The opening night of Plaza Suite, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, drew an illustrious crowd that included everyone from Hollywood heavy-hitters to fixtures of the Great White Way—there was even Mayor Eric Adams in attendance. In fact, Tony Award-winning Laura Linney quipped at just how star-studded the room was at the Hudson Theater. There was Lily Allen, Darren Criss, Martin Short, Victor Garber, Tom Sturridge, Ashley Park, and many of Parker’s onscreen and real-life BFFs, like Andy Cohen, Cynthia Nixon, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Sarita Choudhury, who many will recognize as her co-star in HBO’s And Just Like That.
The revival, written by the legendary playwright and four-time Tony-winner Neil Simon, sees three romantic pairs, all masterfully played by Broderick and Parker. Each couple in the play (which jumps around in time) is a guest occupying Suite 719 at the Plaza Hotel between the mid-to-late-sixties. There’s Karen and Sam, an old married couple celebrating their 23rd or 24th anniversary (neither of them can agree as to which it really is). Not long after room service has arrived, a shocking revelation may mean their relationship is headed for an early checkout. Next comes Muriel and Jesse, former high-school sweethearts who reunite after 17 years. When Jesse, now a hotshot Hollywood producer, finds that Muriel is still his biggest fan, the former flames seem destined for an extended stay. And the final duo is Norma and Roy, a mother and father of the bride, who are ready to celebrate their daughter’s wedding—if only they can get her out of the bathroom, where she locks herself mere moments before walking down the aisle.
“[Matthew and I] both think it’s a really special piece,” Parker said, “and the first couple I have a particular affection for.”
“It’s beautiful and funny, but also heartbreaking and some of Neil’s best work. I love it.” As Parker shared, Broderick’s first Broadway play was a Neil Simon production, Brighton Beach Memoirs, and his first movie, Max Dugan Returns, was also a Neil Simon script, so sharing the stage with her husband in Plaza Suite felt all the more close to the couple’s hearts. “[Matthew] knows the voice, he knows its history, and he knows its jokes,” Parker said. “And so it’s hugely helpful to work with somebody who is inarguably one of the great Neil Simon interpreters.”
As director John Benjamin Hickey told reporters, the play is a love letter to New York City. According to Parker, “[set designer John Lee] Beatty always says the Plaza is a Champagne experience…It’s reflected in the play, our respect for an iconic building, the magic of a dream, and the promise that it holds.” The suite, impeccably designed by Beatty, is a French rococo painting come to life, while the period-perfect costumes by Jane Greenwood are a visual treat for the eyes.
Meanwhile, Parker dressed for the opening night red carpet in a look fit for a gala at the Plaza’s Palm Court. The custom Prabal Gurung confection was inspired by a dress worn by Diahann Carroll in 1968, which seemed fitting as this is in the same decade in which the play is set. A gossamer-thin tulle overlay hand-embroidered with silver metallic crystals, sequins, and beads was sheer enough to let a silk crepe back satin dress—in what Gurung called “New York Pink”—shine through. The designer matched the look to a pastel suit in the same shade. At the lapel, Gurung pinned an oversize flower in a nod to Carrie Bradshaw. Consider it the Sarah Jessica Parker–approved version of opening night roses.
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