Passing Stages: How Neil Simon Started His Career

Passing Stages: How Neil Simon Started His Career PASSING STAGES -- September 1996

PASSING STAGES -- September 1996

SIMON SAYS: Neil Simon has written his autobiography. His memoir is called Rewrites (Simon &;Schuster), and as expected, it's full of laughs. But it also has its touching and serious moments. One of his most vivid recollections is of the opening night in Philadelphia of his first Broadway-bound play, Come Blow Your Horn.

"How about an opening night when a man in the balcony dies in the first act?" he asks. That's exactly what happened. A man named Harry died of a heart attack in the theatre's lounge without disrupting the play. After the performance an associate consoled Simon with these words:
"Tally the scorecard. One career started, one life ended. Theatre, like life itself, follows the ritual of evolution. Birth, life, death, birth.

PATRICK STEWART FANS: Patrick Stewart, recently on Broadway in the lauded revival of The Tempest, has his own library: the Patrick Stewart Research Library at 424 Higbie Lane, West Islip, N.Y. Dedicated to theatre arts, education and Stewart's career, the library is an independent not-for-profit organization containing photographs, theatrical memorabilia, newspaper clippings, and video and audio tapes of Stewart's work in stage, screen, TV and radio. Visits are by appointment only. Call: (516) 661-5660.

--By Louis Botto