Project Description

W;t (Off Broadway)

Wit (Off Broadway & West End)

W;t (also as Wit) by Margaret Edson, won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and opened Off-Broadway on September 19, 1998 until October 4, 1998, at the MCC Theater (MCC). Produced by MCC TheaterLong Wharf TheatreDaryl Roth, Robert G. Bartner and Stanley Kaufelt.

Directed by Derek Anson Jones. Set design by Myung Hee Cho, Costume design by Ilona Somogyi, Lighting design by Michael Chybowski, with Sound design, original music by David Van Tieghem, Wig Design by Paul Huntley, Production Stage Managed by Anne Keefe and Internet Marketing by Toby Simkin.

This production starred Kathleen Chalfant in the lead role of Vivian Bearing. Chalfant received strong praise for her performance at the MCC. She also incorporated her own life experience into her work on the play, including the final illness and death of her brother Alan Palmer from cancer. Also starred Walter Charles (Harvey Kelekian, Mr. Bearing), Alex Phoenix (Jason Posner), Paula Pizzi (Susie Monahan), Helen Stenborg (E.M. Ashford), Aleta Mitchell, Jose Raul Perez, Daniel Sarnelli (Lab Technician) and Alli Steinberg (Lab Technician).

Replacements included Brian J. Carter (Lab Technician), Lisa Tharps (Lab Technician) and Lisa Harrow (Vivian Bearing)

Understudies included Tanny McDonald and James Shanklin

Union Square Theatre, Off Broadway

After its successful initial run at the MCC, the play transferred to the Off-Broadway Union Square Theatre (100 East 17th St) to open on October 6, 1998.  The production closed on April 9, 2000 after 545 performances.

The producers of the 2nd Off-Broadway run included MCC Theater, Long Wharf Theatre, Daryl Roth, Stanley Shopkorn, Robert G. Bartner, Stanley Kaufelt and associate producer Lorie Cowen Levy produced the tour.

Directed by Derek Anson Jones. Scenic design by Myung Hee Cho, Costume design by Ilona Somogyi, Lighting design by Michael Chybowski, with original music and sound design by David Van Tieghem, Wig Design by Paul Huntley, Production Managed by Kai Brothers, Production Stage Managed by Katherine Lee Boyer, Casting by Bernard Telsey Casting, General Managed by Roy Gabay, Internet Marketing by Toby Simkin and Press by Boneau/Bryan Brown.

This production initially stared Kathleen Chalfant, when in 1999, Judith Light took over the lead role of Vivian Bearing,  and also earned strong reviews and later reprised the role for the national tour.  Light shaved her head for the role. Also added to the cast when Light came on board were William Cain, Sally Parrish and Grant Show joining Paula Pizzi, Brian J. Carter (Lab Technician), Daniel Sarnelli (Lab Technician), Alli Steinberg (Lab Technician)and Lisa Tharps (Lab Technician)

Vaudeville Theatre, London

Kathleen Chalfant took the lead in the London production at the Vaudeville Theatre from April 3 until May 13, 2000. Directed by Leigh Silverman, recreating the direction of the late Derek Anson Jones.

London Review Quotes:

ALASTAIR MACAULAY of the FINANCIAL TIMES:
A beautifully accomplished piece of work – affecting, funny, and clever.

CHARLES SPENCER of THE DAILY TELEGRAPH:
As beautiful and transcendent as anything on the London stage.”

BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE of THE TIMES:
It is moving, funny and wise.” He goes on to say , “I don’t often blink back tears at plays these days. Last night I did.

MICHAEL BILLINGTON of THE GUARDIAN:
Wit is a provocative and eloquent play, boasting a superlative performance from Kathleen Chalfant.”

PETER HEPPLE of THE STAGE:
This must be the bravest production to be seen in the West End for many a year.” He goes on to say, “Moving dignity to the very end.

The play swept nearly every drama award given for an off-Broadway play, including the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, The Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play, two Drama League awards and the Outer Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding Play. Another honor came early in 1999 when Wit was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

As Founder and CEO of Theatre.com and BuyBroadway.com.  The pioneer in moving the Broadway industry onto the internet. Press branded me as “Toby is the man pushing theatre, kicking and screaming, into cyberspace.” The Broadway theatre supersite Buy Broadway OnlineWhat started in 1989 as a Broadway industry service called ShowCall via dialup BBS for members of the League of American Theatre Producers evolved onto the world wide web in 1993, and shortly after this, the vast majority of Broadway shows (starting with my production of Victor/Victoria) and theatrical organizations followed. Described by Variety Magazine as a “marketing powerhouse“, it was the single largest theatre community in the world with over 180,000 active members. The global theater supersite theatre.comFrom buying official Broadway tickets and souvenirs, providing detailed global show listings, interactive show study & educational guides, live streaming shows and events (including many Opening Nights), industry news from major theatre journalists, pictures and videos, games, messaging directly to Broadway cast’s backstage or even licensing a musical, theatre.com offered it all in a single, easy-to-use interface to theatregoers across North America and globally. The “Super site of Broadway” became a publicly traded company, prior to my re-branding it as Theatre.com at the Minskoff Theatre.

W;t (Off Broadway) W;t (Off Broadway)