Tag Archives: Westport Playhouse

New England Summer (Theatre)

Dear Friends,

As we mentioned last week, the Summer Theatre season kicks off this month and if you’re traveling in New England this summer, New England Today has put together a list of Summer Playhouses and Theatres.

westport

Whether you’re traveling in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, or touring through all the New England states, there are recommendations to keep you busy all summer long!

Click here to view the article and information on each Playhouse/Theatre.

We spent years running the Westport playhouse and we just love, love, love Summer Theatre!

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

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Dreaming Of Warmer Days To Come!

Dear Friends,

 

As we are preparing to hunker down in the impending Thursday snowstorm, we thought it would be a great time to share with you that tickets are now on sale for the 2017 season at the Westport Playhouse, which will be starting its season at the end of May featuring the play Lettice & Lovage by Peter Shaffer.

wp-2017-season-header

 

To order your season tickets for The Playhouse, or see this year’s set of plays, please click here http://www.westportplayhouse.org/2017-season

 

And we hope if you are in the path of this storm that you stay safe and warm!

 

Best regards,

 

Philip & Marilyn

 

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An American Theatre

Dear Friends,

Today we want to tell you about a book that we absolutely love!

It’s called An American Theatre: The Story of the Westport Country Playhouse by Richard Somerset-Ward.  It has a forward by Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman.

american theatre book

We are absolutely amazed by this book because it has thousands of details about the Westport Country Playhouse.  We cannot imagine how anyone could have found so many events that happened over a 70-year period!  It even tells a story about how one certain Philip Langner forgot his lines in The Girl of the Golden West, which starred June Havoc!

While we certainly have an emotional tie to the Westport Country Playhouse, we think that anyone interested in theatre or theatre history will appreciate how detailed this book is about the story of summer theatre from the second oldest summer playhouse in the country.

You can order your copy from Amazon.

Westport was wonderful—the most fun we’ve ever had!

Also if you’re interested in visiting the Playhouse this summer, here is their list of shows:

The Invisible Hand (July 19-August 6)

What the Butler Saw (August 23-Sepember 10)

Camelot (October 4-10)

Click here to order tickets!

Happy summer theatre-ing!

Philip & Marilyn Langner

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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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Westport Playhouse

Dear Friends,

Last weekend a friend of ours took a trip to Cape Cod.  Along the way, she saw the signs for the Westport Playhouse—and mentioned it to us, knowing that we ran the Playhouse for many years.

westport

This, of course, brings to mind that it’s Spring!, and their new season will starting soon!  We wanted to urge those of you who live in Connecticut (or willing to make the drive to  this picturesque town!) that now is the best time to purchase season tickets to this amazing and historical playhouse—or know what this season’s plays are.

On the line-up for the 2016 season is:

Art/Red in Repertory (May 3-29)

Buyer and Cellar (June 14—July 3)

The Invisible Hand (July 19—August 6)

What the Butler Saw (August 23—September 10)

Camelot (October 4-30)

There are several options available for ordering season tickets.  To read more about each play or order tickets, go here.

Best regards,

Philip and Marilyn Langner

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Save The Date For The Cape!

We greatly admire The Cape Playhouse in Dennis, Massachusetts, which opened in 1927—the very first summer playhouse! We at the Theatre Guild followed their arrival in 1931 with the opening of the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, Connecticut. Through the years we have produced many plays together, and have served on many summer playhouse councils together. They are a great example of American Theatre at its best!

In the 1920s, founder Raymond Moore wanted to create a summer theatre close to Boston and the more affluent Cape communities. He purchased 3 ½ acres of land fronting the Old King’s Highway in Dennis and found the abandoned 19th century Nobscussett meetinghouse located in another part of Dennis.Amazingly, Moore had the large meetinghouse hauled down the road and placed on its present site.

