45 Seconds from Broadway
The play opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on November 11, 2001and closed on January 13, 2002 after 73 performances and 31 previews, making it one of Simon's least successful efforts.
Directed by Jerry Zaks the opening cast included Lewis J. Stadlen as Mickey Fox, Rebecca Schull as Zelda, Louis Zorich as Bernie, David Margulies, and Marian Seldes, as the wealthy theatergoer. The roles of Zelda and Bernie are based on the real-life owners of the Edison Cafe, Frances and Harry Edelstein.
The title refers to the amount of time it takes to walk to Broadway from the play's setting, a coffee shop inspired by one located off the lobby of midtown-Manhattan's Edison Hotel, a long-time diner for "theatre types...prized for its casual atmosphere, inexpensive prices and Matzoh ball soup."
Jackie Mason-like Comedian Mickey Fox is surrounded by an eclectic cast of characters, including the dining spot's proprietor and his wife, an upscale society dame (in search of an intricately double-brewed cup of tea served in fine china on white linen) and her nearly mute husband, a British impresario, a Broadway ingenue, and a South African playwright. Simon's typical one-liners fly fast and furiously throughout the comic first act; his play takes a more serious turn worthy of an Arthur Miller drama in Act II when Mickey's older brother pleads with him to help his son become the comedian he desperately wants to be.
The talkinbroadway.com reviewer noted: "it is Marian Seldes and Bill Moor, as the bizarre patrons Rayleen and Charles that walk away with the show's biggest laughs and warmest moments. Moor is superb in his ability to make only a few words - or no words at all - go a very long way. Seldes, in contrast, speaks every one of her lines with gleeful, daffy relish. Her wardrobe (William Ivey Long's best costume work in the show), including her jaw-droppingly gaudy fur coat, is outrageous, but Seldes makes it work splendidly for Rayleen. Whether asking for linen tablecloths, the most complicated tea brewing imaginable, or items you'd never expect to find on the menu, Seldes makes her compellingly lovable and impossible to resist. Seldes is the essence of dramatic and comedic perfection."
- Simon, Neil. "Contents, Credits '45 Seconds from Broadway' " 45 Seconds from Broadway (2003) (books.google), Samuel French, Inc., ISBN 0-573-62850-5, pp.2-4
- 45 Seconds from Broadway Internet Broadway Database Listing, accessed April 9, 2012
- Lefkowitz, David. Stadlen n' Seldes Are 45 Seconds from Broadway When Simon Show Starts Oct. 16" playbill.com, August 16, 2001
- Sommer, Elyse. "A CurtainUp Review. '45 Seconds From Broadway' " curtainup.com, November 12, 2001
- Murray, Matthew. "Theatre Review. '45 Seconds From Broadway ' " talkinbroadway.com, November 12, 2001