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Best Play of All Time

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    1
    Struwwelpeter

    Struwwelpeter

    • Playwright: Heinrich Hoffmann
    Der Struwwelpeter (1845) is a German children's book by Heinrich Hoffmann. It comprises ten illustrated and rhymed stories, mostly about children. Each has a clear moral that demonstrates the disastrous consequences of misbehavior in an exaggerated way. The title of the first story provides the title of the whole book. Literally translated, Struwwel-Peter means Shaggy-Peter. As children's literature scholar Penni Cotton writes, Hoffmann wrote Struwwelpeter in reaction to the lack of good children's books. Intending to buy a picture book as a Christmas present for his three-year-old son, Hoffmann instead wrote and illustrated his own book. Hoffmann was persuaded by friends to publish the book anonymously as Lustige Geschichten und drollige Bilder mit 15 schön kolorierten Tafeln für Kinder von 3–6 Jahren (Funny Stories and Whimsical Pictures with 15 Beautifully Coloured Panels for Children Aged 3 to 6) in 1845. It was not until the third edition in 1858 that the book was published under the title Struwwelpeter. The book became very popular among children throughout Europe, and, writes author and researcher Penni Cotton, the pictures and characters showed a great deal of originality
    8.25
    8 votes
    2
    Medea

    Medea

    • Characters: Aegeus
    • Country of origin: Ancient Greece
    • Playwright: Euripides
    Medea (Ancient Greek: Μήδεια, Mēdeia) is an ancient Greek tragedy written by Euripides, based upon the myth of Jason and Medea and first produced in 431 BC. The plot centers on the barbarian protagonist as she finds her position in the Greek world threatened, and the revenge she takes against her husband Jason who has betrayed her for another woman. Euripides produced Medea along with the lost plays Philoctetes, Dictys and the satyr play Theristai, earning him last place at the City Dionysia festival for that year. The play tells the story of the revenge of a woman betrayed by her husband. All of the action of the play is at Corinth, where Jason has brought Medea after the adventures of the Golden Fleece. He has now left her in order to marry Glauce, the daughter of King Creon. (Glauce is also known in Latin works as Creusa — see Seneca the Younger's Medea and Propertius 2.16.30. This King Creon is not to be confused with King Creon of Thebes.) The play opens with Medea grieving over her loss and with her elderly nurse fearing what she might do to herself or her children. Creon, also fearing what Medea might do, arrives determined to send Medea into exile. Medea pleads for one
    8.00
    7 votes
    3
    The Frogs

    The Frogs

    • Playwright: Aristophanes
    The Frogs (Ancient Greek: Βάτραχοι Bátrachoi, "Frogs") is a comedy written by the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes. It was performed at the Lenaia, one of the Festivals of Dionysus in Athens, in 405 BC, and received first place. The Frogs tells the story of the god Dionysus, who, despairing of the state of Athens' tragedians, travels to Hades to bring the playwright Euripides back from the dead. (Euripides had died the year before, in 406 BC). He brings along his slave Xanthias, who is smarter and braver than Dionysus. The play opens as Xanthias and Dionysus argue over what kind of jokes Xanthias can use to open the play. For the first half of the play, Dionysus routinely bungles, forcing Xanthias to enable him. To find a reliable path to Hades, Dionysus seeks advice from his half-brother Heracles, who had been there before in order to retrieve the hell hound Cerberus. Dionysus shows up at his doorstep dressed in a lion-hide and carrying a club. Heracles, upon seeing the effeminate Dionysus dressed up like himself, can't help laughing. At the question of which road is quickest to get to Hades, Heracles replies with the options of hanging yourself, drinking poison, or jumping
    7.83
    6 votes
    4
    Oh, Boy!

    Oh, Boy!

    • Playwright: P. G. Wodehouse
    Oh, Boy! is a musical in two acts, with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse. The story concerns befuddled George, who elopes with Lou Ellen, the daughter of Judge Carter. He must win over her parents and his Quaker aunt. His dapper polo champion friend Jim is in love with madcap actress Jackie, but George must hide her while she extricates herself from a scrape with a bumbling constable whom she punched at a party raid. The piece was the most successful of the "Princess Theatre Musicals", opening in February 1917 and transferring to the Casino Theatre in November 1917 to finish its Broadway run of 463 performances. A London production, under the title Oh, Joy! opened in January 1919 at the Kingsway Theatre, where it ran for 167 performances. A silent film version was also produced in 1919. Early in the 20th century, American musical theatre consisted of a mix of elaborate European operettas, like The Merry Widow (1907), British musical comedy imports, likeThe Arcadians (1910), George M. Cohan's shows, American operettas, like those of Victor Herbert, ragtime-infused American musicals, and the spectacular revues of Florenz Ziegfeld and others.
    6.86
    7 votes
    5
    Cymbeline

