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death is being observed throughout the world in April 2016 with celebrations of the great English playwright and poet (April 1564 – April 23, 1616) and his many works. THIRTEEN celebrates with the premiere of Shakespeare’s Tomb, a new documentary about Shakespeare’s final resting place in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and encores of favorite broadcasts. See the six installments of Season Two of Shakespeare Uncovered (Fridays beginning April 8) and three of Shakespeare’s history-based plays in the Great Performances series “The Hollow Crown” – Richard II and Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 (April 22 & 23).

CHANNEL 13 Lineup:

Friday, April 22

  • 9-10 pm: Shakespeare Uncovered: Antony & Cleopatra with Kim Cattrall
  • 10-11 pm: Shakespeare Uncovered: Romeo & Juliet with Joseph Fiennes
  • 1:30-2 am: Theater Talk: Professor James Shapiro on Shakespeare
  • 2-4:30 am: Great Performances: The Hollow Crown: Henry IV Part 1
  • 4:30-7 am: Great Performances: The Hollow Crown: Henry IV Part 2

Saturday, April 23

  • 1-4 pm: Great Performances: The Hollow Crown: Richard II
  • 4-5 pm: Shakespeare’s Tomb

Sunday, April 24

  • 4-5 am: Shakespeare Uncovered: Antony & Cleopatra with Kim Cattrall
  • 5-6 am: Shakespeare Uncovered: Romeo & Juliet with Joseph Fiennes
  • 11:30-noon: Theater Talk: Professor James Shapiro on Shakespeare

 

Go to their website to learn more!

Best regards,

Philip & Marilyn

PS—for a bit of fun, PBS also has this quiz to see which Shakespeare character you are !

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GREAT NEWS!

GREAT NEWS!

Remember the Stratford Shakespeare Festival project we have been discussing over the last few months?

Well, it happened!  On Thursday night, March 5th, the Stratford council voted in favor of renovating and bringing back the festival

I know that my father, Lawrence (founder of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival), is looking down and so very happy right at this moment.

As his son, I’m so very grateful that I was part of this process to see the Festival restored and know that Shakespeare Theatre will continue in Stratford.

stratford 2

Here’s an article from today’s Stratford Star:

Council Picks Stratford Stage Group for Shakespeare Plans

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Oklahoma!

After we sent out the letter from the Dramatist Guild urging you to contact the U.S. Postal Service regarding a commemorative stamp, we started reminiscing and looking through our collections of first issue stamps that we just love—and of course, why we think it’s so important for these stamps to be created!

ok stamp

Of course, this is one of our favorites.  It’s kind of hard to pick A favorite, but this would be close—given our history with Oklahoma! and Rodgers & Hammerstein.  We (and by we, I mean The Theatre Guild, which at that time was under direction of Lawrence and Armina Langner and Theresa Helburn) opened Oklahoma! on Broadway March 31, 1943 at the St. James Theatre.  It ran for 5 years with over 2,212 performances—by far the most successful play of its time!

We have always loved this play—and movie!  You can watch it instantly on Amazon or to purchase it and watch it anytime, you can find it on our Amazon store!

 

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The Magic Curtain

The Magic Curtain is the autobiography of my father, Lawrence Langner, founder of The Theatre Guild. It is filled with great stories about the theatre, his life, the world as he saw it, and of course, there are tons of pictures!

We found it recently on Amazon (of course—you can find everything there!) and I thought I’d pass along the link (click on the book below), if you were interested!

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A Shakespeare Throwback

For this Throwback Thursday, I found this great picture of The Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, CT.  The festival was founded by my father, Lawrence Langner (who adored Shakespeare) in 1955. 

The theatre ran for nearly 30 years and closed in 1982.  On the 25th of September, the town of Stratford will decide its future and whether to bring back the Festival. 

A great theatre lover, David D. Reed is eagerly hoping so and a few weeks ago he hosted a wonderful celebration in the hopes that Stratford will continue the wonderful tradition of Shakespeare on his 450th Birthday!

Marilyn and I went up to Stratford for this celebration and we had such a wonderful time.  We sincerely believe that David Reed is the man who can make this glorious dream come true!

stratford 2

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