If you’re an avid reader of American Theatre, you may have consulted our OnStage schedules section for what’s playing on a stage near you. One benefit of housing one of the largest listings of theatrical activity in the country is that after a while, you start to spot some trends, the most notable being which shows and which playwrights are getting the most play around the country.
Some metrics to get out of the way: This information is tallied from 404 theatres that self-reported their season to us. There were 1,876 entries that credited a playwright and/or a composer, and all productions are playing from Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015. For the numbers from past Top 10 lists, click here.
AMERICAN THEATRE’S TOP 10 MOST-PRODUCED PLAYS OF 2014-15 (Actually 11 Because of Ties)*
- Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang: 27**
- Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley: 10
- Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon: 8***
- Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz: 8****
- Around the World in 80 Days adapted from the novel by Jules Verne: 7(note, 6 for the Mark Brown adaptation and 1 for the Toby Hulse adaptation)
- Peter and the Starcatcher, adapted by Rick Elice from Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson: 7
- The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez: 7
- Tribes by Nina Raine: 7*****
- 4000 Miles by Amy Herzog: 6
- Into the Woods, book by James Lapine, music and lyricsby Stephen Sondheim: 6
- Venus in Fur by David Ives: 6
Want a more visual representation of the biggest plays this season? Look through our slideshow below. Want to know more about top play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike? Click here for a podcast interview with playwright Christopher Durang, and a roundtable of critics who’ve seen the show in various cities.
FUN FACTS FROM THIS YEAR’S TOP LISTS!
*American Theatre omits Shakespeare productions and holiday-themed shows A Christmas Carol and Santaland Diaries from the list. If we didn’t, they would show up every year and we would run out of ways to say, “The top play in the country is….Christmas Carol! Again!” But if you really want to know, this season, Christmas Carol is getting 46 productions, Santaland Diaries is getting 8 productions and the most-produced Shakespeare plays are A Midsummer Night’s Dream (10) and Romeo and Juliet (8).
**Christopher Durang’s Chekhovian Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike made the Top 10 list last year in eighth place, with 11 productions. That list, plus a 2013 best-play Tony Award, was apparently enough to propel Durang’s play to the top this year.
***American Theatre has printed the complete playscript to two of the Top 10 plays—Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon and 4000 Miles by Amy Herzog. We’re not saying we’re arbiters of not-for-profit theatre tastes, but…
****This marks the third year in a row that Jon Robin Baitz and Matthew Lopez and their plays (Other Desert Cities and The Whipping Man, respectively) have made the Top 10 list. Congratulations on those royalty checks, guys!
*****It seems last year’s female-packed Top 10 list was a temporary trend (last year, women made up half the list). The male/female ratio of this year’s list is 8:2.
The season schedules list contains 403 productions that are billed as world premieres, for those looking for the next hot playwright/play.