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‘Magical night’ on the Vineyard

Carly Simon performed for Patricia Neal's daughter Ophelia and others. Carly Simon performed for Patricia Neal's daughter Ophelia and others. (M.J. Bruder Munafo)
By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / August 3, 2011

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Money was no object at the fund-raiser for the Vineyard Playhouse either. Efforts to renovate the historic little building in Vineyard Haven got a boost when the well-heeled crowd at the playhouse’s annual summer gala raised over $350,000. “It was a magical night,’’ said artistic director M.J. Bruder Munafo. “Never in our wildest imagination did we think this would happen.’’ Car king Ernie Boch Jr. certainly did his part, pledging to match donations up to $100,000, and Jim and Susan Swartz of Edgartown pledged an additional $100,000. As part of the renovation, the playhouse stage will be remodeled and renamed - for the late actress and longtime Vineyard resident Patricia Neal, whose four children, Tessa, Ophelia, Lucy, and Theo, were all there. The invitation promised a surprise guest, who turned out to be Carly Simon, a friend of Neal’s who performed a short acoustic set with her son, Ben.