The New York Daily News reports that Wasserstein's condition is especially grave because of an infection that is preventing doctors from administering chemotherapy. A source close to the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright told the New York daily, "There's a percentage chance of survival, and our hope is that she can fight this off. But it's very serious. . . . Wendy had been sick for a long time, but she's a private person and kept it quiet. But during rehearsals [for Third] she needed a cane some days." Wasserstein, a much honored and respected playwright within the New York theatre community, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1989 for The Heidi Chronicles, which was her first Broadway entry. The play also won that year's Tony Award for Best Play. Wasserstein's other Broadway offerings include the Tony-nominated The Sisters Rosensweig and 1997's An American Daughter. Her other plays include Isn't It Romantic?, Old Money and Uncommon Women and Others. Wasserstein's musical, Pamela's First Musical, which she wrote with David Zippel and the late Cy Coleman is set to premiere in California in April 2006.
Wasserstein's most recent work, Third, was recently extended through Dec. 18 at Lincoln Center. The show opened to mixed-to-positive reviews, with several critics calling the play Wasserstein's best effort in years.
Wasserstein, 55, is mother to a six-year-old daughter. She also helped create an outreach program for Theatre Development Fund to foster a new generation of theatregoers from the city's public schools.