Visit the Plaza Hotel Without Leaving Jupiter with Plaza Suite at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre

John Campagnuolo is the bellhop with Kathy McCafferty as Karen Nash in Plaza Suite at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Photo by Jeff Barry


By Britin Haller

Want a good laugh, or a few dozen? Then check into the romantic comedy Plaza Suite at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre through Feb. 25. Room service has never been more satisfying.

Producing Artistic Director Andrew Kato says “No one was better than Neil Simon in writing colorful characters for decades of audiences.” And the Maltz’s opening night production proved Kato right.

Following a two-year Broadway run that began in 1968, Plaza Suite achieved a broader recognition with the 1971 film. Plaza Suite’s return to Broadway in 2022 at the Hudson Theatre with husband and wife Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker proved the show clearly has lasting value. The Neil Simon legacy, which includes 20 movie scripts, 30-some plays and musicals, four Oscars, four Tonys and a Pulitzer, continues to entertain.

Jim Ireland as Sam Nash in Plaza Suite at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Photo by Jeff Barry

Plaza Suite is told in three vignettes with five actors portraying all the characters. Each of the adult-themed stories takes place in the same hotel suite (Room 719) in New York City’s Plaza Hotel. For those unfamiliar, the Plaza is a real place, a luxury five-star building hosting presidents, Hollywood celebrities and real-life royalty since 1907.

Steve Carroll is the room service waiter with Kathy McCafferty as Karen Nash in Plaza Suite at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Photo by Jeff Barry

Act One, aka “A Visitor from Mamaroneck,” takes place in the winter of 1968 with Sam and Karen Nash celebrating their 24th wedding anniversary, or 23rd depending on whom you believe. Karen has decided to surprise her workaholic and health-obsessed husband with a romantic evening spent in the identical room they honeymooned in all those years ago. Karen wants nothing more than to put the sizzle back into their marriage, but, unfortunately for her, everything goes wrong. Room service brings anchovies after being told not to.

Krystal Millie Valdes as Miss McCormick with Kathy McCafferty as Karen Nash in Plaza Suite at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Photo by Jeff Barry

Sam arrives late with a headache after coming from the dentist (“Do my teeth look too white to you? They don’t stain. A hundred years from now when I’m dead and buried, they’ll be the same color”). His secretary, Miss McCormack, drops in with some paperwork needing Sam’s signature. It’s a cute and funny opening act. But Act One drags sometimes to the point where pauses can be misconstrued for dropping a line, and jokes about Rose Franzblau, a buttinsky psychologist with a newspaper column from that time period, go over some heads. That eyedrop bit is very funny though.

Kathy McCafferty as Muriel Tate and Jim Ireland as Jesse Kiplinger in Plaza Suite at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Photo by Jason Nuttle

“A Visitor from Hollywood,” the title of Act Two, happens in the springtime of 1969, and involves famous Hollywood producer, Jesse Kiplinger, meeting up with his married high school crush, Muriel Tate.

Muriel lives in the suburbs with her husband and 2.5 children, is bored with the family life, and is more than obsessed with Tinsel Town. As the vodka stingers flow, the old saying “Me thinks the lady doth protest too much” becomes more than apropos. The more Jesse drops names like Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow, the more excited Muriel becomes, garnering the most laughs possible for their ludicrous, but absolutely hysterical seduction. Kudos to Silver Palm award-winning intimacy choreographer Nicole Perry.

Kathy McCafferty as Norma Hubley in Plaza Suite at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Photo by Jason Nuttle

The summer of 1969’s Act Three, “A Visitor from Forest Hills” is the pièce de resistance. Act Two is funny, but Act Three is epic. Norma and Roy Hubley are using the suite for a bridal changing area for their daughter Mimsey, who has locked herself inside the bathroom, refusing to come out. According to Roy, intended groom Borden Eisler is waiting downstairs with four musicians at $70 an hour, an open bar for 68 guests, and $200 worth of cocktail wienies getting colder by the minute. (Remember, these were high prices during the 1960s!) As the clock ticks, Norma is getting more exasperated, “If you want, next week I’ll have it annulled, but please come out and get married,” she tells her daughter through the door, as Mimsey’s father Roy tries more desperate measures. The laughs don’t stop.

