Greenwich Village Man Teaches A Lesson In Determination, Pens Play That Makes It All The Way To Reputable City Stage

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A local man is experiencing a dream come true at the age of 100.

The frustrated playwright finally has a play he wrote being produced on a New York City stage.

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It’s something he thought he’d never see, CBS2’s Elise Finch reported Wednesday.

Paul Kane always dreamed of writing plays for a living, but his father discouraged him.

“You gotta get a job because writers starve in a little attic in Paris,” Kane said.

The Philadelphia native wanted to avoid that fate, but he never stopped dreaming or writing. He wrote plays even after he moved to New York in 1959 to attend NYU, and during his 30 years as an English teacher working mostly in Brooklyn.

The Army veteran has called his rent-controlled, Greenwich Village apartment home since 1961. It’s where he has written most of his recent work, including a play called “My Name is Sam.” He completed it last year just after he turned 99.

Paul Kane

“My Name is Sam” is playing at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre. (Photo: CBS2)

Kane said just like the artwork he creates to decorate his home, his writing helps to keep his mind sharp.

Apparently, it’s working.

A friend read “My Name is Sam” and suggested he submit it to the Manhattan Repertory Theatre. Each year the production house chooses plays and for a small fee turns them into stage productions.

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Artistic director Ken Wolf said Kane’s play was an easy choice.

“It takes place in Brooklyn in 1953 and it’s about a brother and a sister,” Wolf said. “It’s about dysfunction, but it’s also about healing and love.”

As luck would have it, Kane’s 100th birthday just happened to fall during his play’s month-long stage run.

“I’m very proud of myself. Do you know why? Because I can write dialogue. That’s my forte,” Kane said.

Now he hopes his success will inspire writers and other artists who may have stopped creating to start again.

“I’m saying do it. Do it now. N-O-W,” Kane said.

Kane is already working on his next play. It’s appropriately called “Dream Catcher.” He hopes to have it completed before his 101st birthday.

Kane used his teacher’s pension and Social Security to finance the production of his play. He said its money well spent. Now he wants it to be seen by real New York critics and agents.

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The play runs through this Saturday.