50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (2023)

Table of Contents
Best plays of all time 1.Hamlet by William Shakespeare 2.Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O'Neill 3.Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee 4.Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller 5.Oedipus Rex by Sophocles 6.Angels in America by Tony Kushner 7.The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams 8.A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry 9.Woyzeck by Georg Büchner 10.Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett 11.The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco 12.Look Back in Anger by John Osborne 13.Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen 14.The Homecoming by Harold Pinter 15.Machinal by Sophie Treadwell 16.Fences by August Wilson 17.Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov 18.Tartuffe by Moliere 19.What the Butler Saw by Joe Orton 20.Uncommon Women and Others by Wendy Wasserstein 21.This Is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan 22.Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard 23.The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer 24.Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks 25.Candida by George Bernard Shaw 26.Playboy of the Western World by J.M. Synge 27.The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde 28.Awake and Sing! by Clifford Odets 29.The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan 30.Stuff Happens by David Hare 31.Life With Father by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse 32.Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare 33.Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill 34.Volpone by Ben Jonson 35.Ruined by Lynn Nottage 36.Our Town by Thornton Wilder 37.The Vortex by Noël Coward 38.She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith 39.Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht 40.John by Annie Baker 41.Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris 42.Master Harold…and the boys by Athol Fugard 43.The Women by Claire Booth Luce 44.The Humans by Stephen Karam 45.M Butterfly by David Henry Hwang 46.Fefu and Her Friends by María Irene Fornés 47.Short Eyes by Miguel Pinero 48.Everyman by Unknown 49.Dutchman by LeRoi Jones 50.The Persians by Aeschylus Looking for more of the best in theater? FAQs Videos
50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (1)

From Greek tragedy to Shakespearean comedy and modern dramas, we've ranked the best plays ever

Written by

Andy Propst

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New York is practically synonymous with theater, and fromBroadwaytoOff BroadwaytoOff-Off Broadway, there are countless opportunities to see top-notch dramatic works. Of the countlessshows that have been produced since the dawn of performance, it’s nearly impossible to choose the best plays. But we’ve done just that with our list of the best plays of all time.

What does it mean tosay whichplays are the best? Quality, popularity, universality, influence and historical importance all factored into the decision-making process. From Greek tragedies andShakespearean comediestoTony Awardwinners and modern experimental theater, this opinionated list by the late theater journalist and critic and Andy Propst covers some truly excellent works (though we're leavingBroadway musicalsfor another day). Read on and let the debates begin!

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Best plays of all time

50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (3)

1.Hamlet by William Shakespeare

What doesn't this tragedy have? There's sublime poetry, rich psychology for characters of both sexes, a hefty dose of comedy to leaven the mood, and, depending on a director's interpretation, a crackling good mystery lying underneath the tale of "The Melancholy Dane." Shakespeare took a standard-issue—for the period—genre and used it to create a monument in Western literature, dramatic or non. This play can be debated and dissected ad infinitum.

50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (4)

2.Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O'Neill

This autobiographical play about O'Neill's young adulthood scorches from start to finish. You can feel the rawness as soon as it starts, as a man—along with his two adult sons—strives to ensure that his wife remains serene after a stint in rehab for morphine addiction. It goes downhill from there as she starts using again and all three guys hit the bottle. Written from a place of utter rawness, this drama stands at a pinnacle of the American family drama.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (5)

3.Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee

The language of theater—not in the stagecraft sense, but in the actual dialogue sense—became something new with this lacerating 1962 drama. Two couples at a tiny New England liberal arts college drunkenly go at each other from the wee hours of the morning until almost dawn. Their weapons are their words, and what words they are. Erudition and profanity blend to lyrical heights as secrets, resentments, and even genuine affection are revealed.

