Back in those days, larger-than-life giants roamed The Street, with names like Simon, Nichols and Merrick. The latter two remained imposing to their last days. Even when ravaged by illness, they were still commanding; if you happened to see either at the theatre–both continued attending shows, as that’s what they loved–you knew they were there. Fans and friends would congregate around Nichols, or shrink away from Merrick, but they were never shunted into the corner unnoticed and ignored. Which left me stunned that night at the Rodgers, home of Simon’s Pulitzer-winner Lost in Yonkers (along with a couple of other Simon plays). The playwright, while nearing eighty-five at the time, still looked like Neil Simon, with the sunny open face and the ever-present glasses; but nobody at all noticed him standing there, just Manny and me.
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