    Cymbeline

    • Characters: Philario
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    Cymbeline ( /ˈsɪmbɨliːn/), also known as Cymbeline, King of Britain or The Tragedy of Cymbeline, is a play by William Shakespeare, based on legends concerning the early Celtic British King Cunobelinus. Although listed as a tragedy in the First Folio, modern critics often classify Cymbeline as a romance. Like Othello and The Winter's Tale, it deals with the themes of innocence and jealousy. While the precise date of composition remains unknown, the play was certainly produced as early as 1611. The plot of Cymbeline is based on a tale in the chronicles of Raphael Holinshed and is ultimately derived from part of the Historia Regum Britanniae of Geoffrey of Monmouth about the real-life British monarch Cunobelinus. Shakespeare, however, freely adapts the legend and adds entirely original sub-plots. Iachimo's wager and subsequent hiding-place inside a chest in order to gather details of Imogen's room derive from story II.9 of Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron. The first recorded production of Cymbeline, as noted by Simon Forman, was in April 1611. It was first published in the First Folio in 1623. However, when Cymbeline was actually written cannot be precisely dated. The Yale edition
    8.80
    5 votes
    6
    The Tempest

    The Tempest

    • Characters: Miranda
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1610–11, and thought by many critics to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone. It is set on a remote island, where Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place using illusion and skilful manipulation. He conjures up a storm, the eponymous tempest, to lure his usurping brother Antonio and the complicit King Alonso of Naples to the island. There, his machinations bring about the revelation of Antonio's low nature, the redemption of the King, and the marriage of Miranda to Alonso's son, Ferdinand. There is no obvious single source for the plot of The Tempest, but researchers have seen parallels in Erasmus's Naufragium, Peter Martyr's De orbe novo, and an eyewitness report by William Strachey of the real-life shipwreck of the Sea Venture on the islands of Bermuda. In addition, one of Gonzalo's speeches is derived from Montaigne's essay Of the Canibales, and much of Prospero's renunciative speech is taken word for word from a speech by Medea in Ovid's poem Metamorphoses. The masque in Act 4 may have been a later addition, possibly in honour of the
    8.40
    5 votes
    7
    Troilus and Cressida

    Troilus and Cressida

    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    Troilus and Cressida is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1602. It was also described by Frederick S. Boas as one of Shakespeare's problem plays. The play ends on a very bleak note with the death of the noble Trojan Hector and destruction of the love between Troilus and Cressida. Throughout the play, the tone lurches wildly between bawdy comedy and tragic gloom, and readers and theatre-goers have frequently found it difficult to understand how one is meant to respond to the characters. However, several characteristic elements of the play (the most notable being its constant questioning of intrinsic values such as hierarchy, honour and love) have often been viewed as distinctly "modern", as in the following remarks on the play by author and literary scholar Joyce Carol Oates: Troilus and Cressida, that most vexing and ambiguous of Shakespeare's plays, strikes the modern reader as a contemporary document—its investigation of numerous infidelities, its criticism of tragic pretensions, above all, its implicit debate between what is essential in human life and what is only existential are themes of the twentieth century. ... This is tragedy of a special
    7.17
    6 votes
    8
    Sir John Oldcastle

    Sir John Oldcastle

    • Characters: John Oldcastle
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: Richard Hathwaye
    Sir John Oldcastle is an Elizabethan play about John Oldcastle, a controversial 14th-15th century rebel and Lollard who was seen by some of Shakespeare's contemporaries as a proto-Protestant martyr. The play was originally published anonymously in 1600 (Q1), printed by Valentine Simmes for the bookseller Thomas Pavier. In 1619, a new edition (Q2) carried an attribution to William Shakespeare. The Diary of Philip Henslowe records that the play was written by Anthony Munday, Michael Drayton, Richard Hathwaye and Robert Wilson. (An entry in Henslowe's Diary records a later payment to Drayton for a second part to the play,which has not survived; because of this fact, the extant play has sometimes been called Sir John Oldcastle, Part I or 1 Sir John Oldcastle.) In 1664, the play was one of the seven dramas added to the second impression of the Shakespeare Third Folio by publisher Philip Chetwinde. Like other subjects of Elizabethan history plays, Sir John Oldcastle was an actual person, a soldier and Lollard dissenter who was hanged and burned for heresy and treason in 1417 — thus earning himself a place in the seminal text of the Protestant Reformation in Tudor England, John Foxe's
    8.20
    5 votes
    9
    The Winter's Tale

    The Winter's Tale

    • Characters: Perdita
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    The Winter's Tale is a play by William Shakespeare, originally published in the First Folio of 1623. Although it was grouped among the comedies, some modern editors have relabelled the play as one of Shakespeare's late romances. Some critics consider it to be one of Shakespeare's "problem plays", because the first three acts are filled with intense psychological drama, while the last two acts are comedic and supply a happy ending. Nevertheless, the play has been intermittently popular, revived in productions in various forms and adaptations by some of the leading theatre practitioners in Shakespearean performance history, beginning after a long interval with David Garrick in his adaptation called Florizel and Perdita (first performed in 1754 and published in 1756. The Winter's Tale was revived again in the 19th century, when the third "pastoral" act was widely popular). In the second half of the 20th century The Winter's Tale in its entirety, and drawn largely from the First Folio text, was often performed, with varying degrees of success. King Leontes of Sicilia begs his childhood friend, King Polixenes of Bohemia, to extend his visit to Sicilia. Polixenes protests that he has
    8.00
    5 votes
    10
    The Black Crook

    The Black Crook

    The Black Crook is considered to be the first piece of musical theatre that conforms to the modern notion of a "book musical". The book is by Charles M. Barras (1826-1873), an American playwright. The music is mostly adaptations, but some new songs were composed for the play, notably "March of the Amazons" by Giuseppe Operti, and "You Naughty, Naughty Men", with music by George Bickwell and lyrics by Theodore Kennick. It opened on September 12, 1866 at the 3,200-seat Niblo's Garden on Broadway, New York City and ran for a record-breaking 474 performances. It was then toured extensively for decades and revived on Broadway in 1870–71, 1871–72 and many more times after that. It was originally produced by the theatre's manager, William Wheatley, who also directed the piece. The cast also included Annie Kemp Bowler, Charles Morton, Marie Bonfanti, J.W. Blaisdell, E.B. Holmes, Millie Cavendish and George Boniface. This production gave America claim to having originated the musical. The Black Crook is considered a prototype of the modern musical in that its popular songs and dances are interspersed throughout a unifying play and performed by the actors. The British production of The Black
    7.80
    5 votes
    11
    Henry V

    Henry V

    • Characters: Henry V
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    Henry V is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in approximately 1599. Its full titles are The Cronicle History of Henry the fift (in the First Quarto text) and The Life of Henry the Fifth (in the First Folio text). It tells the story of King Henry V of England, focusing on events immediately before and after the Battle of Agincourt (1415) during the Hundred Years' War. The play is the final part of a tetralogy, preceded by Richard II, Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2. The original audiences would thus have already been familiar with the title character, who was depicted in the Henry IV plays as a wild, undisciplined lad known as "Prince Harry" and by Falstaff as "Hal". In Henry V, the young prince has become a mature man and embarks on a successful conquest of France. Elizabethan stages did not use scenery. Acknowledging the difficulty of conveying great battles and shifts of location on a bare stage, the Chorus (a single actor) calls for a "Muse of fire" so that the actor playing King Henry can "[ā]ssume the port [bearing] of Mars". He asks, "Can this cockpit [i.e. the theatre] hold / The vasty fields of France?" and encourages the audience to
    7.60
    5 votes
    12
    The Marriage of Figaro

    The Marriage of Figaro

    • Characters: Doctor Bartolo
    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Pierre de Beaumarchais
    The Marriage of Figaro (French: La Folle Journée, ou Le Mariage de Figaro ('The Mad Day, or The Marriage of Figaro')) is a comedy in five acts, written in 1778 by Pierre Beaumarchais. This play is the second installment in the Figaro Trilogy, preceded by The Barber of Seville and followed by The Guilty Mother. In the first play, The Barber, the story begins with a simple love triangle in which a Spanish count has fallen in love with a girl called Rosine. He disguises himself to ensure that she will love him back for his character, not his wallet. But, this is all foiled when Rosine’s guardian, Doctor Bartholo, puts her on “house arrest” so that he will have her hand in marriage. The Count runs into an ex-servant (now a barber) of his, Figaro, and pressures him into setting up a meeting between the Count and Rosine. He succeeds and the love birds are married to end the first part of the trilogy. The Marriage was written as a sequel to The Barber. In his preface to the play, Beaumarchais says that Louis François, Prince of Conti had requested it be written. Its denouncement of aristocratic privilege has been characterised as foreshadowing the French Revolution. The entire trilogy is
    7.60
    5 votes
    13
    Miss Liberty

    Miss Liberty

    • Playwright: Robert E. Sherwood
    Miss Liberty is a musical with a book by Robert E. Sherwood and music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. It is based on the sculpting of the Statue of Liberty in 1886. The score includes the song "Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor," a musical setting of the poem "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus that is on the base of the monument. In 1885, New York Herald publisher James Gordon Bennett assigns novice reporter Horace Miller to find the woman who served as Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi's model for the Statue of Liberty. In the artist's Paris studio, Miller sees a photograph of Monique DuPont and mistakenly believes she was the one. Bennett arranges for her and her grandmother to accompany Horace back to New York City, where she becomes a media darling. When rival publisher Joseph Pulitzer discovers it was Bartholdi's mother who actually posed for him, he exposes Monique as a fraud in his New York World. She faces deportation until a sympathetic Pultizer comes to her rescue, paving the way for her to plan a future with Horace, who jilts his American girlfriend Maisie Doll in favor of the French beauty. During World War II, Robert Sherwood was deeply moved when he saw what the Statue of Liberty
    6.50
    6 votes
    14
    The Earl and the Girl

    The Earl and the Girl

    • Playwright: Seymour Hicks
    The Earl and the Girl is a musical comedy in two acts by Seymour Hicks, with lyrics by Percy Greenbank and music by Ivan Caryll. It was produced by William Greet and opened at the Adelphi Theatre in London on 10 December 1903. It transferred to the Lyric Theatre on 12 September 1904, running for a total of 371 performances. It also ran at the Casino Theatre in New York beginning on 4 November 1905 for 148 performances (with some added music and lyrics by Jerome Kern and others), starring Eddie Foy and W. H. Denny. A production toured Australia in 1906 and 1907. A revival in London in 1914 ran for a total of 107 performances, and there were later revivals and tours. The original London cast included a number of performers who had recently appeared in productions of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, which was no longer performing at the Savoy Theatre at the time of the premiere of The Earl and the Girl, including Walter Passmore, Henry Lytton, Robert Evett, M. R. Morand, Reginald Crompton, Powis Pinder, Charles Childerstone, Alec Fraser, Ernest Torrence, Rudolph Lewis, Agnes Fraser, and Louie Pounds. Lytton later used the song "My Cosy Corner" from the show in his music hall acts with
    7.40
    5 votes
    15
    Ubu Roi

    Ubu Roi

    • Characters: Pile
    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Alfred Jarry
    Ubu Roi (Ubu the King) is a play by Alfred Jarry, premiered in 1896. It is a precursor of the Theatre of the Absurd and Surrealism. It is the first of three stylised burlesques in which Jarry satirises power, greed, and their evil practices—in particular the propensity of the complacent bourgeois to abuse the authority engendered by success. It was followed by Ubu Cocu (Ubu Cuckolded) and Ubu Enchaîné (Ubu Enchained), neither of which was performed during Jarry's 34-year life. "The beginnings of the original Ubu," wrote Taylor, "have attained the status of legend within French theatre culture." It was as a student in 1888, at the age of fifteen, that Jarry perused Les Polonais, a brief teacher-ridiculing farce by the brothers Henri (of whom he was a good friend) and Charles Morin. This, one of many plays created around the character of Père Ubu (or Hébé, as he was known at the time), is long lost, so the true and complete authorship of Ubu Roi can never be known. It is clear, however, that Jarry considerably revised and expanded the play, endowed it with the marionette concept and gave its protagonist the handle under which he became famous. While his schoolmates lost interest in
    7.40
    5 votes
    16
    The Second Maiden's Tragedy

    The Second Maiden's Tragedy

    • Country of origin: England
    The Second Maiden's Tragedy is a Jacobean play that survives only in manuscript. It was written in 1611, and performed in the same year by the King's Men. The manuscript that survives is the copy that was sent to the censor, and therefore includes his notes and deletions. The manuscript was acquired, but never printed, by the publisher Humphrey Moseley after the closure of the theatres in 1642. In 1807, the manuscript was bought by the British Museum. It is generally believed to be by Thomas Middleton. The play's original title is unknown. The manuscript bears no title, and the censor, George Buc, added a note beginning "This second Maiden's Tragedy (for it hath no name inscribed)...". Buc was comparing the play to Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy. Buc's comment confused a seventeenth century owner of the manuscript, Humphrey Moseley, who listed the play in the Stationers' Register as The Maid's Tragedy, 2nd Part. Buc's title has stuck and the play is usually referred to as The Second Maiden's Tragedy. However, two recent editors of the play have preferred to retitle it. In his anthology Four Jacobean Sex Tragedies, Martin Wiggins argues that since the word "second"
    6.33
    6 votes
    17
    All's Lost by Lust

