My Favourite (Dead) Playwrights*

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950):

George Bernard Shaw, 1909

George Bernard Shaw. 1909.

Some plays: Mrs. Warren’s Profession; Arms and the Man; Candida; Major Barbara; The Doctor’s Dilemma; Pygmalion; Heartbreak House; Saint Joan; The Apple Cart; The Millionairess.

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906):

Henrik Ibsen  by Gustav Borgen, 1898 or earlier

Henrik Ibsen by Gustav Borgen. 1898 or earlier.

Some plays: Peer Gynt; Pillars of Society; A Doll’s House; Ghosts; An Enemy of the People; The Wild Duck; Hedda Gabler; The Master Builder.

Anton Chekhov (1860-1904):

Anton Chekhov, 1900

Anton Chekhov. 1900.

Some Plays: The Bear; A Marriage Proposal; The Seagull; Uncle Vanya; Three Sisters; The Cherry Orchard.

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975):

Thornton Wilder, Yale Graduation Photo 1920

Thornton Wilder’s Yale graduation photo. 1920.

Some plays: The Long Christmas Dinner; Our Town; The Merchant of Yonkers; The Skin of Our Teeth; The Matchmaker.

Clifford Odets (1906-1963):

Clifford Odets, 1936

Clifford Odets. 1936.

Some Plays: Waiting for Lefty; Awake and Sing!; Till the Day I Die; Golden Boy; Clash by Night; The Country Girl.

Arthur Miller (1915-2005):

Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller.

Some Plays: All My Sons; Death of a Salesman; The Crucible; A View from the Bridge; A Memory of Two Mondays; After the Fall; The American Clock; Resurrection Blues.

Honourable Mentions:

J.M. Barrie (1860-1937):

 J.M. Barrie, 1901

J.M. Barrie. 1901.

Some Plays: Quality Street; The Admirable Crichton; Peter Pan; Alice Sit-by-the-Fire; What Every Woman Knows; A Kiss for Cinderella; The Old Lady Shows Her Medals; Mary Rose.

Noël Coward (1899-1973):

 Noël Coward, circa 1914

Noël Coward. Circa 1914.

Some plays: The Vortex; Hay Fever; Easy Virtue; Private Lives; Cavalcade; Design for Living; Tonight at 8:30; Blithe Spirit; Peace in Our Time; South Sea Bubble.

William Inge (1913-1973):

Portrait of William Inge by Carl Van Vechten, 4 September 1954

Portrait of William Inge by Carl Van Vechten. 4 September 1954.

Some plays: Come Back, Little Sheba; Picnic; Bus Stop; The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983):

Tennessee Williams, 1965

Tennessee Williams. 1965.

Some plays: The Glass Menagerie; A Streetcar Named Desire; Summer and Smoke; The Rose Tattoo; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Suddenly, Last Summer; Sweet Bird of Youth; The Night of the Iguana; The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore.

Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953):

Eugene O'Neill at Sea Island Bend, 16 May 1936 by Carl Van Vechten

Eugene O’Neill at Sea Island Bend by Carl Van Vechten. 16 May 1936.

Some plays: Anna Christie; The Hairy Ape; Desire Under the Elms; Strange Interlude; Mourning Becomes Electra; Ah, Wilderness!; The Iceman Cometh; Long Day’s Journey Into Night; A Moon for the Misbegotten.

*William Shakespeare is not listed, simply because he is William Shakespeare. Of course he is a favourite. I also have soft spots for Floyd Dell, Edna Ferber/George S. Kaufman, Philip Barry, and many others.

14 thoughts on “My Favourite (Dead) Playwrights*

    • Thank you. You can definitely tell a lot about me by my 6 fave playwrights, and a fair bit more by the runners up!

      Ah, to have seen that production of “Picnic.” I’m sure you were lovely! Whenever I think of “Picnic” (after the play itself and the movie, of course), “The Golden Girls” comes to mind. There is an episode where the ladies are taking part in a local theatre production of what is meant to be “Picnic” but, of course, they call it something else. The send-up is pretty hysterical.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure I saw that episode but it’s been so long. I wasn’t very good in Picnic. I was rather miscast although some liked my perf. Yes, your list tells me all I need to know. Love Ibsen but haven’t seen nearly enough productions of his work.


      • I am a bit of a GG fan girl…I know all of the episodes way better than I should. This one involves a famous TV actor coming to Miami to perform in a play. Whilst there, he becomes involved with all of the roomies (minus Sophia), as well as most of the rest of the play’s cast. At the try-outs, Blanche shows up with huge fake boobs made from balloons. Anyhoo….I’ll stop here before I really start sounding like a weirdo cat lady.

        Well, we cannot all be ideally cast for every role, can we? It would be too easy that way!

        Ibsen is wonderful. I enjoy reading his (and all plays, actually) out loud. It isn’t necessary to see plays on a stage to appreciate them (although, of course, it helps).

        Liked by 1 person

      • I must see about buying some GG on iTunes. Watch out for some Ibsen posts on R&V in the next few days, inspired by our conversation. The first one, an interview with Linda Bassett, has just gone up.


      • Yay for the Ibsen posts!

        I will check out the first one when The Chef and I get back from an early dinner. Cannot wait! Thank you.

        PS-If you ever have any GG questions, I am your girl! That was kind of a pathetic thing to type, but I don’t care! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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