PHOTO ARCHIVE: Wit, With Kathleen Chalfant, at MCC Theater in 1998

News   PHOTO ARCHIVE: Wit, With Kathleen Chalfant, at MCC Theater in 1998 Margaret Edson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Wit is set to make its Broadway debut in January with Manhattan Theatre Club. Playbill.com looks back at the first New York City production, at MCC Theater, starring Kathleen Chalfant.

The show received its world premiere at South Coast Repertory, with a subsequent production at Long Wharf Theater, before arriving in New York in 1998.

It played more than 500 performances and was also named Best Play by the New York Drama Critic Circle, the Drama Desk Awards, the Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Drama League and the Lucille Lortel Awards.

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Cynthia Nixon ("Sex and the City" on TV and on film, Showtime's "The Big C") stars in the upcoming Broadway staging. MTC artistic director Lynne Meadow will direct. Playwright Edson, a public school teacher for almost 20 years now, said at the time that she had no wish to pursue a playwriting career, and has dropped off the theatre map. She teaches sixth grade social studies in Atlanta.

The limited engagement of Wit will begin previews Jan. 5, 2012, and open Jan. 26, 2012, at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on West 47th Street.

MTC's upcoming world premiere of David Auburn's The Columnist, which had been previously announced for January dates, will now begin previews on April 3 and open April 25 at the Friedman Theatre.

Here's how MTC bills Edson's unsentimental play: "Exquisitely written, affecting and often humorous, Wit follows a brilliant and exacting poetry professor (Nixon) as she undergoes experimental treatment for cancer. A scholar who devoted her life to academia, she must now face the irony and injustice of becoming the subject of research."

Edson was born in Washington, DC, in 1961. Between earning degrees in history and literature, she worked in the cancer and AIDS inpatient unit of a research hospital. Wit, her first and only play, was written in 1991. It received its first production in 1995 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1999. The HBO production won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Made for Television Movie in 2001. Emma Thompson starred. The play has received hundreds of productions in dozens of languages and is taught in classes ranging from high-school English to medical ethics.

Visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.

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