Kathy McCafferty as Norma Hubley and Jim Ireland as Roy Hubley with Krystal Millie Valdes in Plaza Suite at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Photo by Jason Nuttle

The set is breathtaking, most deserving of the applause it received as the curtain went up. These accolades are not a regular occurrence in South Florida theaters. It is lovingly created by scenic designer Anne Mundell, who researched and recreated a set resembling an actual Plaza suite from the 1960’s. Stand-out details include draped curtains with tassels, wall sconces, an intricate fireplace screen, and a velvet ottoman. A backdrop offering a view of the cityscape is also reminiscent of the era.

There is a neat moment between Acts Two and Three, where behind the scrim one could see the uniformed housekeeping and bell staff refreshing the room, while breezy music played. What a clever, realistic way to keep the audience involved while necessary business is performed.

Three actors who drop by the suite for various purposes elevate their supporting roles. Krystal Millie Valdes is the secretary who may be having an affair with Sam Nash, or not, and is the locked-in bride, who only briefly is seen. Steve Carroll is the patient waiter who looks like George Kennedy. John Campagnuolo doubles as the bellhop who sees it all and as Borden Eisler, the intended groom who manages to get one of the biggest laughs of the night with only two words.

Kathy McCafferty as Muriel Tate and Jim Ireland as Jesse Kiplinger in Plaza Suite at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Photo by Jason Nuttle

Kathy McCafferty excels throughout in her three roles as a desperate housewife, a bored housewife, and a mother of the bride housewife. But Act Two really belongs to her as the excessive, but hilarious, Muriel Tate, who is either the seducer or being seduced, depending on your viewpoint.

The undisputed star of the show is Jim Ireland, particularly as Jesse Kiplinger, the film producer who lives in Humphrey Bogart’s old house and is nicknamed Gooch for his Gucci shoes, and as father of the bride Roy Hubley. Ireland attacks Hubley with such a wild intensity, his face gets flushed to the point one might wonder if a paramedic should be on standby. The way Ireland drops those one-liners with exquisite timing, combined with his skill at slapstick and pratfalls, had the audience howling. More than once, his scene partner McCafferty almost broke character, needing to laugh herself, making it even funnier for the audience. Shades of comedians Harvey Korman and Tim Conway, who took pride in whom could make the other crack up first on The Carol Burnett Show come to mind. Miraculously, McCafferty held it together as Ireland let the jokes rip in such rapid succession, you could almost expect to hear a drum riff, or Ireland himself saying “Bada-bing” after each one.

While fabulous individually, McCafferty and Ireland fit together like a glove, playing off each other perfectly.

Krystal Millie Valdes as Miss McCormick in Plaza Suite at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Photo by Jeff Barry

Plaza Suite is under the excellent tutelage of director J. Barry Lewis, who is no stranger to Neil Simon comedies after previously directing Barefoot in the Park on the Maltz stage. Lewis is returning for his 14th production here.

Designers Robin L. McGee and Kevin S Foster II have a blast with costumes and wigs respectfully. Stand-outs are Act Two’s Jesse Kiplinger who is reminiscent of either Austin Powers, or one of the wild and crazy guys from Saturday Night Live, and Muriel in her short hippie dress and fishnet stockings. Borden’s hair in Act Three is a character itself.

The sound system and lighting cues were flawless thanks to Scott Stauffer and Kirk Bookman, and along with a thunderstorm, some fake birds, and Jim Ireland as a desperate Roy Hubley, they give us the show’s most spectacular moment.

Plaza Suite has stood the test of time, chock with relatable drama like the hopelessness of wondering if your spouse is having an affair, the insecurities of seeing an old flame, the frustrations in trying to plan a perfect wedding, and other panicky moments. The fact Neil Simon managed to take these moments of raw human emotion and spin them into stories so ridiculously over-the-top and unforgettable highlights his true brilliance.

Britin Haller is the Senior Editor for Charade Media. Her latest novel is Dumpster Dying by Michelle Bennington, available where books are sold. Find Britin across social media and at

 Plaza Suite plays through Feb. 25 at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, 1001 East Indiantown Road, Jupiter. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Running time approximately 135 minutes with a 15-minute intermission. Tickets starting at $70. Call 561-575-2223, or visit  

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