You’ve seen (and maybe argued about) our Top 10 Most-Produced Plays list. Now let the debate begin over the most-produced names in the country; goodness knows we’ve wanted to shout these names from the rooftop in the past few weeks.
We’re proud to present our Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights list for the 2015–16 season (Shakespeare not included; see note below). It took us 2,159 productions at 386 theatres* but we managed to cull and sort (and re-sort, thanks Microsoft Excel) it all down to the list that you see below. Have fun, analyze—and be sure to leave your reactions in the comments below.
TOP 20 MOST-PRODUCED PLAYWRIGHTS IN AMERICA IN 2015–16
- Ayad Akhtar: 21
- Tennessee Williams: 17
- Rick Elice: 17 (includes one cowriting credit)
- August Wilson: 16
- Sarah Ruhl: 15 (not including 1 classic play adaptation)
- Arthur Miller: 15
- John Patrick Shanley: 13
- Lauren Gunderson: 13
- Mark St. Germain: 10 (includes one cowriting credit)
- Dominique Morisseau: 10
- Eugene O’Neill: 10
- Ken Ludwig: 9 (includes one cowriting credit)
- Christopher Durang: 9
- Tom Stoppard: 9 (not including 1 classic play adaptation)
- Christopher Sergel: 9
- Aaron Posner: 9 (not including 3 classic play adaptations)
- Jonathan Tolins: 9 (includes one cowriting credit)
- Laura Eason: 9
- Steve Yockey: 9
- Terrence McNally: 9**
THINGS WE’VE NOTICED THIS YEAR
WHERE THERE’S WILL: Shakespeare productions are excluded from this and our Top 10 list. But Bardophiles, rejoice: Shakespeare will again be the most-produced playwright in America, with 99 productions (including adaptations) in 2015–16.
SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM: Though we don’t count composers on our Top 20 list, if we did, Stephen Sondheim would be on top: He will be the most-produced composer in America in the coming season, with 29 stagings.
SEASONS OF (PLAYWRITING) LOVE: On this year’s Top 20 list, we have some returnees from last year. Welcome back, Christopher Durang, Sarah Ruhl, John Patrick Shanley, Tom Stoppard, Arthur Miller, August Wilson, and Tennessee Williams.
PLAYWRIGHTS ON THE VERGE…: The gender breakdown on this list is 15 men, 4 women. Just 3 playwrights—Ayad Akhtar, August Wilson, and Dominique Morisseau—are non-white. Compared to last year’s Top 20 list—with 3 women to 17 men, and 4 playwrights of color—the trend lines are staying consistent, for better or worse).
*The information was culled from 386 member theatres of Theatre Communications Group, who self-reported their seasons to us, for a total of 2,159 productions between Sept. 1, 2015 and Aug. 31, 2016. All plays needed to be fully produced with at least a week’s worth of performances. You can find the complete list of 2,159 productions in the pages of American Theatre Oct. ’15 or in our online database at www.tcg.org/profiles.
**Due to a counting error which accidentally discounted the two musicals produced by Terrence McNally, he was left off of an earlier version of the Top 20 list, as well as the list as it appears in print. We have reinstated his two musicals, which bumps his total productions this season up to 9, pushing Anne Washburn off the list (who had 8 productions). Our apologies, Terrence and Anne!