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Pulitzer-Prize Winning Playwright Wendy Wasserstein is 'Gravely Ill'

According to an article in Newsday, a professional associate of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein has reported that the 55 year-old dramatist is "gravely ill." She is currently being cared for in a New York hospital.

The article states that,
"There was no word on the nature of her illness."

Wasserstein, who is known for raising issues of feminist awareness in her urbanely witty plays, is considered one of America's leading playwrights--male or female. Her latest play Third, starring Dianne Wiest, Jason Ritter and Charles Durning, is a sold-out hit at Lincoln Center's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, where it is playing in a limited run through December 18th. The eighth of Wasserstein's works to be staged in New York, it concerns a college professor who has come to a crossroads in her life.

Wasserstein won the Pulitzer Prize for her 1989 drama The Heidi Chronicles. The show, which also won the Tony Award for Best Play, traced the life of its title character, an art historian, through two decades. Starring Joan Allen, Peter Friedman, Cynthia Nixon and Boyd Gaines (who won a Tony for his work), the play was both a critical and commercial success; it ran for 622 performances.

After The Heidi Chronicles, Wasserstein's own life went on to mirror that of its feminist protagonist when the playwright decided to raise a child as a single mother," according to the article. Lucy Jane was born in September of 1999.

The playwright also received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play for The Sisters Rosensweig, which ran for 556 performances after opening in 1993; it starred Madeline Kahn (who won a Tony for her performances), Jane Alexander and Robert Klein. The politically-centered An American Daughter was produced on Broadway in 1997, and Old Money, Uncommon Women and Others, and Isn't It Romantic are off-Broadway credits. With the latter play and The Sisters Rosensweig, Wasserstein earned Drama Desk Award nods for Outstanding New Play. With the late composer Cy Coleman and lyricist David Zippel, Wasserstein also wrote the book for Pamela's First Musical, which was produced by the California company TheatreWorks earlier this year.

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