Last week, American Theatre magazine released its list of the most produced playwrights this season. Even if you’re not really into commercial theatre, the lists may still prove themselves relevant to understand the theatre of the now… the produced theatre of the now. It’s also important to note that plays by Shakespeare are discounted from both lists. As well as A Christmas Carol. This year American Theatre even hosted a live event via Facebook to make its announcement. Winners were in attendance and received their very first copies of the magazine.
TOP 20 MOST-PRODUCED PLAYWRIGHTS OF 2017-18
- Lauren Gunderson: 27
(including 8 co-writing credits)
- Simon Stephens: 19
- Lee Hall: 15
- Lisa Kron: 15
(including 13 co-writing credits)
- Dominique Morisseau: 15
- Arthur Miller: 14
- Ayad Akhtar: 13
- Quiara Alegría Hudes: 10
(including 5 co-writing credits)
- Jordan Harrison: 10
- Ken Ludwig: 9
- Tennessee Williams: 9
- August Wilson: 9
(not including UniSon by UNIVERSES, which uses Wilson’s poetry)
- Branden Jacobs-Jenkins: 9
- Kate Hamill: 9
- Lucas Hnath: 9
- Aaron Posner: 8
- Eugene O’Neill: 8
- Lorraine Hansberry: 8
- Mark St. Germain: 8
- Oscar Wilde: 8
Click here to check out American theatre’s full article.
What’s exciting about this list? We have a female identifying playwright at the top! Lauren Gunderson has been hanging out on this list for a couple of years and she’s finally reached the top. Finally got to read her play, Silent Sky, this past summer and absolutely loved it. Gunderson is known for her love of science and empowering female narratives. “I like to think that I write plays about hard hope. Most of them end with a theatrical blast off into a future that might not be easy but is worth living in, worth fighting for, worth the hard hope it takes to make better for more of us,” says Gunderson.
- Six out of twenty of the playwrights are female identifying.
- Fourteen of the twenty of the playwrights are male identifying.
- Seven out of twenty of the playwrights are non-white.
- Thirteen out of twenty of the playwrights are white.
- Fourteen out of twenty of the playwrights are contemporary.
- Adaptations were very prominent this year.
“There shouldn’t be real competition in theatre so I hope this whole list is seen as a big win for diversity and empowerment in dramatic storytelling,” says Gunderson. It’s a big win, yes. But I would’t call it a huge victory. Are we making strides? Yes. But are we finished. I hope not. Progress is still to be made as we continue on to future years of theatrical season planning.
TOP 10 MOST-PRODUCED PLAYS OF 2017-18
- Shakespeare in Love, adapted for the stage by Lee Hall, based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard: 15
- Fun Home, adapted by Lisa Kron, based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, lyrics by Kron, and music by Jeanine Tesori: 12
- Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau: 11
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, adapted by Simon Stephens from the novel by Mark Haddon: 9
- Marjorie Prime by Jordan Harrison: 9
- The Humans by Stephen Karam: 8
- A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry: 8
- Heisenberg by Simon Stephens: 8
- Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon: 8
- Sense and Sensibility (all adaptations): 8
adapted by Kate Hamill from Jane Austen: 7
adapted by Emma Whipday and Brian McMahon: 1
Click here to check out the full article.