The Sisters Rosensweig
|The Sisters Rosensweig|
|Written by||Wendy Wasserstein|
|Setting||London, 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." Wasserstein received the William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in American Theatre for this play.
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. 
Original Broadway Cast
- Sara Goode - Jane Alexander
- Gorgeous Teitelbaum - Madeline Kahn
- Mervyn Kant - Robert Klein
- Pfeni Rosensweig - Christine Estabrook
- Nicholas Pym - John Cunningham
- Tess Goode - Julie Dretzin
- Tom Valiunus - Patrick Fitzgerald
- Geoffrey Duncan - John Vickery
It premiered at the Greenwich Theatre in 1994, 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
Sara, who lives in London, is a representative for a major Hong Kong bank and is about to turn fifty-four. 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.
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."
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."
Awards and nominations
- Best Broadway Play (winner)
- Best Actor (Play) Robert Klein (winner)
- Best Actress (Play) Madeline Kahn (winner)
- Best Actress (Play) Jane Alexander (nominee)
- Best Director (Play) (winner)
- Best Play (nominee)
- Best Actress in a Play Madeline Kahn (winner)
- Best Actress in a Play Jane Alexander (nominee)
- Best Costume Design Jane Greenwood (nominee)
- Best Direction of a Play (nominee)
- Outstanding New Play (nominee)
- Outstanding Actress in a Play Jane Alexander (winner)
- Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Robert Klein (nominee)
- Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Madeline Kahn (winner)
- Outstanding Director of a Play (nominee)
- Herrington, Joan. The playwright's muse (2002), Routledge, ISBN 0-8153-3779-5, p. 35
- Listing, Broadway ibdb.com, accessed March 4, 2015
- Coveney, Michael (2006-02-01). "Wendy Wasserstein". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
- "The West End stage in September 1994". London theatre tickets. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
- Balakian, Jan. "Wendy Wasserstein Article" jwa.org, March 1, 2009
- Gussow, Mel."Review/Theater; Wasserstein: Comedy, Character, Reflection",The New York Times, October 23, 1992
- Outer Critics Circle Award, 1992-1993 outercritics.org, accessed May 21, 2009