Plaza Suite is a comedy play by Neil Simon.
|Written by||Neil Simon|
|Date premiered||February 14, 1968|
|Place premiered||Plymouth Theatre|
New York City
New York City
The play is composed of three acts, each involving different characters but all set in Suite 719 of New York City's Plaza Hotel. The first act, Visitor From Mamaroneck, introduces the audience to not-so-blissfully wedded couple Sam and Karen Nash, who are revisiting their honeymoon suite in an attempt by Karen to bring the love back into their marriage. Her plan backfires and the two become embroiled in a heated argument about whether or not Sam is having an affair with his secretary. The act ends with Sam leaving (allegedly to attend to urgent business) and Karen sadly reflecting on how much things have changed since they were young.
The second act, Visitor from Hollywood, involves a meeting between movie producer Jesse Kiplinger and his old flame, suburban housewife Muriel Tate. Muriel - aware of his reputation as a smooth-talking ladies' man - has come for nothing more than a chat between old friends, promising herself she will not stay too long. Jesse, however, has other plans in mind and repeatedly attempts to seduce her.
The third act, Visitor from Forest Hills, revolves around married couple Roy and Norma Hubley on their daughter Mimsey's wedding day. In a rush of nervousness, Mimsey has locked herself in the suite's bathroom and refuses to leave. This is the most comic of the acts, filled with increasingly outrageous slapstick moments depicting her parents' frantic attempts to cajole her into attending her wedding while the gathered guests await the trio's arrival downstairs. The scene ends and they finally get married.
Plaza Suite opened on Broadway at the Plymouth Theatre on February 14, 1968 and closed on October 3, 1970 after 1097 performances and two previews. Directed by Mike Nichols, the cast featured George C. Scott and Maureen Stapleton who appeared in each of the three acts with Bob Balaban in two acts. Clive Barnes in his review for The New York Times wrote that "after a slow start with the first, warms up with the second and ends with an all-stops-out, grandstand finish with the third." Later in the run, they were replaced by Dan Dailey, E. G. Marshall, Don Porter, Nicol Williamson, Barbara Baxley, and Peggy Cass.
The play was profiled in the William Goldman book The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway. Noël Coward, who three years earlier had written Suite in Three Keys, later said of Plaza Suite, "Such a good idea having different plays all played in a hotel suite! I wonder where Neil Simon got it from?"
Mike Nichols won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play. Neil Simon was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play but lost to Tom Stoppard for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Maureen Stapleton was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play but lost to Zoe Caldwell in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
A Broadway revival will play at the Hudson Theatre beginning in previews on March 13, 2020 and officially on April 13, following a brief pre-Broadway run at the Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston in February 2020. The production will star Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker and be directed by John Benjamin Hickey.
Simon adapted his play for a 1971 film starring Walter Matthau, Stapleton, Barbara Harris, and Lee Grant, but he was unhappy with the outcome. He felt the conceit of one actor playing the lead role in all three acts worked on stage but not on screen, especially if the actor was Matthau, who he felt was the right choice only for the beleaguered father-of-the-bride, Roy Hubley.
In 1987, Carol Burnett starred in a television movie in which she portrayed all three female roles. Starring opposite her were Hal Holbrook as Sam Nash, Dabney Coleman as Jesse Kiplinger, and Richard Crenna as Roy Hubley. Burnett was also the executive producer with direction by Roger Beatty and Kenny Solms.
- Plaza Suite at Turner Classic Movies
- Barnes, Clive. "Theater: 'Plaza Suite,' Neil Simon's Laugh Machine: 3 Farces at Plymouth Directed by Nichols Maureen Stapleton and George C. Scott Star", The New York Times, 15 Feb 1968, p.49
- Coward, Payn & Morley 2000, p. 676.
- McPhee, Ryan (September 10, 2019). "Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker to Return to Broadway Together in Neil Simon's Plaza Suite". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-09-10.
- "Plaza Suite". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
- Shirley, Don (December 3, 1987). "TV REVIEW : Carol Burnett Checks Into ABC's 'Plaza Suite,' Playing Three Roles". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles: Times-Mirror Company (1987–2000) Tribune Company (2000–14) Tronc, Inc. (2014–present). Retrieved October 9, 2016.