Theater reviews: The 25 Best American Plays Since “Angels in America”

June 7, 2018

Okay, I’ve spent way too much time this week thinking about the New York Times article in which the Times critics list the 25 best American plays of the last 25 years, so I’m just going to share my list. I stuck to the rules (mostly) of only one play by a particular author. I haven’t read all of these scripts, so in many cases I’m not sure if what stuck with me was the play itself (the Great American Play that must be done in theaters across the country!) or the production. Some of these absolutely do not count as plays in the Shakespeare/Arthur Miller/Wendy Wasserstein category. But this is a list of plays that made a big impression on me that has lasted. No particular order, except that the first several are the ones from the Times list with which I agreed.


  1. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, An Octoroon
  2. August Wilson, Seven Guitars (or Jitney)
  3. Wallace Shawn, The Designated Mourner
  4. Edward Albee, Three Tall Women
  5. Tectonic Theater Project, The Laramie Project
  6. Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues
  7. Margaret Edson, Wit
  8. Claudia Rankine, The Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue
  9. Kia Corthron, Light Raise the Roof
  10. Annie Baker, John
  11. Adam Bock, Five Flights (or The Drunken City, or A Life)
  12. Stephen Adly Giurgis, The Motherfucker with the Hat (or Between Riverside and Crazy)
  13. Han Ong, Middle Finger
  14. Doug Wright, I Am My Own Wife
  15. Erik Ehn, Maria Kizito
  16. Lynn Nottage, Intimate Apparel
  17. Lisa Kron, Well (or 2.5 Minute Ride)
  18. Anna Deveare Smith, Notes from the Field (or Fires in the Mirror, or Twilight)
  19. Okwui Okpokwasili, Poor People’s TV Room
  20. Craig Lucas, The Dying Gaul
  21. Jon Robin Baitz, The Paris Letter
  22. Christopher Durang, Why Torture is Wrong, And the People Who Love Them (or Betty’s Summer Vacation)
  23. David Greenspan, The Myopia
  24. Keith Hennessy, Crotch
  25. Eisa Davis, Angela’s Mixtape
  26. Taylor Mac, The Lily’s Revenge

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