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Wendy Wasserstein

Wasserstein, Wendy, 1950–2006, American playwright, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. Wasserstein, who made a place on the American stage for contemporary women and their concerns, explored such issues as love, independence, careers, family relationships, and feminism with wit and affection. Her first success, Uncommon Women and Others (1977), introduced five typical Wasserstein women: young, educated, intelligent, accomplished, and struggling to attain both autonomy and love. Her most celebrated play, The Heidi Chronicles (1989, Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award) takes her heroine, an idealistic and insecure art historian, through the emotional upheavals of the 1960s and 70s while dealing with themes of love, selfhood, marriage, and motherhood. Wasserstein's other plays include Isn't It Romantic (1981, rev. 1983), The Sisters Rosensweig (1993), An American Daughter (1997), Old Money (2000), and Third (2005). She also wrote essay collections (1990, 2001), a self-help parody (2005), a children's book (1996), two screenplays, teleplays, libretti, and the posthumously published novel Elements of Style (2006).

See biography by J. Salamon (2011); studies by G. Ciociola (1998, repr. 2005) and C. Barnett (1999).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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