We had never written a full-length play before. And what’s more, we knew nothing of rewrites. Also, this being the late seventies, we were prisoners of the typewriter. Rewrites consisted of replacing nine word jokes with nine word jokes, just so I wouldn’t have to retype the entire manuscript over from page one every time we changed something. It’s for this same indolent reason Jon Trachtman is “Jon” Trachtman and not “John” Trachtman. I was too lazy to type the extra “h.”
Our friends Kathy Reed and Denis Lynch produced the first production, which opened on the top floor of the Dam Site Dinner-Theater (now the Gristmill Restaurant in Tinton Falls) June 1, 1979. It was Kathy Reed who talked us into the title. Running the most successful dinner-theater in the state at the time she claimed, “Sex sells.” As a result, we went from the unfortunate title of “Tax My Mistress” to the final title that has made us an April 15 staple around the country.
We opened to rave reviews from the all the local papers, which we used to show Samuel French - the world’s leading publisher of plays. More surprising than just hearing they were going to publish our show, they told us they would also take our “next two.” Unaware we were even going to write a second play at the time, we figured the people at Samuel French knew better than we did. So we pulled out the typewriter and started writing what became the second of what are now twenty-two plays.
“Love, Sex, and the I.R.S.” is still one of our biggest successes. It’s been produced in over 10,000 theaters, performed every day of the year in some theater somewhere - regional theaters, summer stocks, dinner-theaters, community theaters, high school productions (where we are constantly asked to take the word “sex” out of the title). It’s even been performed in Japan, Brazil, Germany, Canada, England, France and Spain.
I don’t know whatever happened to the Smith-Corona.