The Goodbye People
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The dramedy focuses on elderly Max Silverman, who is determined to reopen the Coney Island boardwalk hot dog stand he closed twenty-two years earlier for renovation, despite the fact he's recovering from a severe heart attack and it's the middle of February. He demands assistance from his daughter Nancy, who abandoned her husband, changed her name from Shirley, and had a nose job in an effort to assume a new and more exciting identity but has come to realize it takes more than a $4,000 rhinoplasty to erase the past. Into their lives arrives neurotic Arthur Korman, who comes to the beach to watch the sunrise and forget he despises his career choice and inability to quit a job he hates. With the help of each other, the trio manages to jump start their individual dreams before tragedy intercedes.
After sixteen previews, the Broadway production, directed by Gardner, opened on December 3, 1968 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, where it ran for seven performances. The cast included Milton Berle as Max, Brenda Vaccaro as Nancy, and Bob Dishy as Arthur, with Tony Lo Bianco as Max's attorney son Michael. Vaccaro was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.
After sixteen previews, a revival produced by Fritz Holt and directed by Jeff Bleckner opened on April 30, 1979 at the Belasco Theatre, where it ran for one performance. The cast included Herschel Bernardi as Max, Melanie Mayron as Nancy, and Ron Rifkin as Arthur, with Michael Tucker as Michael.
In 1984, Gardner adapted his play for a feature film he also directed. The cast included Martin Balsam as Max, Pamela Reed as Nancy, and Judd Hirsch as Arthur, with Tucker reprising his stage role as Michael.
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