    All's Lost by Lust

    • Country of origin: England
    All's Lost by Lust is a Jacobean tragedy by William Rowley. A "tragedy of remarkable frankness and effectiveness," "crude and fierce," it was written between 1618 and 1620. The play was first published in 1633 (seven years after Rowley's death), in a quarto published by the bookseller Thomas Harper. This 1633 quarto was the only edition of the play in Rowley's era; the drama would not be reprinted until the nineteenth century. All's Lost by Lust was first performed by Rowley's playing company, Prince Charles' Men, and later by the Lady Elizabeth's Men and Queen Henrietta's Men. The play was popular in its own period and was revived during the Restoration; Samuel Pepys saw George Jolly's production at the Red Bull Theatre on 23 March 1661. In his famous Diary, Pepys described the production as "poorly done" with "much disorder" — when a boy singer performed a song poorly, the music master "fell about his ears and beat him so, that it put the whole house into an uproar." Like many English Renaissance plays, Rowley's tragedy was adapted for later productions. One "W. C." was responsible for a version called The Rape Reveng'd, or the Spanish Revolution in 1690. A 1705 adaptation titled
    7.20
    5 votes
    18
    Oedipus the King

    Oedipus the King

    • Characters: Oedipus
    • Playwright: Sophocles
    Oedipus the King (Ancient Greek: Οἰδίπους Τύραννος, Oidipous Tyrannos), also known by the Latin title Oedipus Rex, is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed c. 429 BCE. It was the second of Sophocles's three Theban plays to be produced, but it comes first in the internal chronology, followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone. Oedipus Rex chronicles the story of Oedipus, a man who becomes the king of Thebes who was destined from birth to murder his father Laius and marry his mother Jocasta. The play is an example of a classic tragedy, noticeably containing an emphasis on Oedipus's own faults contribute to the tragic hero's downfall, as opposed having fate be the sole cause. Over the centuries, Oedipus Rex has come to be regarded by many as the Greek tragedy par excellence. As is the case in most climactic drama, much of what constitutes the myth of Oedipus takes place before the opening scene of the play. In his youth, Laius was a guest of King Pelops of Elis, and became the tutor of Chrysippus, youngest of the king's sons, in chariot racing. He then violated the sacred laws of hospitality by abducting and raping Chrysippus, who according to some versions
    7.20
    5 votes
    19
    King Lear

    King Lear

    • Characters: Leir of Britain
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    King Lear is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. The title character descends into madness after foolishly disposing of his estate between two of his three daughters based on their flattery, bringing tragic consequences for all. The play is based on the legend of Leir of Britain, a mythological pre-Roman Celtic king. It has been widely adapted for the stage and motion pictures, and the role of Lear has been coveted and played by many of the world's most accomplished actors. The play was written between 1603 and 1606 and later revised. Shakespeare's earlier version, The True Chronicle of the History of the Life and Death of King Lear and His Three Daughters, was published in quarto in 1608. The Tragedy of King Lear, a more theatrical version, was included in the 1623 First Folio. Modern editors usually conflate the two, though some insist that each version has its individual integrity that should be preserved. After the Restoration, the play was often revised with a happy ending for audiences who disliked its dark and depressing tone, but since the 19th century Shakespeare's original version has been regarded as one of his supreme achievements. The tragedy is particularly noted for
    8.25
    4 votes
    20
    The Dollar Princess

