MTM on Broadway

May 1, 1988.

The overheated lobby of the Helen Hayes Theatre on West 44th Street was packed during intermission of the opening night performance of the musical Romance/Romance. The crowd--which included the many investors needed to raise the capitalization--spilled over into the narrow box office entrance.

As the electric bells announcing the start of Act II started to ring, a woman--seventyish and stylishly dressed--collapsed, brushing aside the tightly-spaced patrons as she fell. "Is there a doctor?" someone yelled out.

A cardiologist named Robert Levine was standing in the lobby with his wife, Mary Tyler Moore. As I recall, he had a small investment in the musical. Levine immediately bent down to tend to the woman, and called for someone to bring water. (These were the days before the ubiquitous water bottles.)

The second act began, the lobby emptied. The patient started to recover as EMS arrived. She waved them off, embarrassed, but Levine insisted that she go to the hospital to be checked.

"All right," she said, "but I'm totally fine."

Then her face clouded in puzzlement.

"The oddest thing, though. The first thing I remember, someone was giving me a cup of water, and I looked up, and I could swear it was...Mary Tyler Moore!"