What are the best American plays?

asked by Anonymous
221 contributors
24 solutions
  1. 26

    #1All My Sons

    All My Sons

    All My Sons is Arthur Miller's 1947 classic dramatic play about Joe and Steve, who sold defective airplane parts in World War 2. Joe was imprisoned but Steve escaped punishment, planting seeds of bitterness and hate between them.

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    Eric Ford
    Written on March 1, 2018
    "All My Sons is a very interesting read. I love reading classic novels so this is one of my new favorites."
  2. 24

    #2The Amen Corner: A Play

    The Amen Corner: A Play

    The Amen Corner is the first play James Baldwin wrote for the theater. Considered a classic, it's about Sister Margaret and her struggles to keep her godly path despite the troubles she is facing.

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    Miriam Espinosa
    Written on March 4, 2018
    "The Amen Corner is not something I would normally be interested in. Once I got the story line and plot I was hooked. "
  3. 23

    #3A Streetcar Named Desire

    A Streetcar Named Desire

    A Streetcar Named Desire is Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer-winning play about Blanche DuBois and her attempt to have a normal life while living with her sister Stella and her abusive husband Stanley Kowalski.                                                     

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    Jennifer Henry
    Written on February 28, 2018
    "Reading A Streetcar Named Desire was a pleasure because of author's masterful writing and the unique characters. I can't think of one issue with this piece and think that it is a classic that all people need to read or see the play."
  1. 22

    #4You Can't Take It with You: A Comedy in Three Acts

    You Can't Take It with You: A Comedy in Three Acts

    You Can't Take It With You is a Pulitzer-winning comedic play collaboratively written by Moss Hart and George Kaufman about the families of Alice Sycamore and Tony Kirby and their reaction to the planned marriage of the couple.

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    Crystal Freeman
    Written on February 24, 2018
    "This is a great American play. I was looking for a play to read before I went to actually watch it. This one is very funny and really enjoyable."
  2. 20

    #5August: Osage County

    August: Osage County
    August: Osage County is Tracy Letts' Pulitzer-winning dramatic play that depicted the image of the Weston family, a typical dysfunctional American clan, and the unraveling of secrets long buried in the past.
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    Aaron Stanley
    Written on March 7, 2018
    "Such a fantastic read. Tracey Letts truly outdid herself on this one. Written as any great American play should be written. It features three acts that bring you in, build you up, and then tear you down in the final act. Truly an amazing read if you get a chance."
  3. 19

    #6Blues for Mister Charlie: A Play

    Blues for Mister Charlie: A Play

    Blues for Mister Charlie is James Baldwin's famous play about the killing of a black man by a white man and its effects on society. In this award-winning play, Baldwin describes the horrifying effects of racism.

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    Janet Ward
    Written on February 26, 2018
    "This is a great play. Well written and interesting. Brings you into the storyline."
  4. 18

    #7Proof: A Play

    Proof: A Play

    Proof by David Auburn is a Pulitzer-winning dramatic play about the death of a brilliant math professor and its effects on her daughters Catherine and Claire, and his student, Hal.

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    Stephanie Chen
    Written on March 2, 2018
    "Proof: A Play explores the complex relationship between a father and daughter, and her legacy. Catherine takes care of her brilliant Math Professor until his death. She is then torn between her sister, Claire who wants her to come to New York, and Hal who is a former student and wants to explore her father's papers looking for lost clues into the man who had become less than functioning. Catherine, in her own right, shows glimpses of brilliance, struggles with the time lost to her by caring for her ailing father and a growing attraction to Hal. "
  5. 17

    #8Arsenic and Old Lace

    Arsenic and Old Lace

    Arsenic and Old Lace is Joseph Kesselring's 1939 black comedy play about Mortimer Brewster and his homicidal family. His aunts are poisoning old men with arsenic and cyanide, while one of his brothers thinks he is Theodore Roosevelt. 

