If you can't tell by now, I'm a very big admirer of Neil Simon. Not only do I think he's one of the funniest playwrights in American theater, he also writes some of the warmest and most honest plays as well.

As a result, I thought I had read every play Simon had ever written, but while looking through some new books at the library around 1980, I came across a play called Fools which I had never seen nor heard of before.

After a little research, I found the show was a rarity--a Neil Simon flop. But as I read the fable/fairy tale I found myself laughing out loud to the point of crying. It had some of the funniest story and dialogue of any of Simon's works. (NOTE: Despite its Broadway failure, Fools is one Simon's most successful plays internationally and in community theater)

There were times when I was positive a song was coming. Fables lend themselves to musicalization very easily. I went home that evening and immediately wrote "Not a Prayer" and "Sophia's Wish".

Then I put the idea away for a few years.

When I reapproached the work in 1985, I immediately set about adapting the book and finishing a score. About a year later (after working on other projects as well), I had a read-thru. One of the actors I chose was the director of theater at a nearby college.

In 1990, I approached him about doing the show. He said if I got the rights, he'd do it. I contacted Neil Simon and, through his lawyer, he very generously gave his permission to produce the show, even approving the new principal character I had added.

Another talented friend, Ed Goldfarb, did some amazing orchestrations, and a good time was had by all. Especially the author/composer.

I actually got to thank Simon personally a few years later when I saw him at San Francisco International Airport. He was very kind and was glad the show went well. And I got to meet one of my heroes.