Tony Award-winning playwright Lanford Wilson dies

FILE - In this April 22, 1980 file photo, playwright Lanford Wilson stands outside of the Circle Repertory Theater where rehearsals are in progress for his new play "The War In Lebanon," in New York. Wilson, the Tony Award and Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright of such plays as "The Hot L Baltimore," "Burn This," "Fifth of July" and "Talley's Folly," died Wednesday, March 23, 2011. He was 73. (AP Photo/Marty Reichenthal, file)

March 24, 2011 5:06:10 PM PDT
Lanford Wilson, the Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright of such plays as "The Hot L Baltimore," "Burn This," "Fifth of July" and "Talley's Folly," has died. He was 73.

The Steppenwolf Theatre said Thursday that Wilson died Wednesday at a long term acute care facility in Wayne, N.J. The playwright, who had been a longtime resident of New York's Sag Harbor, died on the eve of the Chicago company's first preview production of a staging of his "Hot L Baltimore."

"His tremendous spirit is with us in the theater and tonight's show will be in his memory and honor," Tina Landau, the director of the production, said Thursday.

Wilson was one of four founders of The Circle Repertory Company in New York, an incubator of important off-Broadway works. He was nominated for Tony Awards for "Angels Fall" "Talley's Folly" and "Fifth of July."

He won the Pulitzer for drama in 1980 for "Talley's Folly," the second in a trilogy of plays that follows the Talley family of Lebanon, Mo., over several generations. Wilson himself was born in Lebanon, Mo.

"Lanford was a singular voice in the American theatre-an important artist, a gentle soul and a good friend," said Steppenwolf co-Founder Terry Kinney. "We will miss him sorely."