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    Aditya Rodrigues
    Written on March 7, 2018
    "This one of those classic American middlebrow plays with enough depth to chew on and enough absurdity to deconstruct a thought or two. It's not Eugene O'Neill but it's more than Howard Hawks. There's a place in any canon for this one. And the movie ain't bad either."
  6. 9

    #9A Raisin in the Sun

    A Raisin in the Sun

    A Raisin in the Sun is a classic play written by Lorraine Hansberry which centers on a working-class family living in Chicago connected with the psyche of black America.

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    Anthony Gibson
    Written on April 22, 2018
    "This is a classic that everyone should watch or experience at least once. It really sets apart what made the racial tensions of that time period a thing."
  7. 7

    #10Our Town

    Our Town

    Our Town is a classic fiction book written by Thornton Wilder. This play is first published in 1938 and reproduced by Harper Perennial Modern Classics. 

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  8. 5

    #11Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

    Written by Tennessee Williams, this book narrates the story of Big Daddy Pollit, a cotton tycoon who lives in his Mississippi plantation with his family. The book focuses mainly in the relationship between his eldest son, Brick, and his wife Maggie, also known as 'Cat'.

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    Mildred Morris
    Written on April 21, 2018
    "I love this. I enjoyed the movie (my moms favorite with Paul Newman) and I know there are different versions of the play. While there are a few changes and different personalities with each rewrite my favorite would have the be the more sympathetic Maggie. Excellent book and good read for young adult to 100. You won't be disappointed."
  9. 4

    #12The Glass Menagerie

    The Glass Menagerie

    The Glass Menagerie is a play by Tennessee Williams which tells the story of a mother with her son and daughter, and her daughter's suitor who all cling to a dream world so fragile and easily shattered. It was published in 1999 by New Directions.

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  10. 1

    #1327 Wagons Full of Cotton And Other One-Act Plays

    27 Wagons Full of Cotton And Other One-Act Plays

    27 Wagons Full of Cotton And Other One-Act Plays is a book by Tennessee Williams which contains a collection of his plays about life, passion for life, as well as human nature. It was published in 1966 by New Directions.

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    Gregory Morgan
    Written on May 17, 2018
    "Tennessee Williams.Beautiful book from a great, classic writer."
  11. 1

    #14The Crucible

    The Crucible

    The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts by Arthur Miller tells the story of Abigail Williams, who was wrongfully charged with witchcraft in 17th century Salem. The story was inspired by the persecution of communists in the US during the McCarthy era.

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    Gregory Morgan
    Written on April 29, 2018
    "This play is an incredible tale of that was inspired by the Salem Witch trials. The play brings to life the tragedy's and struggle of these people."
  12. 0

    #15Rabbit Hole

    Rabbit Hole
    Rabbit Hole is a classic play written by David Lindsay-Abaire which follows the story of a family trying to get on with their lives after their four-year-old child died. 
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    Eugene Gardner
    Written on April 12, 2018
    "This is such a good play! Lindsey-Abaire went all out with this and I really love this play!"
  13. 0

    #16The Children's Hour

    The Children's Hour

    The Children's Hour is a dramatic play with LGBT themes written by Lillian Hellman. The Children's Hour was published in 1953 by Dramatists Play Service.

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  14. 0

    #17The Boys in the Band

    The Boys in the Band

    The Boys in the Band is a fictional dramatic play with LGBT themes written by Mart Crowley. The Boys in the Band was published in 1968 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 

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    Daniel Nelson
    Written on May 10, 2018
    "Very important themes at play here. It's crazy that it was written almost 40 years ago, but is still an entertaining piece that touches on themes we are still dealing with today. Recommended. "
  15. 0

    #18The Destiny of Me

    The Destiny of Me

    The Destiny of Me is a dramatic play with LGBT themes written by Larry Kramer. The Destiny of Me was published on August 1, 1993 by Plume. It is a companion to The Normal Heart.

