Neil Simon doesn’t have the gravitas of some other playwrights, such as Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams. Those who write comedies seldom do. But in many ways, writing humor is even more challenging than drama – and Neil Simon may be the foremost author of comic plays in American history.
Simon got his chops writing for television. He wrote for two of the most popular shows in the 1950s, Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows and Sergeant Bilko. He received Emmy Awards for each show. Then in 1961, his first play for Broadway opened (Come Blow Your Horn), starting a career that has seen him garner 17 Tony Award nominations, and four Best Screenplay Academy Award nominations.
Even if you haven’t seen Simon’s plays actually performed, you’re bound to know their names since they’re so well known. They include: Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, The Sunshine Boys, Biloxi Blues, Sweet Charity, Plaza Suite, Brighton Beach Memories, Biloxi Blues, The Goodbye Girl, and Lost in Yonkers (for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1991.
Neil Simon is the only playwright to have four shows running concurrently on Broadway: Sweet Charity, The Star-Spangled Girl, The Odd Couple, and Barefoot in the Park…