Two Neil Simon Plays Hit Winston-Salem Stage Before Broadway Runs
Award-winning playwright Neil Simon died this weekend at age 91. The prolific writer was perhaps best known for “The Odd Couple,” which went on to become a hit movie and TV show.
Two of his other plays have a connection to Winston-Salem.
“Lost in Yonkers” was another of Simon’s plays that made the leap from stage to screen. And before it ever got to Broadway, it was previewed for audiences at the Stevens Center in Winston-Salem, starting in late 1990.
The coming-of-age story set in the World War II-era went on to do well, winning a Pulitzer Prize for drama and four Tony Awards.
It ran for 780 performances on Broadway, according to the Internet Broadway Database.
In 1992, Simon’s “Jake’s Women” also premiered on the Steven’s Center stage. The story focused on a man’s conversations with the previous women in his life as he struggles with his failing marriage.
The play was not one of Simon’s bigger hits, but it did give local audiences a chance to see actor Alan Alda - star of the M*A*S*H television series - on stage. The role of Jake later earned him a Tony nomination for Best Actor.
It ran on Broadway for 245 performances.
Both plays were part of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ “Broadway Preview Series.”