The Sisters Rosensweig
Written byWendy Wasserstein
CharactersSara Goode
Gorgeous Teitelbaum
Mervyn Kant
Pfeni Duncan
Nicholas Pym
Tess Goode
Tom Valinus
Geoffrey Duncan
SettingLondon, England; August 1991

The Sisters Rosensweig is a play by Wendy Wasserstein. The play focuses on three Jewish-American sisters and their lives. It "broke theatrical ground by concentrating on a non-traditional cast of three middle-aged women."[1] Wasserstein received the William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in American Theatre for this play.

Production history

The play first opened in April 1992 at the Seattle Repertory Theatre.

It premiered off-Broadway in a Lincoln Center Theater production at the Mitzi Newhouse Theater on October 22, 1992, and closed on February 28, 1993, after 149 performances. Directed by Daniel J. Sullivan, the cast included Jane Alexander and Madeline Kahn.

It transferred to Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on March 18, 1993, and closed on July 16, 1994, after 556 performances. Again directed by Sullivan, the Broadway cast remained the same as off-Broadway, except that Christine Estabrook took the role of "Pfeni" for Frances McDormand. Notable replacements include Linda Lavin as Gorgeous Teitelbaum and Michael Learned as Sara Goode. [2]

Original Broadway Cast

London production

It premiered at the Greenwich Theatre in 1994,[3] where it was directed by Michael Blakemore and the sisters were played by Janet Suzman, Maureen Lipman, and Lynda Bellingham. The play transferred to the Old Vic in September 1994[4]

Digital production

Released on May 20th, 2021, there was a livestreamed production of the play to benefit the Actors' Fund, the Theater Development Fund's Wendy Wasserstein Project, and the Steppenwolf Theater Company. Directed by Anna D. Shapiro, the Company's artistic director, it featured Lisa Edelstein, Kathryn Hahn, and Tracee Chimo Pallero as the three sisters. It also featured Jason Alexander, Kathryn Newton and James Urbaniak.

Plot

Sara, who lives in London, is a representative for a major Hong Kong bank and is about to turn 54. Her sisters, Gorgeous Teitelbaum and Pfeni Rosensweig, arrive to help celebrate the birthday. Gorgeous is Dr. Gorgeous with a radio-advice program; Pfeni is a world traveler. Various friends and boyfriends also arrive for the party. In particular, Mervyn, a friend of Pfeni's boyfriend Geoffrey, falls instantly in love with Sara.

Concept

Wasserstein said that the play is "about being Jewish." She "wanted to write a play that celebrated the possibilities of a middle-aged woman who, unlike her other protagonists, does not end up alone."[5]

Critical response

The New York Times review of the original production wrote that the play is: "...[a] captivating look at three uncommon women and their quest for love, self-definition and fulfillment. But underlying the comedy is an empathetic concern for the characters and for the prospects of women today. At the same time, the play has its imperfections. There are gratuitous remarks and irrelevancies."[6]

Awards and nominations

Outer Critics Circle Award

[7]

Tony Award
Drama Desk Award

References

  1. ^ Herrington, Joan. The playwright's muse (2002), Routledge, ISBN 0-8153-3779-5, p. 35
  2. ^ Listing, Broadway ibdb.com, accessed March 4, 2015
  3. ^ Coveney, Michael (2006-02-01). "Wendy Wasserstein". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
  4. ^ "The West End stage in September 1994". London theatre tickets. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
  5. ^ Balakian, Jan. "Wendy Wasserstein Article" jwa.org, March 1, 2009
  6. ^ Gussow, Mel."Review/Theater; Wasserstein: Comedy, Character, Reflection",The New York Times, October 23, 1992
  7. ^ Outer Critics Circle Award, 1992-1993 Archived 2008-05-05 at the Wayback Machine outercritics.org, accessed May 21, 2009