Wit received its world premiere at South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, California, in 1995.
Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Connecticut subsequently staged the play in November 1997, with Kathleen Chalfant in the lead role of Vivian Bearing. The play received its first New York City production Off-Broadway in September 1998, at the MCC Theater, with Chalfant reprising her role as Vivian Bearing and direction by Derek Anson Jones. An excerpt from the play was published in the New York Times in September 1998. Chalfant received strong praise for her performance. She also incorporated her own life experience into her work on the play, including the final illness and death of her brother Alan Palmer from cancer. The play moved to the Union Square Theater in December 1998, after its successful initial run in New York City. The lighting design for this production was by Michael Chybowski, the set design by Myung Hee Cho, the costume design by Ilona Somogyi, and the sound design and original music was by David Van Tieghem.
The Manhattan Theatre Club presented the Broadway premiere at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in a three-month run, starting in January 2012 and closing on March 17, 2012. The production starred Cynthia Nixon and was directed by Lynne Meadow. The set design was by Santo Loquasto, costume design was by Jennifer von Mayrhauser, lighting design was by Peter Kaczorowski.
On the cover of the published book of the play, the use of a semicolon in place of the letter i gives W;t as one representation of the play's title. In the context of the play, the semicolon refers to the recurring theme of the use of a semicolon versus a comma in one of John Donne's Holy Sonnets. Both Wit and W;t have been used in various articles on the play for the title.
Elizabeth Klaver has discussed in detail the philosophical issues of "mind vs body" in the context of Wit.