Shows & Events

The Year of Magical Thinking


Nov 08 - Dec 03, 2023


Various Locations across the region

The Year of Magical Thinking

Kathleen Chalfant stars in this one-woman theatrical adaptation of Joan Didion’s award-winning memoir, which examines the author’s journey of grief and healing. Didion’s wry, journalistic lens – applied here to her own life – combines with Chalfant’s virtuosic performance to create a moving theatrical journey. Performed in homes and gathering spaces throughout the New Haven area and in partnership with New York City’s Keen Company, The Year of Magical Thinking is a uniquely intimate experience.

We invite you to join us after the performance to reflect on your experience in a post-show conversation facilitated by Long Wharf Theatre staff.


The Year of Magical Thinking is a fine and fierce guide to living with love and loss written by one of the best writers of American prose and it is a privilege to inhabit and share this world with the Long Wharf audience. I’m so happy to be back here.” ~Kathleen Chalfant

Join Long Wharf Theatre for The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, directed by Jonathan Silverstein, and starring Obie and Drama Desk Award-winner Kathleen Chalfant in a moving one-woman performance.

Adapted from the best-selling memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking recounts Didion’s journey of loss, perseverance, and ultimately hope, using her signature wit to draw an intimate portrait of the resilience of the human heart.

This unique theatrical event will be brought directly to the people, staged in non-traditional theater spaces including living rooms, libraries, and other gathering spaces across the region.


We are pleased to announce that all performances are currently sold out. We are diligently working on adding venues and dates to give more opportunities to see this powerful production.

Stay tuned, additional performances will be announced very soon.

You may also join the waitlist by calling our box office 203-693-1486,  Monday through Friday, noon to 5pm.


Many performances take place in real living rooms in New Haven and the surrounding towns; the exact addresses for Home performances will be shared with ticket holders the morning of the performance.

All Home performances are Pay-It-Forward performances ($125 tickets), supporting the expense of bringing this production to larger venues around the region at more accessible price points.


The below performances take place in gathering spaces across the region.


  • Thu 11/09 @ 7pm
  • Fri 11/10 @ 7pm
  • Wed 11/15 @ 7pm
  • Sun 11/19 @ 2pm
  • Wed 11/29 @ 7pm
  • Fri 12/01 @ 7pm
  • Sat 12/02 @ 7pm
  • Sun 12/03 @ 2pm



Tickets are now on sale.

Ticket Prices for Gathering Spaces:

  • $0 K-12 students
  • $10 College Students
  • $45 Regular Price
  • $125 Pay It Forward

Ticket Prices for Home:

All Home performances are Pay-It-Forward performances ($125 tickets), supporting the expense of bringing this production to larger venues around the region at more accessible price points.

LWT Members receive a discount on Gathering Space tickets. Become a member today!


Locations: Many performances take place in real living rooms in New Haven and the surrounding towns; the exact addresses for Home performances will be shared with ticket holders the morning of the performance.

  • Running time: 90 Minutes with No Intermission
  • Recommended age: 16 and up.
  • Content Advisory: the show contains meditations on grief, terminal illness and prolonged hospitalization.
  • For more detailed description please contact

Cast & Creative Team

Born in California and a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Joan Didion (1934-2021) spent her adult life in New York and Los Angeles. Winner of the 2005 National Book Award, The Year of Magical Thinking is one of 13 books by Joan Didion. Her other books include Play It As It Lays, Democracy, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The White Album, Salvador, Miami and Political Fictions.

With her husband, John Gregory Dunne, she wrote the screenplays for such pictures as The Panic in Needle Park with Al Pacino, True Confessions with Robert De Niro and Robert Duvall, A Star Is Born with Barbra Streisand and Up Close & Personal with Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Redford.

She was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which awarded her its 2005 Gold Medal in nonfiction. She also received the 1996 Edward MacDowell Medal, the 1999 Columbia Journalism Award and the 2002 George Polk Book Award. She contributed to various periodicals, most frequently The New York Review of Books.

