Neil Simon, fresh off the quick success of The Dinner Party on Broadway, has a new play ready to debut in the fall. Titled 45 Seconds from Broadway and an homage to Time Square's Edison Cafe — known in theatrical circles as "The Polish Tearoom" — the comedy is looking likely to reach Broadway in mid-October and open at a Nederlander house in November. Jerry Zaks, who piloted Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, is set to direct, with Emanuel Azenberg producing.
Zaks would seem to be the right man for the job, since 45 Seconds looks to be a heartfelt comic valentine along the lines of Laughter on the 23rd Floor, which paid veiled tribute to Simon's early years writing for Sid Caesar's "Show of Shows."
As reported by the New York Times and confirmed by spokesperson Bill Evans (April 27), 42 Seconds had a reading April 24 at Off Broadway's Duke Theatre, with Marian Seldes, Joan Copeland and Lewis J. Stadlen taking part. Roz Ryan and Suburb's Alix Korey were also in the cast, but no word yet on who will continue to the next step.
The Edison Cafe, located on W. 47th Street on the ground floor of the Edison Hotel, has long been a haunt for theatre types. Little more than a fancy diner (albeit with a highly decorative ceiling), it is prized for its casual atmosphere, inexpensive prices and Matzoh ball soup. The walls are covered with theatre posters and a corner table near the front door is always reserved for high-powered lunch meetings held by the Shubert Organization.
As previously reported, the play will feature characters based on the cafe's owners, Harry and Frances Edelstein, comedian Jackie Mason, and various producers, actors, stage managers and the like. Other Simon works include Biloxi Blues, Broadway Bound, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Rumors, Come Blow Your Horn, Fools and the books for Little Me and The Goodbye Girl.