Kathleen Chalfant, back in Los Angeles for the first time since Angels in America, reprises her triumphant performance in Wit when the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama opens Jan. 26, 2000 for a three-week run at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. Chalfant dazzled New York audiences and critics alike when Margaret Edson's Wit had a successful run last year at MCC Theatre. Chalfant plays a professor of English who has spent years studying and teaching the metaphysical sonnets of John Donne. When she becomes diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer, her approach to the illness is not unlike her approach to the study of Donne: aggressively probing and intensely rational.
Joining her in the Geffen production are original cast members Walter Charles, Alec Phoenix and Paula Pizzi, and new cast members Anne Pitoniak, Christian Anderson, Cheri Smith, Holly Ricciuti and Jose Mercado. Derek Anson Jones is the director.
Wit is Edson's first play. Born in Washington, D.C., she has lived in places as diverse as rural Iowa where she was a bartender, and Rome, Italy, where she lived in a convent. She currently teaches kindergarten at Centennial Place Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia.
Geffen Playhouse is located at 10886 Le Conte Ave. in Westwood. For tickets and information call (310) 208-5454 or Ticketmaster.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent