Chapter Two (play)
|Written by||Neil Simon|
|Date premiered||October 7, 1977|
|Place premiered||Ahmanson Theatre
|Subject||A writer struggles to escape the memory of his recently deceased wife|
Chapter Two (1977 play) is a semi-autobiographical play by the director-dramatist Neil Simon about the coping of a recently widowed writer George Schneider who is introduced by his press agent brother Leo to soap opera actress Jennie Malone who is also recommended by her best friend Faye. Jennie's marriage to a football player has dissolved after six years. Both are uncertain of themselves as ready to start dating and developing a new romance when the breakup is so soon and he has recurring memories of his deceased wife.
According to Sheridan Morley, "This was in some ways the turning-point for Simon, the moment when he started to use his own life as something more than an excuse for a gag-fest. It was written as a tribute to Marsha Mason, his second wife, and her tolerance with his long-lasting grief over the death of his first wife...There is something very painful here, in among the gags, about a man trying to come to terms with death rather than a new life."
World Premiere: at the Los Angeles Ahmanson Theatre on October 7, 1977, closing November 26. Produced by Emanuel Azenberg and directed by Herbert Ross, the cast included: Judd Hirsch as George, Anita Gillette as Jennie, Cliff Gorman as Leo, and Ann Wedgeworth as Faye. The production won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards (1977-78): Distinguished Production; and Neil Simon, Distinguished Playwriting.
Opened on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre with the same Los Angeles cast, on December 4, 1977, and transferred to the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in January 1979, where it closed on December 8, 1979 after 857 performances and seven previews. Cast replacements included: David Groh, Dick Latessa, Laurence Luckinbill, Robin Strasser, and Susan Browning. Tony Awards nominations lost: Tony Award for Best Play (1978) to Da by Hugh Leonard; Anita Gillette for Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play (1978) and Cliff Gorman for Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play (1978). Ann Wedgeworth won: Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play (1978).
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert Moore|
|Produced by||Ray Stark|
|Written by||Neil Simon|
|Music by||Shinichi Yamazaki|
|Cinematography||David M. Walsh|
|Edited by||Michael A. Stevenson|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release date(s)||December 14, 1979|
Simon adapted the play (1977) for Chapter Two (1979 film) directed by Robert Moore: with James Caan and Simon's then-wife Marsha Mason, the inspiration for character "Jennie". Caan said he made the film to earn some money while preparing for Hide in Plain Sight (1980 film).
Media and Other Info
"Chapter Two" was featured in the Season 3 Episode 8 episode of Seinfeld called "The Letter" when Jerry's artist girlfriend sends him a thoughtful letter trying to get him back. Then there's a broadcast of the play on TV and Jerry realizes she copied it word for word. This causes him to question his relationship and whether he should continue it. This pleases his friend George Costanza, who had previously accidentally purchased a very expensive painting from her, for which he was not eager to pay. The artist also paints a portrait of Kramer which an elderly couple greatly appreciates and wishes to buy. Some critics say the portrait is inspired by the cinematography of Chapter Two. Meanwhile, Elaine plays hooky from work.
- Morley, Sheridan. "Choice of Plays for the In-Laws" The New York Times, February 28, 1996
- "Ahmanson Theatre production history" centertheatregroup.org
- "Ahmanson Theatre Awards" centertheatregroup.org (webcache), December 2007, accessed April 11, 2012
- " Chapter Two, Awards and nominations" Internet Broadway Database listing, accessed April 11, 2012
- Thomas, Robert McG., Jr. "Ain't Misbehavin" and Da Win Tonys", The New York Times, June 5, 1978, p.C18
- Hanks, Robert. "Neil Simon's 'Chapter Two' is not a patch on Woody Allen's Annie Hall" The Independent (London), 22 February 1996
- Movie Connections for Seinfeld, The Letter. IMDb. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
- "Chapter Two, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
- Passafiume, Andrea. Chapter Two" Turner Classic Movies, accessed April 11, 2012
- "MOVIES: FILM DIRECTING: FOR CAAN, IT'S NOT A FESTIVAL", Mann, Roderick. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 02 Nov 1980: q31.