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“The audience filed in for our first preview the following night. There was a buzz of anticipation heard in the theater lobby like the drone of bees. I would have to brace myself not to expect too much from this audience, who were no doubt expecting another comedy. After all, the last time I did a play with Maureen Stapleton was the highly successful Plaza Suite. The young ushers and usherettes, all no older than high school students, trying to make an extra five or ten dollars for the night, were looking forward to watching the play themselves from the back of the house. They were standing in my territory since I was too nervous to sit anywhere. The houselights dimmed and the curtain went up on Evy Meara’s seedy apartment. Already there before her was Jimmy, the actor, and her friend Toby, so beautiful, she had to keep checking herself in the mirror lest a flaw—however minor—might appear. They are there with gifts, awaiting Evy’s return from a six-week stay in a Connecticut sanitarium, recovering from alcohol addiction. The door finally opens and in comes Evy with her cheap suitcase and an armful of books and magazines. Then she puts them down, opens her old mink coat, a relic from better days, to reveal her new slimmed-down body, smiles, and says, “All right, say it. I’m fucking gorgeous, right?””— Neil Simon, Rewrites
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