50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (6)

4.Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

"Attention must be paid." Indeed. Not just to Willy Loman and the sad realities of his life as a mediocre traveling salesman and the delusions that barely keep him afloat, but also to Miller's exquisite modern tragedy about an average Joe. Both grittily naturalistic and ethereally dream-like, this one punches the audience in the gut time and again simply because it allows us to witness his heartbreaking final downfall while also allowing us to go inside his mind to seemingly feel his deep-seated pain.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (7)

5.Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

Used as the exemplar of dramatic writing in Aristotle's Poetics, this Greek tragedy remains a pillar of playwriting. Before walking into a production or picking up a copy of the script, we all know that King Oedipus has killed his father, married his mother, etc. And yet Sophocles' slow reveal of the truths of the monarch’s life and the pride that sets him and his family spiraling toward a tragic downfall never ceases to be genuinely compelling. This one stands the test of time simply because it's good stage storytelling.

50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (8)

6.Angels in America by Tony Kushner

Its two parts, Millennium Approaches and Perestroika, give theatergoers a whirlwind trip through stories ranging from a man's battle with AIDS to über-Republican Roy Cohn's homophobia and his own realization that he also has the disease, and from the Rosenbergs' legacy to a Mormon couple's struggle with his gayness and her drug addiction. Digressions include fever dreams and trips to the heavens. It's all exactly what Kushner promises in the piece's subtitle: "A Gay Fantasia on National Themes," and the boldness Kushner's storytelling and unbridled imagination means that this one thrills.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (9)

7.The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

As with so many others on this list, Williams is a playwright whose works could take up several entries. Choosing Menagerie over, say,A Streetcar Named Desire or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof comes down to this: Menagerie is his breakthrough work that introduced his unique brand of theatrical lyricism to the world. And while some of his other plays go farther in terms of stretching stage conventions or tackling weightier issues, this one takes a gentle sliver of a story and turns it into something magical.

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8.A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Hansberry broke a barrier with this drama about an African-American family attempting to better itself by moving to a new neighborhood; she became the first Black woman to have a play produced on Broadway. It's not just this factor that puts Raisin on this list. As we saw with not one but two fine revivals in a period of 10 years, Raisin speaks to audiences of all races and generations because its plot elements and themes cut across ethnic and chronological divides.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (11)

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9.Woyzeck by Georg Büchner

Although this uncompleted script about a soldier's descent into madness was written in the early 19th century, it feels much more like an experimental drama from 100 years later. Part of the reason for this is the fact that it is indeed unfinished and hence sketchy. But Büchner also pioneers objectifying characters by using only their titles to identify them and commandingly sets a standard for dramatizing fever dreams and his central character's fragile grasp on reality.

50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (12)

10.Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

A new era in playwriting dawned with the debut of this play in 1948. Beckett eschewed standard plot in this piece about two tramps on a mostly barren plain waiting for someone named, obviously, Godot. When he doesn't show in the first act, they do it again with variations in the second. Are they waiting for some sort of perverse God? Is Beckett simply depicting the mundane realities of daily existence in the play? Both? Regardless, Godot brought abstraction center stage and did and still does it beautifully.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (13)

11.The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco

The life of the complacent bourgeois—and by extension the worlds of many theatergoers—got put through an absurdist prism in this French classic that simultaneously blew the roof off the houses where drawing-room comedies had traditionally taken place. Language, narrative, and character all get zanily and incisively fractured in this play about two couples and the two evenings they spend visiting one another. When the piece debuted in 1950, no one had never seen anything quite like it.

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12.Look Back in Anger by John Osborne

Wouldn't it be great to write a play that inspired a label for work from an entire generation of writers? This 1956 drama did just that as it took middle age (mostly) out of playwriting and instead offered up a picture of life among a group of discontent British twentysomethings, pulling English drama out of parlors, dining rooms, and genteel patios, and into cramped inner-city apartment squalor. Long live the "angry young man play."

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (15)

13.Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen

What's a woman in a terrible marriage supposed to do? Norwegian playwright Ibsen gave us a number of answers in his career. With Hedda, the only escape turns out to be suicide. Hedda doesn't strike quite the same feminist blow as another of Ibsen's plays (A Doll's House, where the Nora just leaves), but that's why Hedda is here. This play demonstrates incontrovertibly Ibsen's determination to make his audiences consider feminist issues in the 19th century by presenting them with such a grim outcome.

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14.The Homecoming by Harold Pinter

A guy brings home his girlfriend to meet the family. It's a simple premise that Pinter turns into a debatable conundrum as he makes action and dialogue concurrently realistic and opaque, both ordinary and menacing. Much of this has to do with the fabled "Pinter Pause," which simply mirrors the way we often respond to each other in conversation, tossing in remainders of thoughts on one subject well after having moved on to another.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (17)

15.Machinal by Sophie Treadwell

Expressionism and feminism collide in this 1928 play that explores how many women were just disposable objects as the last century dawned. For the heroine of this sometimes-harrowing play, life moves from an office job to marriage to the electric chair with cruel intensity. It's become a mainstay of both the stage and the classroom for good reason.

50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (18)

16.Fences by August Wilson

Theoretically any of Wilson's 10 plays chronicling the African-American experience in Pittsburgh during the last century would easily fit onto this list, but this one stands apart from the others because of its tremendous heart and its commanding central figure who reaches almost tragic dimensions. It's little wonder that the play, set in the 1950s and centering on a former Negro league baseball pitcher struggling to provide for his family and battling against his bitterness, has attracted actors such as James Earl Jones and Denzel Washington.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (19)

17.Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov

Why Vanya and not The Seagull or Cherry Orchard or Three Sisters, you may ask? Ultimately, for me, this one comes down to scope. All of Chekhov's meticulously observed plays find both the comedy and tragedy in ordinary lives. What sets this one apart from the others is its relative quietness as it looks at small crises in an extended family's everyday existence, becoming something of a benchmark for brooding family drama.

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18.Tartuffe by Moliere

Simultaneously riotous and scathing, this comedy explores and exposes the hypocrisy that can often lie underneath religious fervor and the lengths to which a zealot's followers will go to protect him or her and their beliefs. The play might have been originally written as an indictment of members of Louis XIV's court, but this satire has the ability to speak to almost any age.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (21)

19.What the Butler Saw by Joe Orton

With this play Orton takes the British sex farce (and to a lesser extent the British procedural) to the dark side as the insanities of a mental health clinic rise to both bizarre and hilarious heights. Orton tackles everything from sexual and gender politics to governmental ineptitude in this iconoclastic play from the late 1960s that seems particularly apt for revival right now.

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20.Uncommon Women and Others by Wendy Wasserstein

Wasserstein won the Pulitzer for The Heidi Chronicles, but well before that look at life in post-feminist America she wrote this touchingly funny play about a group of Mount Holyoke alums traversing feminism's second wave. As the piece works backward through time from 1978 to 1972, what emerges is a cunning portrait of women during a period when possibilities seemed both infinite and curiously limited.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (23)

21.This Is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan

Lonergan's play about a trio of young people hanging out, squabbling over a coke deal, and looking for some sense of direction in the early years of the Reagan era follows in the footsteps of the British "angry young man" plays. The fact that it premiered about 10 years after the period in which it's set gave (and gives) this funny/sad piece a haunting resonance for Gen Xers.

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22.Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard

What happened when Hamlet wasn't at the forefront of events in Elsinore? It's not a question that many would have considered, but leave it to Stoppard's fertile brain to latch onto the question and answer it with a rip-roaring riff on a classic. His ability to mirror the events of his source material and echo its existentialist themes only makes R&G more impressive. It's another debut work whose promise was fulfilled repeatedly over the years, in plays ranging from Arcadia to Jumpers and the elephantine Coast of Utopia trilogy.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (25)

23.The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer

The energy and anger of a community—and the playwright himself—make this play about the earliest days of the AIDS crisis vibrate with passion and intensity even 30 years after its premiere. Kramer's achievement in this snapshot of events from the early 1980s is twofold: It works as a standalone drama for the ages and retains its edge as a damning piece of political theater from the shameful period in the country's history.

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24.Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks

Critics and audiences alike had come to savor Parks' ability to challenge our ideas about race, history, and relationships with poetic and often opaque plays before this 2001 piece debuted. Her unique gifts coalesced and found a wider audience with this play about two brothers (named Booth and Lincoln) whose existences are irrevocably and tragically intertwined. It's a drama that works both as a family drama and as profound investigation about the legacy of slavery. Small wonder it’s a Pulitzer winner.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (27)

25.Candida by George Bernard Shaw

What to do about Shaw? So many of his plays zing as comedies and also still work as social commentary. Looking over his canon (pun sort of intended), it struck me that this one of the "Plays Pleasant" series might be most important. It's a simple play, about a young poet who thinks he needs to "rescue" a woman away from her clergyman husband, that bristles with Shavian wit and pointed political and social debate, ultimately shimmering as a shrewd consideration of love and marriage in Victorian England—or really any period.

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26.Playboy of the Western World by J.M. Synge

The Aristotelian notion that a tragic hero needs to be noble gets thrown out the window in this play about a man who's heralded as a hero for having killed his father in self-defense only to be reviled by those who had cheered him when it turns out the old man was only wounded. The play sparked riots when it premiered in 1907, and while it no longer has the ability to inspire that level of passion, the play is a touchstone for the sort of dark Irish dramas we now expect from the likes of Conor McPherson and Martin McDonagh.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (29)

27.The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

This quintessential comedy of manners has retained its ability to tickle audiences for over 100 years. It's also been an inspiration for numerous writers who have adapted it to suit changing times. Wilde's unparalleled ability to spin cutting epigrams is only one of the reasons that this piece has endured. There's also his genteel mockery of classism and chauvinism. Like the watercress sandwiches that are consumed in the play, it's always a refreshing treat.

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28.Awake and Sing! by Clifford Odets

Tensions run high in this play about three generations of a Bronx Jewish family and each one's pursuit of the American Dream. Can one achieve it while also remaining true to one's heritage? It's a question that immigrants have had to ponder in any decade, and as evidenced by the NAATCO revival in 2015 this kitchen-sink drama poignantly transcends race and religion.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (31)

29.The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan

This 18th-century confection skewers the mores and mouths of London's elite as they backstab one another with gossip. It's best served up in an era in which society is itself preying on dirt and innuendo, and for better or worse we're never quite far away from that. Thus, it's a piece that has remained timely and delightful through the centuries.

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30.Stuff Happens by David Hare

Hare borrowed a phrase from Donald Rumsfeld and adopted a Shakespearean flair for both fact and fiction for this play about the events that led up to the Iraq War. Parts of the play are taken verbatim speeches, press conferences and meeting transcripts. Other portions are imagined versions of meetings that took place between elected and other government officials. The result was one of the most impressive political dramas to emerge in recent memory.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (33)

31.Life With Father by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse

Of all the plays on this list, this might be the "sturdiest" and probably the most old-fashioned. Yet this lithesome comedy about a woman's fears that her husband was never baptized has a unique place in theater annals. Until Fiddler on the Roof came along, Life was the longest-running show in Broadway history, and as late as 1987 it was among the top five long runs. Until a theater is willing to revive it, take a look at the delightful 1947 movie version.

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32.Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

The Bard of Avon is the only writer to get two slots on this list. Twelfth Night has made it because it represents, to me, all of the best elements of Shakespeare's romances: mistaken identities, low comedy among the servants, and some of his most gorgeous poetry. The cross-dressing of one character also gives the play, for modern audiences, a homoerotic vibe, and this aspect, combined with a certain darkness in the end, makes the play feel unquestionably contemporary.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (35)

33.Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill

The lives of the British elite in Victorian-era India and among a group of modern-day Londoners have striking similarities in this gender-bending play. Churchill brings both humor and compassion to her characters and their worlds, and in the process creates a play that can concurrently move theatergoers emotionally and provoke thought. Originally seen in 1979, the play established a new benchmark for theatrical conversations about race and gender politics.

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34.Volpone by Ben Jonson

An already wealthy man sets out to increase his fortune by duping his friends into thinking he's at death's door. Avaricious as he is, they all shower him with presents with the expectation that they'll receive his money when he dies. Garrulously sexual and wildly satiric (the characters' Italianate names are references to animals ranging from fox to crow to vulture), this comedy has lasted simply because we have yet to live in an era in which greed has gone out of style.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (37)

35.Ruined by Lynn Nottage

Inspired by another play on the list (Brecht's Mother Courage), this play expands on the idea of a woman earning her wages off the war and places it squarely in the 20th century and in particular the middle of the civil war–torn Congolese republic. Nottage's prize-winning play depicts with warmth and reality the desperate plight that women faced during the war, and rather than condemning the central character's actions, the play boldly allows audiences to see that in desperate times unbearable and unthinkable choices must be made.

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36.Our Town by Thornton Wilder

So homespun. So traditional. It's taught to teenagers around the country. Yet this 1938 work was a game-changer. Wilder did away with sets, brought a "stage manager" in front of the audience to help move them through the New England town of Grover's Corners, and in the process created a transcendent play about human existence, from cradle to, quite literally, grave. It's a work that has inspired generations of writers and moved theatergoers around the world.

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37.The Vortex by Noël Coward

Yes, everyone thinks about the frothy farcesPrivate Lives and Blithe Spirit when Sir Noël Coward's name comes up, but here's the one that made his reputation. It's a potboiler of sorts that exposes the extravagance of British youth during the height of the Jazz Age and the privileged Edwardian culture that gave rise to them and their behavior. Drug abuse and a hefty dose of Oedipal love spice up the drama, and all the while Coward's dry wit sparkles.

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38.She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith

This 18th-century comedy makes the list because of its enduring popularity (we don't see many plays from the era over and over) and because it is a clever amalgam of a host of theatrical comedic genres, encompassing romance, satire, and farce. It's these different aspects that have allowed the piece to endure through the centuries, each speaking with a clear voice to new generations.

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50 Best Plays of All Time: Comedies, Tragedies and Dramas Ranked (41)

39.Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht

This saga about a woman who makes her living from the soldiers fighting on both sides of the Thirty Years War has proven remarkably versatile since its premiere in 1939. Brecht's depiction of how Courage's business tears her three adult children from her has been reset in periods and on continents far away from its original location of Europe, thanks to the story's universal themes about war profiteers and the human cost of warfare.

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40.John by Annie Baker

A couple takes refuge in a small bed and breakfast after spending holidays with the woman's family. Tensions run high between them, and while the charming tchotchke-filled inn might seem to be the place where frayed nerves could be soothed, it proves to be anything but. Baker's simultaneously warmhearted and spooky play proves to be a heartbreaker, investigating the infinitesimal moments that combine to propel all of our lives and relationships.

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41.Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris

In this 2010 dramedy Norris takes audiences into the Chicago house that is the focus of the Younger family's dreams and aspirations in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, both in the days preceding that family's potential move there and then, five decades later. In the process he provides shrewd insights into the delicate threads that tie a community together and the stronger forces of bigotry and self-interest that can brutally snap them. This Pulitzer Prize winner remarkably expands upon a landmark drama with crackling humor and insight.

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42.Master Harold…and the boys by Athol Fugard

The Signature Theatre Company's recent revival of this 1982 play set in 1950s South Africa demonstrated that it still has the power to move audiences. Originally banned in Fugard's homeland, the play—about a white teenager and the two African men who work for his parents as servants—systematically depicts and denounces the psychological and governmental prejudices and divides that Apartheid visited upon generations.

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43.The Women by Claire Booth Luce

The lives and loves of Upper East Side society doyennes get put under the microscope in this 1936 play. Luce's willingness to depict the women's bitchiness and the characters' dependence on the men in their lives has made some think of it as being antithetical to the feminist movement. Ultimately, though, the piece, which has an all-female cast, does reveal the women's individual and collective strengths, striking, if not a feminist blow, a pro-female stance.

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44.The Humans by Stephen Karam

In this acclaimed drama a family's seemingly innocuous Thanksgiving gathering on the Lower East Side beats in tune with the tense pulse of the country as fears about financial security, aging, relationships, and more bubble to the service. A quiet rumination in the style of Chekhov or Thornton Wilder, the play quickly moved from its berth Off Broadway to one on Broadway, where it served as an eerie reflection of a nation.

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45.M Butterfly by David Henry Hwang

Sometimes truth is indeed stranger than fiction, as was demonstrated by the real-life story of a French diplomat who maintained a sexual relationship with a male Peking opera singer for years, all the while remaining oblivious to the performer's gender. Hwang astutely saw the story's theatrical possibilities and created a piece that thrillingly explores racial and sexual stereotypes. It was a groundbreaker in 1988 and, among other honors, was a finalist for the Pulitzer.

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46.Fefu and Her Friends by María Irene Fornés

Fornés impact on playwriting cannot be underestimated, not one but two generations of Latino and Latina playwrights studied with the dramatist. Although her 14th play, Fefu and Her Friends was Fornés breakthrough work, simultaneously naturalistic and presentational as it depicts a gathering of women in various locations over the course of a day. Because of its demands on theatermakers, we don't see it often, but when Fefu is produced it’s a reminder that interactive and environmental theater started well before Sleep No More.

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47.Short Eyes by Miguel Pinero

From one of the co-founders of the Nuyorican Poets Café, Short Eyes plunges its audiences into gritty realities of life behind bars. Pinero's own incarceration at Sing Sing inspired many pieces of the drama that eventually hit Broadway in 1974 (courtesy of Joseph Papp and the New York Shakespeare Festival), where it picked up a bevy of award nominations, becoming the first play by a Latino writer to be nominated for a Tony Award as best play.

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48.Everyman by Unknown

Although this medieval morality play rarely takes to the stage anymore, its position of importance in theatrical history cannot be underestimated. At a time when plays were pageants that reenacted stories from the bible, this one incorporated a fictional narrative to serve up roughly the same lessons (or morals). Is it Marlowe or Shakespeare? No. But it did pave the way for these poet-dramatists and many others.

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49.Dutchman by LeRoi Jones

In 1964 this play about a white woman and an African-American man's encounter on the New York City subway unflinchingly explored race relations not just in Manhattan but also across the country. Both naturalistic and allegorical, the play continues to pulse with urgency, as was evidenced in a 2007 revival at the Cherry Lane Theatre that starred Dulé Hill.

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50.The Persians by Aeschylus

This tragedy about a Persian king's disastrous war against the Greeks is the oldest play that we know in Western drama. Theatrical day one, so to speak. Beyond the play being the starting point for drama as we know it, the piece can also have exceptional timeliness in today's world. Aeschylus' depiction of a son attempting to wage a war against an enemy who defeated his father certainly had resonance during the second Bush presidency.

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    1Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett 3.84 avg rating — 186,790 ratings score: 1,240, and 13 people voted
    2The Crucible by Arthur Miller 3.60 avg rating — 379,966 ratings score: 1,094, and 13 people voted
    3A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams 3.98 avg rating — 292,986 ratings score: 959, and 10 people voted
    38 more rows
    Oct 4, 2010

    What are the 4 types of plays? ›

    Shakespearean critics have broken the plays into four categories: tragedies, comedies, histories, and "problem plays." This list contains some of the plays that fall into each category.

    What play is considered the greatest tragedy ever written? ›

    King Lear is considered to be one of the finest tragedies ever written. It is a story that deals with family, madness, and human suffering.

    What is considered the greatest American play? ›

    Fittingly, the most historic American play is the one most often described as Greek in scope and tragedy: Arthur Miller's “Death of a Salesman” — a working-class “Oedipus Rex.”

    Which play is known as the best play 1957? ›

    Written in 1957 and produced in 1958, Pinter's second play, The Birthday Party, one of his best-known works, was initially both a commercial and critical disaster, despite an enthusiastic review in The Sunday Times by its influential drama critic Harold Hobson, which appeared only after the production had closed and ...

    What was the funnest decade? ›

    The 1980s were a time of great pop culture including some of the best movies, music, TV shows, and toys of all time. It is the decade most often associated with nostalgia and the style, and memories of the decade, continue to live on.

    What are the 16 play types? ›

    Deep play can happen alongside any of the other types of play – Creative play, communication play, dramatic play, exploratory play, fantasy play, locomotor play, imaginative play, mastery play, object play, recapitulative play, role play, rough and tumble play, social play, symbolic play and socio-dramatic play.

    What are the 7 types of play? ›

    The types of play include physical, dramatic, sensory, nature, music and art, and age-appropriate play. Children need the various types of play in order to support and facilitate meaningful learning opportunities as they develop language, motor, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities.

    Who is the most famous playwright of all time? ›

    Shakespeare is undeniably one of the most successful playwrights to ever live, with theatres and schools being dedicated to him today – his works have been translated into every living language and are more performed than those of any other playwright in history.

    Who is America's greatest playwright? ›

    Through most of the 20th century, there was no contest for the title of America's greatest playwright. Eugene O'Neill's standing appeared to be secure not merely in theatrical and intellectual circles but also among the middlebrows: he was awarded four Pulitzer Prizes and won the Nobel for good measure.

    What is the oldest and best known type of drama? ›

    Aeschylus' historical tragedy The Persians is the oldest surviving drama, although when it won first prize at the City Dionysia competition in 472 BC, he had been writing plays for more than 25 years.

    What is the most tragic love story? ›

    Romeo & Juliet is the quintessential tragic love story, as evidenced by its countless stagings and numerous film adaptations.

    Who were the 3 best known tragedy playwrights? ›

    The three great playwrights of tragedy were Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.

    What is the best musical in America? ›

    How many have you seen?
    1. Singin' in the Rain (1952) Singin' in the Rain (1952) ...
    2. West Side Story (1961) West Side Story (1961) ...
    3. The Wizard of Oz (1939) The Wizard of Oz (1939) ...
    4. The Sound of Music (1965) The Sound of Music (1965) ...
    5. Cabaret (1972) Cabaret (1972) ...
    6. Mary Poppins (1964) ...
    7. A Star Is Born (1954) ...
    8. My Fair Lady (1964)

    Where can I find good plays? ›

    Check out our list of websites where you can visit to read plays for free.
    • Play At Home. ...
    • Playscripts's Free Reads Corner. ...
    • The Folger Shakespeare Library's Digital Archives. ...
    • Lazy Bee Scripts. ...
    • Scribd Free 30-Day Trial. ...
    • Read Print. ...
    • OpenLibrary. ...
    • SimplyScripts.
    Jul 15, 2022

    Who were the 2 most famous playwrights? ›

    Best Playwrights of all Time
    • William Shakespeare. 1564 – 1616 (England) ...
    • Anton Chekhov. 1860 – 1904 (Russia) ...
    • Sophocles. 497 – 406 BC (Greece) ...
    • Arthur Miller. 1915 – 2005 (America) ...
    • Henrik Ibsen. 1828 – 1906 (Norway) ...
    • Samuel Beckett. 1856 – 1950 (Ireland) ...
    • Moliere. 1622 – 1673 (France) ...
    • Tennessee Williams. 1911 – 1983 (America)
    Mar 10, 2012

    What plays were popular in the 1950s? ›

    Peter Pan, West Side Story, and Flower Drum Song were just a few of the many captivating musicals created in the 1950's.

    What was a sad play called? ›

    Tragedies – these plays focus on a tragic hero (or couple, as in Romeo and Juliet) whose downfall is brought about through weakness or misfortune of some kind.

    What is a play about a play called? ›

    The mise en abyme has been used for hundreds of years in the form of a play within a play. Throughout history, writers have used plays or stories to highlight an emotion or a plot point.

    Who is the No 1 player in the world? ›

    1. Lionel Messi (PSG)

    Who is the 1 best player in the world? ›

    #1. Lionel Messi (PSG & Argentina) (Total Football Goals: 804) 18 Dec. 2022. Lionel Messi, playing in his 2nd Football World Cup final, won against Mbappe and France.

    Who is the greatest player of the decade? ›

    Messi won four of his six Ballon d'Ors in the decade as well as The Best and Laureus Prize and was included in FIFA's XI in every year.

    What has gotten better in the last 20 years? ›

    What's Gotten Better in the Past 20 Years?
    • Home entertainment. ...
    • Crime rates. ...
    • Micromobility options. ...
    • Better cannabis quality. ...
    • Information access: ...
    • Acceptance of neurodiversity. ...
    • Attitudes toward LGBTQ people and their treatment under the law: ...
    • Convenience food options.
    Aug 31, 2021

    What is the 10s decade called? ›

    The 2010s (pronounced ''"twenty-tens"; shortened to "the '10s" also known as "The Tens" or more rarely "The Teens") was a decade that began on January 1, 2010, and ended on December 31, 2019.

    What was 10 years called? ›

    Word forms: decades

    A decade is a period of ten years, especially one that begins with a year ending in 0, for example, 1980 to 1989.

    What are the 5 types of play? ›

    Types of play
    • Physical play. Physical play can include dancing or ball games. ...
    • Social play. By playing with others, children learn how to take turns, cooperate and share. ...
    • Constructive play. Constructive play is where children experiment with drawing, music and building things. ...
    • Fantasy play. ...
    • Games with rules.

    What are the 6 types of play? ›

    Parten's 6 Stages of Play
    • Unoccupied play. This type of play sets the foundation for the stages that follow. ...
    • Solitary play. This type of play occurs when little ones are exploring on their own. ...
    • Onlooker play. ...
    • Parallel play. ...
    • Associative play. ...
    • Cooperative play.

    What are the 7 play urges? ›

    Take note of urges during play
    • Transporting:
    • Trajectory:
    • Transforming:
    • Enclosing:
    • Enveloping:
    • Rotation:
    • Orientation:
    • Positioning or ordering:
    Jan 26, 2021

    What does play 21 mean? ›

    Updated March 20, 2020. 21 is a common basketball variation usually played by at least three players on a half-court. The game is individually-based and the object is to score exactly 21 points before your opponents.

    Why is Shakespeare considered the greatest of all time? ›

    His plays give us the greatest sense of the value of human life; of how people live; of how people love and of the importance of human relationships than any other writers of his time or of any other time. Shakespeare's plays are as popular as they are because he was perhaps the greatest writer who has ever lived.

    What two plays are considered Shakespeare's greatest? ›

    What two plays are considered Shakespeare's greatest or most famous? Two plays that are Shakespeare's greatest are Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet.

    What is the greatest play in college football history? ›

    Known as the "Hail Flutie," it was the play that pretty much won Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie the Heisman Trophy. It's also one of the greatest plays in all of sports history.

    Who is the greatest living playwright? ›

    This exhibition was held to mark the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

    What was Shakespeare's least popular play? ›

    We've divided them into four categories of saturation – mainstream, popular, niche and underground. If you know Pericles (the least-known play) you're a die-hard fan – more so than someone who knows King Lear (niche, with 17%).

    What is the most viewed Shakespeare play? ›

    A Midsummer Night's Dream is Shakespeare's most popular play both in the United States and abroad.

    What did Shakespeare say best? ›

    If music be the food of love, play on.” “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” “Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.”

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