Wendy Wasserstein seldom strayed from her swath of literary turf, but it was a rich one: in plays from The Heidi Chronicles 20 years ago to last year’s Third, the Tony- and Pulitzer-winning playwright explored the victories and defeats of her particular generation of women. Her characters were smart, witty, accomplished, and independent, but also ambivalent, profoundly aware of how their personal choices led to both fulfillment and loneliness. Wasserstein also deserves credit for such accomplishments along the way as proving that thoughtful plays about contemporary women could be hits on Broadway, or boosting the early careers of such actresses as Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, and Joan Allen.
It was a shock to read this morning of Wasserstein’s death from lymphoma. She was just 55, and she should have had a couple more decades to chronicle her Heidis in their golden years.