HomeArtsMerrimack Repertory Theatre Replaces Lullaby with Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End

Merrimack Repertory Theatre Replaces Lullaby with Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End


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Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) today announced a lineup change to the 2019-20 Season with the addition of Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End by Allison Engel and Margaret Engel. A one-woman tour-de-force, At Wit’s End celebrates the life of one of the 20th Century’s most beloved humorists, who wrote more than 4,000 columns for 900 newspapers and 30 million readers.

Executive Director Bonnie J. Butkas and Interim Artistic Director Terry Berliner said Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End will replace Lullaby by Michael Elyanow, which will move to the following season. At Wit’s Endwill play April 22 to May 17, 2020. The director will be announced later. The new season kicks off in just four weeks – September 11 to October 6 – with Tiny Beautiful Things by Nia Vardalos.

Butkas said, “We’re delighted to round out our season with the wit and wisdom of Erma Bombeck.”

Adapted by the same journalist sisters who triumphed nationally with another biographical play, Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins, the Bombeck play rejoices in the life of a woman considered to be one of America’s funniest moms, who championed the everyday lives of housewives with a daring truth few of her generation were willing to tell.

Berliner said, “The new play Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End sheds light on how a not-so-quiet revolution can be started by one woman – with a strong point of view – who happens to live in a quiet suburban town. Her revolution ignited generations of women and made them cry out, “Yes, that’s me!” Erma Bombeck made us laugh and not feel so lonely. And now, with true joie de vivre, Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End shows how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.”

Born in 1927, Bombeck is ranked among the great humorists of the 1900s, including Garrison Keillor, Will Rogers, Fran Lebowitz, David Sedaris, and Bombeck’s longtime friend and fellow columnist Art Buchwald. She started her column in 1964, published her first book in 1976, and continued writing until just before her death in 1996. Her many bestsellers include The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank; If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?; Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession; At Wit’s End; andFamily – The Ties that Bind . . . and Gag!

Although already well-known, her outspoken support in 1978 of the Equal Rights Amendment catapulted her to national fame. The high-profile media attacks from conservatives only fueled the country’s desire for a more modern perspective from a woman of her generation. She was a regular guest on the nighttime talk shows for two decades, and she was a correspondent for “Good Morning America” for 11 years.

For the 2019-20 Season, all seven of MRT’s plays are either written solely, or are co-written, by women. The series also includes the East Coast premiere of Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band and the world premiere historical drama The Lowell Offering about Lowell’s “Mill Girls” by Andy Bayiates and Genevra Gallo-Bayiates. The season begins September 11 with Tiny Beautiful Things by Nia Vardalos.


Season Subscriptions for all seven plays range in price from $140 to $357, with student subscriptions at $70. Four-show packages start at $87. Single tickets range in price from $24 to $66. To purchase, visit www.mrt.orgor contact the MRT Box Office at 978-654-4678.