Arguably the most universally-acclaimed play of the last several years, Wit will end its Off-Broadway run April 9. However, the show continues to build a post-New York afterlife, with a recent run in Los Angeles and an upcoming London stint. The play also reaches Philadelphia, March 22-April 16, with Obie Award-winner Randy Danson in the lead.
Danson, whose myriad New York credits -- including Manhattan Theatre Club’s Mad Forest, NY Shakespeare Festival’s The Treatment and Circle Repertory’s Cave Life -- led to an Obie for Sustained Excellence in Performance, plays Dr. Vivian Bearing, a punctilious professor laid low by fourth-stage ovarian cancer.
Margaret Edson’s drama went on to win the Pulitzer Prize, while original New York lead actress Kathleen Chalfant garnered almost every award and plaudit for playing Bearing. Chalfant went on to do Wit in Los Angeles (Jan. 18-March 5) and will also bring the show to London, March 27 for an opening April 3.
Wit, now starring English actress Lisa Harrow in New York, originally played at Off-Broadway’s Manhattan Class Company Sept. 17 Dec. 13, 1998 and then moved to OB’s Union Square Theatre Jan. 7, 1999. According to the show's press office, Wit has become MCC's biggest success.
Maria Mileaf, who staged Lobster Alice Off-Broadway, directs Wit at Philadelphia Theatre Company. The show, which also stars Hazel Bowers, Jeffery [sic] Coon, Mollie Hall, Karen Krastel, Keshkemnu [sic], Paul Meshejian and Brian Yang, started previews March 17. Wit is Edson's first play, based in part on her experiences working at the AIDS Inpatient Unit of the National Institutes of Health. Today Edson teaches kindergarten in Atlanta, GA.
Wit's original director, Derek Anson Jones, died Jan. 17, one day before the play began its L.A. run.
For tickets ($24-$38) and information on Wit at Philadelphia Theatre Company, 1714 Delancey Street, call (215) 569-9700.
-- By David Lefkowitz and David Lefkowitz