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 may reach Broadway later this year, with Emanual Azenberg producing. According to the New York Post, Jerry Zaks, who piloted Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, may direct.
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."
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 Matza 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.
According to the Post, 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. An unnamed source told the New York Times (Jan. 26) that 45 Seconds could arrive in late fall.
Other Simon works include Biloxi Blues, Broadway Bound, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Come Blow Your Horn, Fools and the book for Little Me.