45 Seconds from Broadway

45 Seconds from Broadway

45 Seconds from Broadway is a play by Neil Simon, his thirty-third.

The title refers to the amount of time it takes to walk to Broadway from the play's setting, a coffee shop inspired by the one located off the lobby of midtown-Manhattan's tourist-class Edison Hotel, a long-time watering hole for struggling actors, aspiring writers, standup comics, and suburban matinee ladies. Holding center stage is Jackie Mason-like comedian Mickey Fox, surrounded by an eclectic cast of characters including the dining spot's proprietor and his wife, an upscale society dame (in search of an intricately double-brewed cup of tea served in fine china on white linen) and her nearly mute husband, a British impresario, a Broadway ingenue, and a South African playwright. Simon's typical one-liners fly fast and furiously throughout the comic first act; his play takes a more serious turn worthy of an Arthur Miller drama in Act II when Mickey's older brother pleads with him to help his son become the comedian he desperately wants to be.

After thirty-one previews, the play - directed by Jerry Zaks - opened on November 11, 2001 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, where it limped along for only 73 performances, making it one of Simon's least successful efforts. The opening night cast included Lewis J. Stadlen, Rebecca Schull, Louis Zorich, David Margulies, and Marian Seldes, whose performance as the wealthy theatergoer clearly out of her usual element won raves from the critics.

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