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Jimmy Nederlander's Endless Run

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"Oh, God," Charlene says. She leaves the room.

Jimmy reads the paper in silence for a while. Eventually, Lane stands and says, "So, Jimmy?" No answer.

Charlene walks by the doorway and mouths the words "Is Stewart still in there?"

He is.

"Dammit," she whispers, waving her fists in the air.

Another day in the life of Jimmy Nederlander, another day of family and colleagues behaving like suitors and putting up with one another because in the end, they just want to keep the old man happy. It's not at all clear that any of his survivors will be fit to run the business when he's gone. "It may seem like a simple operation, but Jimmy did something right to build it, by virtue of his charm, and his instincts," says John Breglio, a theater attorney who has executed many deals with the Nederlanders.

Liz McCann, in lace-ups and a dress blouse, reading glasses on a cord around her neck, stops by to talk about future projects. Jimmy has just finished a meeting with the producer Tom Viertel, who wants funding for a workshop. It's an adaptation of the Jack Finney book Time and Again, written by Viertel's brother, Jack. Jimmy says yes to $60,000 as soon as Viertel says the Nederlanders can have the booking.

"What do you think of getting Lauren Bacall and Jack Lemmon for Same Time Next Year?" McCann says.

"Fine if you put in some Viagra jokes," says Jimmy Jr. He leaves to take a call.

"Jimmy's always had a good relationship with her," McCann says. "Usually he says about talent, 'Send 'em flowers and tell 'em to go away.' But Jimmy likes her. Right, Jimmy?"

"That's right," Jimmy Sr. says.

"Jimmy's always been drawn to strong women," McCann says.

Ray Lussa, one of Jimmy's best friends, enters -- his daily visit. He has a Brooklyn accent and wears a worsted suit over a V-neck sweater. They met when Lussa owned a company that sold theater merchandise and printed programs.

"Uh-oh, here comes easy money," McCann says. "Stevedore Lussa."

"This guy's the largest shareholder in AT&T, and we still can't get him to put up $5,000 for a show," Jimmy says.


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