This weekend we received some incredibly sad new in the theatre community: the death of one of America’s most prolific and beloved playwrights, Neil Simon. Simon mixed humor with humanity, honesty with insanity, and always connected with the individual in each of us. Many of his plays remain well-regarded in theatre circles the world over. Titles such as Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, Chapter Two, The Star-Spangled Girl, Plaza Suite, The Gingerbread Lady, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, The Sunshine Boys, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, Broadway Bound, and Rumorscontinue to be as poignant and funny as they were when they were first written. Simon won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1991 play Lost in Yonkers.
Though often celebrated first as a playwright, Simon was also an adept collaborator when writing books for Broadway musicals. Over the years, he was responsible for the librettos behind a handful of musicals, meeting varying degrees of success for his efforts. Here is a stroll down memory lane, taking a look at the musicals for which Simon provided the book.