Before air conditioning, New York was unbearable in the summer. The theatres would close and people escaped the heat by traveling to the coastal resorts. By offering actors the prospect of paid summer work in a professional theatre, away from the heat of New York City, Moore convinced the big name stars to come perform at the new theatre.                                                         [from The Cape Playhouse website]

The Cape Playhouse is having a party celebrating their anniversary on August 16, 2015 from 6-8pm. If you live near or are visiting the Cape and would like to attend the event, click on the invitation below!
You can read more about The Cape Playhouse history on their website.

cape cod save the date

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John C. Wilson

Today an incredible thing has happened to us.

We have been sent a preliminary copy of a wonderful book—a biography of John C. Wilson, who was our partner in the Westport Country Playhouse for 15 years. In that time, we came to know him very well. His house was in Fairfield, near The Playhouse.

This book tells all about the Golden Age of the Theatre. Jack Wilson was the great friend of ALL the most famous legends of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s—Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Noel Coward, Alfred Lunt, Lynn Fontanne, Cole Porter, Philip Barry, Lorette Taylor, Binkie Beaumont, Lilian Gish, Bea Lillie, Tallulah Bankhead, Gertrude Lawrence, Gypsy Rose Lee, and more! He directed many famous plays on Broadway—including some for The Theatre Guild.

We have been asked to review the book and make suggestions about it, which we are doing now.
A description of the book is below. We think it is one of the best books on the American Theatre. It is scheduled for an October release –we will let you know when it is available!

john c wilson

Noel, Tallulah, Cole, and Me
A Memoir of Broadway’s Golden Age
JOHN C. WILSON – WITH THOMAS S. HISCHAK AND JACK MACAULEY

An important figure during the golden age of Broadway, John C. Wilson staged such famous productions as Kiss Me Kate and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. He also worked with many of the greatest actors, playwrights, producers, and other artists from the 1920s through the 1950s, including Alfred Lunt, Lynn Fontanne, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Carol Channing, and Tennessee Williams. In his twenties, Wilson met Noel Coward and became both his lover and manager. Despite Wilson’s marriage to Russian princess Natalie Paley in 1937, he remained close friends with Coward until John’s death in 1961.

In Noel, Tallulah, Cole, and Me: A Memoir of Broadway’s Golden Age, producer-director Wilson provides an eye witness account of a never-to-be-seen-again period in American theatre and culture. The narrative covers Wilson’s youth, his education at Yale, his experience working in silent films, and details of his professional and personal relationship with Coward. Wilson also recounts his theatrical career on Broadway and in London, his marriage to Paley, and life within international high society. The people Wilson befriended—Tallulah Bankhead, Cecil Beaton, Claudette Colbert, Cole Porter, and Richard Rodgers, among others—are described with affection, candor, and colorful panache. Wilson also shares behind-the-scenes stories about such landmark theatre productions asPrivate Lives, Blithe Spirit, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Kiss Me, Kate.

Completed in 1958, just three years before his death, Wilson’s autobiography sat idle for decades. Wilson’s great nephew Jack Macauley and theatre historian Thomas Hischak have edited the original manuscript and added commentary to help guide the reader through the myriad names and productions that are mentioned. From his long-term relationship with Coward to his enduring marriage to Paley, Wilson’s life was as charmed as it was celebrated. Featuring nearly forty photos,Noel, Tallulah, Cole, and Me is an engaging account of one of the most important periods in Broadway’s history, as well as a fascinating look into the lives of the glamorous men and women of the era.

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 288 • Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-5572-2 • Hardback • October 2015 • $65.00 • (£44.95)
978-1-4422-5573-9 • eBook • October 2015 • $64.99 • (£44.95) (coming soon)
Subjects: Performing Arts / Theater / Direction & Production, Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts, Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs, Performing Arts / Theater/ Biography

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As You Like It, Westport Playhouse 1931

This is a great picture of my mother, Armina Langner, and Romney Brent in a press photo for As You Like It at the Westport Playhouse in 1931.

as you like it

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