Jonathan Silverstein: Artistic Director of Off Broadway’s Keen Company, where his directing credits include: The Year of Magical Thinking, This Space Between Us by Peter Gil-Sheridan, Ordinary DaysLonely Planet, Tick, Tick…Boom!Travels With My Aunt, John & Jen, Middle of the Night, The Old Boy, Marry Me a Little. Also with Keen as Resident Director: Lemon Sky, The Dining Room (Drama Desk Award: Outstanding  Ensemble), I Never Sang For My Father, Tea and Sympathy, and The Hasty Heart. Selected Off-Broadway: The Temperamentals (Drama Desk Award: Outstanding Ensemble), Red Herring (FringeNYC; Outstanding Direction Award), Blueprint (Summer Play  Festival), and The Train Play (Clubbed Thumb). Regional: Bucks County, Huntington, Old Globe, Cleveland  Play House, Merrimack Rep, Dorset Theatre Festival, Cape Rep Theatre. Alumnus, The Drama League Directors Project. MFA, UCSD. Member, SDC.

BROADWAY: Angels in America (Tony, Drama Desk nom.), Racing Demon, Dance With Me. ADDITIONAL THEATRE: Here There are Blueberries, Four Quartets, A Woman of the World, Wit (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, Connecticut Critics Circle, Obie Awards), For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday, A Walk in the Woods (Drama Desk nom.), Talking Heads (Obie Award), Nine Armenians (Drama Desk nomination), Henry V (Callaway Award). FILM: Old, Isn’t it Delicious?, Lillian, Duplicity, The People Speak, Lackawanna Blues, Perfect Stranger, Kinsey, Laramie Project, SELECT TELEVISION: Recurring on “The Affair,” “Bull,” “The Strain,” “The Americans,” “House of Cards,” “Rescue Me,”“The Guardian,” “One Life to Live”; “Madam Secretary,” “High Maintenance,” “Georgia O’Keeffe” (Lifetime), “Voices from the White House” (PBS). AWARDS: 2004 Lortel Award – Sustained Excellence of Performance, 2015 Lifetime Achievement – League of Professional Women. 2018 OBIE Award – Lifetime Achievement. Recipient of the Drama League and Sidney Kingsley Awards and holds an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Cooper Union.

Keen Company is a Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning Off-Broadway company creating theater that connects. In intimate productions of plays and musicals, we celebrate the complexities of hope and the joys of the human condition. In recent seasons, Keen has brought to the New York City stage: Crumbs from the Table of Joy by Lynn Nottage (first NY Revival), The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (first NY Revival), This Space Between Us by Peter Gil-Sheridan (World Premiere), Blues for an Alabama Sky by Pearl Cleage (NY Premiere), Molly Sweeney by Brian Friel, Surely Goodness and Mercy by Chisa Hutchinson (NY Premiere), Ordinary Days by Adam Gwon (first NY Revival, Drama League Nomination), Tick, Tick…BOOM! by Jonathan Larson (first NY Revival, Drama Desk Nomination), and a reimagined version of Marry Me a Little by Stephen Sondheim (Drama League Nomination). Keen also fosters mid-career playwrights through our Keen Playwrights Lab and mentors students from all five boroughs of NYC through our Keen Teens education program. In everything we do, Keen Company thrives through our welcoming ethos and community commitments. You’re invited to learn more at or connect @keencompany.


Bob & Priscilla Dannies

Presenting Sponsor

Dr. Craig M. Crews & Dr. Katherine C. McKenzie

Presenting Sponsor

Seedlings Foundation

Presenting Sponsor

Sandy Allison & Jim Horwitz

Production Sponsor

Nina Adams & Moreson Kaplan

Production Sponsor

Bill Graustein

Production Sponsor


Media Sponsor

Brenner, Saltzman and Wallman LLP

Show Patron

Cathy Edwards & Mike Wishnie

Show Patron

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