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  16. 0

    #19Candles to the Sun

    Candles to the Sun

    Candles to the Sun is a play by Tennessee Williams which tells the story of a group of miners in the Red Hills coal mining station who attempt to unionize and fix their family problems. It was published in 2004 by New Directions.

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    Deborah Kelley
    Written on May 17, 2018
    "Tennessee Williams was very young when he wrote this, only about 25 years old, but it's a great play. The characters, coal miners and the activists trying to unionize them, feel genuine and the dialogue feels real and natural. I felt like I had been transported down a mine myself while reading this."
  17. 0

    #20In the Winter of Cities

    In the Winter of Cities

    In the Winter of Cities is a book by Tennessee Williams which contains a collection of various poems which reflect the playwright's insights on the various cities that he has been. It was published in 1964 by New Directions.

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    Bryan Stone
    Written on May 17, 2018
    "If you love American Plays and American Play writes there is nothing better then Tennessee Williams. He cuts to the heart of what it is to be an American. I love reading his plays and absorbing all his perfectly placed prose. This is a real gem that you must read. "
  18. 0

    #21The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore.

    The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore.

    The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore is a play by Tennessee Williams which tells the story of Mrs. Goforth, an aging woman trying to live her life and complete her memoirs before her death. It was published in 1998 by Dramatis.

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    Charles Wells
    Written on May 10, 2018
    "You have to be a Williams fan to love this play because it is not one of his seminal works. However, there are such wonderful lines of dialogue and great acerbic wit to it, that I found it equally as compelling as his better known works."
  19. 0

    #22Period of Adjustment.

    Period of Adjustment.

    Period of Adjustment is a play by Tennessee Williams which tells the story of two marriages which are both at the point of crisis and who are trying to adjust to their new normals. It was published in 1961 by Dramatis Play Service.

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    Carol Yan
    Written on May 8, 2018
    "I love American plays. My favorite one right now is Period of Adjustment. It's a play by Tennessee Williams about two marriages that are both on the rocks. It's such a great story and I love the characters and their motivations. Everything is just perfect about it and it's definitely one of my favorite plays of all time. Check it out!"
  20. 0

    #23Orpheus Descending: A Play in Three Acts

    Orpheus Descending: A Play in Three Acts

    Orpheus Descending: A Play in Three Acts is a play by Tennessee Williams which tells the story of seemingly ordinary people who lead ordinary lives with the usual gossip, romance, and drama. It was published in 1958 by Dramatis.

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    Virginia Jones
    Written on May 6, 2018
    "For best American plays, Orpheus Descending: A Play in Three Acts meets only the requirement of being an American play. It is far from the best based on exposure alone. "
  21. -1

    #24Well

    Well

    Well is a dramatic inspirational play written by renowned award-winning lesbian playwright Lisa Kron. It was released in May 2005. It is about the duty of a child to her ailing mother, and a person's desire to help her community.

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    Timothy Bailey
    Written on May 16, 2018
    "I'm definitely torn about Well, which no doubt comes from a talented playwright. The subject matter is thought-provoking and the play is definitely unpredictable. Wit and sharp insights are frequent. But I couldn't help but struggle to connect with the characters or accept what I felt was a wishy-washy overall message. Still, the writing alone is interesting enough to experience once."

Summary

Best What are the best American plays
RankSolutionsTypeVotesPrice
1All My SonsBooks 26 Paid
2The Amen Corner: A PlayBooks 24 Paid
3A Streetcar Named DesireBooks 23 Paid
4You Can't Take It with You: A Comedy in Three ActsBooks 22 Paid
5August: Osage CountyBooks 20 Paid
6Blues for Mister Charlie: A PlayBooks 19 Paid
7Proof: A PlayBooks 18 Paid
8Arsenic and Old LaceBooks 17 Paid
9A Raisin in the SunBooks 9 Paid
10Our TownBooks 7 Paid
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