It's opening night at a new Broadway play. The playwright, a young man, is seated in the fifth row with his mother, father, aunt and uncle. The curtain rises, and the young man's relatives quickly realize that he has based the play on his family.
Immediately, the uncle is unhappy that he has been depicted as a drinker who can't hold down a job. The author's father tries to pacify the uncle by saying, "I'll bet in the end you turn out to be the big hero."
The uncle turns anxiously to the author and asks, "Is that what happens? Do I turn out to be the hero in the end?"
"Of course you turn out to be the hero," says the author. "In the end you perform a big, noble act that saves the entire family."
"Really?" asks the uncle. "What do I do?"
"You commit suicide," replies the author.
If all this sounds like something Woody Allen might have written early in his career, it is.
In the early '50s, the now 54-year-old Allen worked as a writer-director at Tamiment, a famous resort hotel in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains.
Two months ago, during a multimillion-dollar renovation of the hotel's main building, the script of the five-page play Opening Night, by Woody Allen, was found stashed behind some books on a shelf. According to the resort's general manager, Neil Castaldi, the play had been sitting there for at least 35 years.
One of Allen's assistants in New York City confirmed that the filmmaker-humorist did indeed write Opening Night. Hotel representatives said the play was performed once, in the early '50s, at the Tamiment Playhouse. Alas, that was the closest Opening Night ever got to Broadway.
BURKE THE GHOSTBUSTER
Speaking of authors, it's no secret that most celebrities don't write their autobiographies. Who they gonna call? Ghostwriters!
Or, in the case of Designing Women's Delta Burke, one ghostwriter after another. As we speak, a third specter is working with Burke on the autobiography that Pocket Books paid her an estimated six-figure sum to write. According to one source, Burke busted with her first ghost amid battles over the content. "Delta cared more about venting anger at her show's producers," says the source, "and less about revealing the darker side of her personal life." Another source says the second ghost was not up to the task. A representative at Pocket describes Burke's relationship with her third writing partner as "wonderful," adding that the two "are moving ahead even though the collaboration agreement has yet to be signed."
TIFFANY'S DATING GAME
In the pubescent world of teen magazines, the quickest way to provoke the ire of young readers is to romantically link one of their fave raves with someone.
Pop singer Tiffany, 19, found this out after stories appeared in a number of teen mags suggesting that she and Jonathan Knight, 21, of New Kids on the Block, had become an item. Fan reaction was swift and unforgiving. "No fan likes it when their idol is married or going steady," says one editor. "But the degree of complaints directed at Tiffany was something we'd never seen before."
Tiffany and Knight soon denied any involvement, saying they were just friends. "It made us look terrible," says the editor, "especially since they were lying." A representative of Tiffany's refused to discuss "her personal life." Knight's rep stood by his denial.