The two most-produced plays in America come to Philadelphia

American Theatre magazine has released its annual October Season Preview issue, which includes lists of the Top 10 Most-Produced Plays and Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights for the upcoming season. Philadelphia audiences can see the top two most-produced plays in the next couple months: the Arden Theatre Company produces #1 Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House Part 2 October 26-December 9, 2018, and Philadelphia Theatre Company stages #2 Lynn Nottage’s Sweat October 12-November 4, 2018.

American Theatre’s Top 10 Most-Produced Plays of 2018-19:

Grace Gonglewski in the Arden's A Doll's House Part 2. Photo by Kristy Giballa
Grace Gonglewski in the Arden’s A Doll’s House Part 2. Photo by Kristy Giballa
  • A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath: 27
  • Sweat by Lynn Nottage: 16
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, adapted by Simon Stephens from the novel by Mark Haddon: 13
  • Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon: 13
  • The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe: 13
  • Fun Home book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori, based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel: 12
  • Indecent by Paula Vogel: 12
  • Native Gardens by Karen Zacarías: 12
  • Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau: 11
  • Once, book by Enda Walsh and music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, based on the film by John Carney: 9
  • Pride and Prejudice by Kate Hamill, based on the novel by Jane Austen: 9

This year’s 11 most-produced plays include works by 9 female playwrights (and 2 female composers) opposite 3 male playwrights, a historic margin for this list. Well, kinda: Based on the 2018-19 seasons reported by 387 member theaters of the Theatre Communications Group (which publishes American Theatre), this lists omits holiday-themed shows (The Santaland Diaries and A Christmas Carol) as well as works by Shakespeare, who would obviously be top.

Local audiences can see four other works on the list this season: Arden will produce #10 Edna Walsh’s musical adaptation of Once starting this week and #6= Paula Vogel’s Indecent in May/June; the Walnut Street Theatre will stage #6= Simon Stephens’s adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in March/April; New Jersey’s Eagle Theatre will put on #6= Karen Zacarías’s Native Gardens next March/April.

American Theatre’s Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights of 2018-19:

Lucas Hnath
Lucas Hnath
  • Lucas Hnath 33
  • Lauren Gunderson 29 (including 14 co-writing credits)
  • Dominique Morisseau 26 (including 1 co-writing credit)
  • Lynn Nottage 20 (including 1 co-writing credit)
  • Karen Zacarías 18 (including 3 co-writing credits)
  • Kate Hamill 18
  • Paula Vogel 18
  • Lisa Kron 17 (including 13 co-writing credits)
  • Simon Stephens 17
  • August Wilson 16 (including 2 co-writing credits)
  • Sarah DeLappe 13
  • Ken Ludwig 12
  • Branden Jacobs-Jenkins 11
  • Jen Silverman 11
  • Christina Ham 10
  • Enda Walsh 10 (including 9 co-writing credits)
  • Tennessee Williams 10 (including 1 co-writing credit)
  • Bess Wohl 9
  • Duncan Macmillan 9
  • Sam Shepard 9

The 20 most-produced playwrights comprises 11 women and 9 men. What’s more, there are 6 playwrights of color on the most-produced playwrights’ list, making it the most racially diverse it’s ever been.

Lucas Hnath will be the most-produced playwright, with 33 total productions, including 27 productions of the most-produced play, A Doll’s House, Part 2.

“It’s humbling to think of these plays I’ve written being produced so widely,” said Hnath. “To think of theatremakers across the country having their own unique encounters with A Doll’s House, Part 2, in addition to The Christians, Red Speedo and others, rendering them in ways I could never anticipate or imagine. It’s an incredible honor.”

Lauren Gunderson, last year’s most-produced playwright, is back at #2. New to the top of the list is Skeleton Crew author Dominique Morisseau, who said, “To be named the 3rd most-produced playwright in the country makes me greatly hopeful that I can be part of shifting the cultural landscape of theatre. That it won’t be such an anomaly for artists like me to be produced. That students won’t be starving (as I once did) for representations of themselves in theatre curriculum. And mostly that I can continue to help normalize black women writers as part of our studied theatre literary canon.”

Philadelphia companies whose seasons are included in the list: 1812, Arden, Azuka, EgoPo, InterAct, Quintessence, Theatre Exile, and Wilma (other local theaters include Act II, McCarter, Pennsylvania Shakespeare, People’s Light, and Theatre Horizon).


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