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Neil Simon's The Good Doctor


May 2, 2011 - May 15, 2011

curated by
Laurie Rizzo

Click any image to enlarge, as well as to see the title page and first page of each script.

The Good Doctor. First Draft, Spring 1973.
The Good Doctor.
Final Draft, November 23, 1973.
The Good Doctor.
Screenplay, 1978.

Renowned American playwright Neil Simon is best known for his commercially successful comedies, such as The Odd Couple (1965) and Biloxi Blues (1985), among many others. Simon began writing The Good Doctor in the summer of 1972 after reading a collection of short stories written by Russian playwright, Anton Chekhov (1860-1904). Chekhov worked his way through medical school by selling his short stories and humorous articles to local newspapers. Inspired by Chekhov’s humor and wit, Simon put together The Good Doctor, which, in contrast to his usual narrative style, is comprised of a series of skits strung together in between by a central character known only as, “The Writer.” The title of the play refers to both Chekhov’s profession and Simon’s childhood nickname, “Doc.” The character of The Writer is presumably a combination of both Chekhov and Simon.

Opening at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre on Broadway on November 27, 1973, The Good Doctor ran for 208 performances. The University of Delaware’s Resident Ensemble Players production of The Good Doctor opened on March 31 and closes May 14, 2011.

In this exhibition, three versions of the script from from the University of Delaware Library Special Collections' Richard Hoffman — Neil Simon collection are on display: a first draft dated “Spring of 1973,” a final draft dated November 27, 1973, and an undated copy of the screenplay which was produced by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1978 starring Edward Asner, Richard Chamberlain and Marsha Mason.

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