Here it is, a list of the great plays you should be reading, or at least have skimmed the cliff notes for. In no particular order:
Renaissance Reads: (if you can get through them, or watch the film versions)
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Othello, Twelfth Night, King Lear,that Scottish Play, Titus Andronicus, Much Ado About Nothing… ehh, read ’em all.
Christopher (Kit) Marlowe: Doctor Faustus, Edward II, The Jew of Malta, etc.
Thomas Middleton: The Revenger’s Tragedy (I recommend!!), The Changeling, Women Beware Women, etc.
Thomas Kyd: The Spanish Tragedy
John Webster: The Duchess of Malfi (recommend!) The White Devil
The Classics: (those fall back shows community theatres rely on)
Edward Albee: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Three Tall Women
David Auburn: Proof
Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot, Endgame
Bertolt Brecht: The Threepenny Opera, Mother Courage and Her Children, The Good Person(Woman) of Szechwan
Anton Chekhov: Ivanov, The Seagull, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard, Uncle Vanya
Agatha Christie: The Mousetrap, Witness for the Prosecution, The Unexpected Guest
Noel Coward: Blithe Spirit, Private Lives, Hay Fever
Christopher Durang: Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Baby With the Bath Water, The Actor’s Nightmare, Beyond Therapy
Michael Frayn: Noises Off
Brian Friel: Dancing at Lughnasa
Lorraine Hansberry: A Raisin in the Sun
Ron Hutchinson: Moonlight and Magnolias
David Henry Hwang: Madam Butterfly
Henrik Ibsen: A Doll’s House, Hedda Gabler, Ghosts, An Enemy of the People, etc.
William Inge: Come Back, Little Sheba, Picnic
David Ives: All in the Timing
Jerome Lawrence & Robert Lee: Inherit the Wind
Federico Garcia Lorca: Blood Wedding, The House of Bernarda Alba
Charles Ludlam: The Mystery of Irma Vep
Ken Ludwig: Moon Over Buffalo
David Mamet: American Buffalo, Glengarry Glen Ross, Oleanna
Conor McPherson: The Seafarer, The Weir
Arthur Miller: Death of a Salesman, The Crucible
Moliere: The Misanthrope, Tartuffe
Eugene O’Neill: A Long Day’s Journey into Night, Mourning Becomes Electra, Ah, Wilderness!, A Moon for the Misbegotten
Luigi Pirandello: Six Characters in Search of an Author
Edmond Rostand: Cyrano De Bergerac
Peter Shaffer: Amadeus, Equus
George Bernard Shaw: Pygmalion, Arms and the Man, St. Joan, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, etc.
Sam Shepard: Buried Child
Neil Simon: The Odd Couple, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Plaza Suite, Sweet Charity, Lost in Yonkers, etc.
John Steinbeck: Of Mice and Men
Tom Stoppard: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
August Strindberg: Miss Julie
Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest
Thorton Wilder: Our Town
Tennessee Williams: The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Night of the Iguana, etc.
August Wilson: Fences, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
This list is by no means complete. And you do not have to read everything that’s here either. Just get familiar with the names and playwrights.
This list is very heavily based on one created by one of my favorite theatre professors, Rob Barron. Thank You.
If you have suggestions for more titles, please comment!!!
The Awesome Stage Manager