Townhouse once home to famed Broadway couple hits market

By Katherine Clarke | May 21, 2012 06:00PM

An Upper East Side townhouse at 50 East 64th Street, once owned by one of Broadway’s most legendary couples, has hit the market for the first time in 50 years, according to data from

The home, designed by architect John G. Prague, is owned by Tony Award-winning theater director Albert Marre. Marre lived in the home for more than 50 years with his late wife Joan Diener, who had major roles in two of Broadway’s biggest musical hits. The property is asking $8.15 million.

The seven-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom townhouse, between Madison and Park avenues, features five full floors with high ceilings, several fireplaces and a south-facing garden, according to the listing shared by Jane Restuccia of Fenwick Keats Real Estate and Matthew Pravda of Leslie J. Garfield & Co. It is currently split into two separate residences but will most likely be sold to someone who will wish to use it as a single-family residence.

The townhouse, then configured as a single home, served as a base for the two Broadway stars throughout their careers.

Diener, considered a blonde bombshell in her heyday, starred in The Original Broadway productions of “Kismet” in 1953 and “Man of La Mancha” in 1965. She met her husband, theater director Marre, while playing Lalume, wife of the evil Wazir in “Kismet,” a role later played in film by screen siren Marlene Dietrich.

Marre directed Jarry Herman’s first Broadway musical, “Milk and Honey,” which was nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Musical, and directed “Man of La Mancha,” for which he was awarded the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical. He had also been selected to direct the movie version of the narrative of the latter, which starred Peter O’Toole and Sophia Loren, before being replaced by Arthur Hiller.

Diener passed away in 2006, and with their children grown and living on their own, Marre moved, said his new wife, actress-lyricist Mimi Turque. It was then that the residence was separated into two separate homes to rent. There is currently a tenant in place until June 15 in one of the homes.

“There is evidence of at least one of their journeys that their work took them on: ancient artifacts are secured on the wall leading up to the parlor floor,” Turque said, mentioning that the par had entertained numerous theatrical luminaries at their home, including the poet, W.H. Auden.