Langner, Lawrence

Langner, Lawrence
   A native of Wales, Lawrence Langner worked in London theatre and as a patent lawyer before coming to the United States in 1911. Once established in the legal profession, Langner reignited his theatrical interests by becoming one of the founders of the Washington Square Players in 1914. For the Players, he wrote plays including The Red Cloak (1916), Another Way Out (1916), and The Family Exit (1917). Most of his later plays were unsuccessful, with the exceptions of Henry-Behave (1926) and The Pursuit of Happiness* (1933), the last of which was written under his pseudonym (Alan Child) and had a long run. Lang-ner also adapted the libretto of Champagne, Sec* (1933).
   Langner worked with the Washington Square Players until it disbanded in 1917. He then became one of the founders of the Theatre Guild in 1918, comanaging with Theresa Helburn during its most productive period. He is credited with supervising as many as 200 Guild productions. Following the popular success of the Guild's second production, John Ferguson (1919), Langner pushed for more European works, including plays by Ernst Toller, Georg Kaiser, Ferenc Molnâr, Luigi Pirandello, and particularly George Bernard Shaw, whose Heartbreak House (1919), Back to Methuselah (1921), and St. Joan (1923) were prestige triumphs for the Guild. Langner admired the plays of Eugene O'Neill and prevailed upon the Guild to present O'Neill's Strange Interlude (1928), which won a Pulitzer Prize. In collaboration with his wife, Armina Marshall,* Langner built the Westport Country Playhouse* in 1931, established a company there, and he founded the American* Shakespeare Festival* at Stratford, Connecticut, in the 1950s.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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