#RespectYourElders: Kathleen Chalfant (born 1945) is one of Broadway’s most respected actresses. Widely known for her performances in “Angels in America” and “Wit” in the 1990s, she’s continued to take on unique roles on both stage and screen.
Chalfant made her Off-Broadway acting debut in 1974 in “Cowboy Pictures,” kicking off a steady stream of Off-Broadway roles. She rose into prominence in early 1990s, when she joined the original cast of “Angels in America” as Ethel Rosenberg. Chalfant was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance, and “Angels in America” was awarded Best Play that year. In 1998, she appeared in the Off-Broadway premiere of “Wit” as the lead role of Dr. Vivian Bearing –– an English literature professor with ovarian cancer. Two decades later, one critic said her performance “remains one of those historic characterizations” that you can only witness a couple times in life.
Chalfant’s latest performances demonstrate her diversity as an actor. While she’s mostly acted in live theatre, she’s also appeared in a wide variety of films and television series, including “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “The Affair.” She’s even performed on podcasts, such as NPR’s podcast for kids, “Circle Round.” This past May, Chalfant was honored for all of her extraordinary work over the decades with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Obie Awards.
Chalfant appeared in her latest Off-Broadway performance for Rattlesticks Playwrights Theatre’s “St. Vincent’s Project: Novenas for a Hospital” earlier this year. Most recently, she was featured in Pam Tanowitz’s dance piece, “Four Quarters.”
Read about Chalfant’s take on her latest performance as the narrator in “Four Quarters” here.