Theatre J’s The Sisters Rosensweig: Remembering Wendy Wasserstein

I saw The Sisters Rosensweig at Theatre J last night and it was a wonderfully enjoyable evening of theatre. It was particularly exciting to see the new Artistic Director, my very dear friend Adam Immerwahr, in his new artistic home. Also, I was reminded with much fondness of the author of the play, Wendy Wasserstein.

Wendy, who tragically passed away in 2006, was one of America’s best playwrights, and she was also a good and very loyal friend. We first met when we served together on a National Endowment for the Arts committee choosing worthy plays for funding, and our friendship flourished.

My favorite memory of Wendy is from 1995 when Moon Over Buffalo was trying out at the Colonial Theatre in Boston. We were doing a typical out of town try-out: the lines were changing every day, Carol Burnett and Phil Bosco were valiantly keeping up with the latest version of the script, Heidi Landesman’s remarkable set was being polished and changed, Bob Mackie’s costumes were furiously being sewn backstage and the production, as these things always are, was a maelstrom of activity.

One day Wendy called me and said she was in town and would love to see the show. She turned up at the theatre with her friend Nick Hytner (about 8 years before he started running the National Theatre). Wendy and Nick came to the performance and the three of us went out to dinner afterwards – and we stayed up until about 2:00 a.m. as they kindly and generously gave me their notes on the state of the production and the state of the script. I saw Wendy several times after that, but our night in Boston together is the one I’ll never forget.