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Panel to Explore Impact of Wendy Wasserstein's Work

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – The Jewish Repertory Theatre is hosting a panel discussion Thursday that will explore the importance and popularity of playwright Wendy Wasserstein. The event is a prelude to the opening Thursday night of JRT's production of the Sisters Rosensweig, written by the late playwright.

Wasserstein's death earlier this year at the age of 55 has been called a monumental loss to theatre - and to a generation of women who came to know themselves better through her work.

Ellen Schiff is a Jewish theatre scholar who will lead the panel discussion. She said Wasserstein came of age as a women at Mount Holyoke College during a time of great student protest and political unrest in the 1960's. Schiff saidd the playwright brought those experiences to her work.

Schiff said Wasserstein also played-out those apparent conflicts with tremendous humor and wit. Schiff said the playwright was one of few who managed to navigate the tricky intersection of where politics, literature and popular culture meet.

Wasserstein was indeed taken seriously.

The playwright was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her play "The Heidi Chronicles." Schiff said it is the lasting relevance of Wasserstein's work that made her one of the rare women who are successful in an often discounted genre.

To learn more about this enduring playwright the public is invited to the free panel discussion beginning Thursday at 4:00 PM in the CEPA Gallery downtown.

The JRT's production of Wasserstein's play, "The Sisters Rosensweig," opens at 7:30 PM Thursday night at the Andrews Theatre in Buffalo.

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