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The Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights of 2014-15 (Whose Name Is Not Shakespeare)

Who is the most-produced playwright in America? We’ll give you a hint: his last play was very Chekhov-ian.

Who is the most-produced playwright in America right now? That was the question that came to my mind when I undertook the (not really that fun) task of compiling the season listings for the 2014–15 season (which you can peruse in full if you pick up the October issue of American Theatre or if you just searched here).

In past years, we only printed the Top 10 Most-Produced Plays in America. Well, this year, I decided to do one better and include the Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights as well! Because data gathering is fun and everyone likes lists.

So without further preamble, here’s American Theatre’s Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights of the 2014-15 season (whose name is not Shakespeare*).

  • Christopher Durang: 28**
  • Sarah Ruhl (not including 1 adaptation): 18
  • Neil Simon: 18
  • John Patrick Shanley: 13
  • Anton Chekhov: 11
  • Tarell Alvin McCraney: 11
  • Tom Stoppard: 11
  • Arthur Miller (not including 2 adaptations): 10
  • August Wilson: 10
  • Amy Herzog: 10
  • Henrik Ibsen: 9
  • David Ives (not including 7 adaptations): 9
  • James Lapine***: 9
  • Sam Shepard: 9
  • Jon Robin Baitz: 8
  • Joshua Harmon: 8
  • Katori Hall: 8
  • Matthew Lopez: 8
  • Oscar Hammerstein: 8
  • Samuel D. Hunter: 8
  • Tennessee Williams: 8

*The Bard has 77 productions running this year (not including 11 adaptations). But if we included Shakespeare, then the No. 1 playwright slot every year would belong to him.

**Want to hear what Mr. Durang thinks about being so popular? Check out our interview with him here.

***Though he is not a playwright, Lapine’s frequent writing buddy Stephen Sondheim is the most-produced composer in America, with 20 productions under his belt this season.

Also note that similar to the Most-Produced Play list, this data is gathered from 404 TCG member 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.

  • Nit-picker

    From wikipedia, James Lapine is the Writer of the plays:
    Table Settings (also director) – 1979 and 1980 at Playwrights Horizons
    Twelve Dreams (also director) – 1978; 1981 Public Theater
    The Moment When – 2000 Playwrights Horizons, featuring Mark Ruffalo and Phyllis Newman
    Fran’s Bed (also director) – 2003, Long Wharf Theatre, starring Mia Farrow; 2005 Playwrights Horizons

    In other words, the sentence should probably be worded as “Lapine’s frequent collaborator, Stephen Sondheim – though he is not a playwright – is the most-produced composer in America with 20 productions last year.”

  • Nit-picker

    From wikipedia, James Lapine is the Writer of the plays:
    Table Settings (also director) – 1979 and 1980 at Playwrights Horizons
    Twelve Dreams (also director) – 1978; 1981 Public Theater
    The Moment When – 2000 Playwrights Horizons, featuring Mark Ruffalo and Phyllis Newman
    Fran’s Bed (also director) – 2003, Long Wharf Theatre, starring Mia Farrow; 2005 Playwrights Horizons

    In other words, the sentence should probably be worded as “Lapine’s frequent collaborator, Stephen Sondheim – though he is not a playwright – is the most-produced composer in America with 20 productions last year.”

  • Will Coleman

    James Lapine is “not a playwright?” Since when?

  • Guest

    James Lapine is “not a playwright?” Since when?

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