• stevesailer

    Thanks. Helpful list. It’s remarkable how few women playwrights there were relative to women novelists and women poets. Women screenwriters, such as Frances Marion and Anita Loos, were common in the 1920s.

  • Valerie BC

    Ms. Jonas: If you’re still receiving notices of comments on this article, several things. First, thank you. Second, “bird by bird”–I quote Annie Lamott all the time to my theatre & writing students. Third, Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, MA and WAM close by are stepping up in producing plays by women. Check them out! Hope in the under 2 years since you wrote this article that you’re seeing improvement elsewhere! Fourth, no Caryl Churchill, Paula Vogel, or–although her genre is not fictional drama–Anna Deveare Smith in your curriculum? Curious as to why. Fifth, I teach “Trifles” and “Raisin…” in my IB Theatre class, “Sorry, Wrong Number” (Lucille Fletcher) in Drama 1, and wrote my masters thesis with the beginning point of the Wharton-Fitch collaboration on THE HOUSE OF MIRTH. So enjoyable to read through your list.

  • Ruth Gordon’s autobiographical drama Years Ago opened at the Mansfield Theater in December of 1946 and ran for over 200 performances. It was filmed from her adaptation as The Actress in 1953.

  • ghorton

    and Susanna Centlivre, who was the most produced playwright in the English language between the early 1700s and the mid-1800s.

    • Susan Jonas

      I just realized that my Centlivre entry was not included. She is actually one of my favorite writers! Not sure what happened. Favorites include: The Basset Table (1705), The Busie Body (1709), The Wonder: A Woman Keeps a Secret (1714) (This play really canalized my realization that great classical work by women existed afertr seeing a wonderful production directed by Liz Swain.), and my favorite, the highly produceable A Bold Stroke for a Wife (1718).

      • timhulsey

        Lucky! I can only say I saw a badly mutilated version of “Basset Table” at the Folger some years back.

  • RoBow

    Great list!
    I wonder if it’s ok to suggest: Mercy Otis Warren, Judith Sargent Murray, Susanna Haswell Rowson, Marguerite Bleecker Faugeres, Louisa Medina, Charlotte Barnes Connor, Elizabeth Ellet, Frances Wright, Mary Carr Clarke, Sarah Pogson, Martha Johnson, Pauline Hopkins, Mrs. Marriott, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Ruth Landshoff-Yorck, Ursule Molinaro, as well as Roslyn Drexler, Claris Nelson, Megan Terry, Ruth Krauss, Julie Bavasso, Stephanie Sills, Rochelle Owens, Diane DiPrima, Mary Mitchell, Sally Ordway, Susan Yankowitz, Christina (Chryse) Maile, Dolores Walker, Gwen Gunn, and Patricia Horan. etc…

    • ghorton

      Mercy Otis Warren is unplayable — and nearly unreadable!

      • Susan Jonas


    • Susan Jonas

      I was focused on pre-contemporary so really up through the Sixties, but great to have homework! Some of these names are new to me. Thanks.

  • Lisa Hirsch

    You might not be aware that Shotgun Players, on the Berkeley/Oakland border, is presenting a season entirely of plays written by women – six staged, six readings. They are an ambitious and usually terrific company; they performed Stoppard’s Coast of Utopia, including some all-day marathons, and that was a splendid production.