    The Dollar Princess

    • Playwright: George Grossmith, Jr.
    The Dollar Princess is a musical in three acts by A.M. Willner and Fritz Grünbaum (after a comedy by Gatti-Trotha), adapted into English by Basil Hood (from the 1907 Die Dollarprinzessin), with music by Leo Fall and lyrics by Adrian Ross. It opened in London at Daly's Theatre on 25 September 1909, running for 428 performances. The London production starred Lily Elsie, Joseph Coyne, W. H. Berry and Gabrielle Ray. The young Gladys Cooper played a small role. It also had a very successful run on Broadway, with a new book and lyrics by George Grossmith, Jr. and additional numbers by Jerome Kern, opening on 6 August 1909 and running for 288 performances. Valli Valli, Adrienne Augarde and Louie Pounds starred in the New York production. In late Victorian and Edwardian Britain, "Dollar Princess" was the nickname given to American heiresses. Playgoer and Society Illustrated wrote, "To the average playgoer there is something very attractive in watching the antics of the vulgar when surrounded by the refinement of art which he can neither understand nor appreciate.... Miss Lily Elsie, as Alice, shows even an improvement on her performance in The Merry Widow. The inimitable Mr. Joseph Coyne
    8.25
    4 votes
    21
    Henry VI, part 2

    Henry VI, part 2

    • Characters: Dick the Butcher
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    Henry VI, Part 2 or The Second Part of Henry the Sixt (often written as 2 Henry VI) is a history play by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1591, and set during the lifetime of King Henry VI of England. Whereas 1 Henry VI deals primarily with the loss of England's French territories and the political machinations leading up to the Wars of the Roses, and 3 Henry VI deals with the horrors of that conflict, 2 Henry VI focuses on the King's inability to quell the bickering of his nobles, the death of his trusted adviser Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, the rise of the Duke of York and the inevitability of armed conflict. As such, the play culminates with the opening battle of the War, the First Battle of St Albans. Although the Henry VI trilogy may not have been written in chronological order, the three plays are often grouped together with Richard III to form a tetralogy covering the entire Wars of the Roses saga, from the death of Henry V in 1422 to the rise to power of Henry VII in 1485. It was the success of this sequence of plays that firmly established Shakespeare's reputation as a playwright. Henry VI, Part 2 has the largest cast of all Shakespeare's plays, and is
    7.00
    5 votes
    22
    Antigone

    Antigone

    • Characters: Antigone
    • Playwright: Sophocles
    Antigone (pronunciation: /ænˈtɪɡəniː/ an-TIG-ə-nee, Ancient Greek: Ἀντιγόνη) is a tragedy by Sophocles written in or before 441 BC. Chronologically, it is the third of the three Theban plays but was written first. The play expands on the Theban legend that predated it and picks up where Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes ends. Before the beginning of the play, two brothers leading opposite sides in Thebes' civil war died fighting each other for the throne. Creon, the new ruler of Thebes, has decided that Eteocles will be honored and Polyneices will be in public shame. The rebel brother's body will not be sanctified by holy rites, and will lie unburied on the battlefield, prey for carrion animals like worms and vultures, the harshest punishment at the time. Antigone and Ismene are the sisters of the dead Polyneices and Eteocles. In the opening of the play, Antigone brings Ismene outside the palace gates late at night for a secret meeting: Antigone wants to bury Polyneices' body, in defiance of Creon's edict. Ismene refuses to help her, fearing the death penalty, but she is unable to stop Antigone from going to bury her brother herself, causing Antigone to disown her. Creon enters,
    9.33
    3 votes
    23
    Mahomet

    Mahomet

    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Voltaire
    Mahomet (French: Le fanatisme, ou Mahomet le Prophete, literally Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet) is a five-act tragedy written in 1736 by French playwright and philosopher Voltaire. It received its debut performance in Lille on 25 April 1741. The play is a study of religious fanaticism and self-serving manipulation based on an episode in the traditional biography of Muhammad in which he orders the murder of his critics. Voltaire described the play as "written in opposition to the founder of a false and barbarous sect to whom could I with more propriety inscribe a satire on the cruelty and errors of a false prophet". The story of "Mahomet" unfolds during Muhammad's post exile siege of Mecca in 630 AD, when the opposing forces are under a short term truce called to discuss the terms and course of the war. In the first act we are introduced to a fictional leader of the Meccans, Zopir, an ardent and defiant advocate of free will and liberty who rejects Mahomet. Mahomet is presented through his conversations with his second in command Omar and with his opponent Zopir and with two of Zopir's long lost children (Seid and Palmira) whom, unbeknownst to Zopir, Mahomet had abducted and
    8.00
    4 votes
    24
    Phèdre

    Phèdre

    • Characters: Phaedra
    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Jean Racine
    Phèdre (originally Phèdre et Hippolyte) is a dramatic tragedy in five acts written in alexandrine verse by Jean Racine, first performed in 1677. With Phèdre, Racine chose once more a subject from Greek mythology, already treated by Greek and Roman tragic poets, notably by Euripides in Hippolytus and Seneca in Phaedra. In the absence of her royal husband Thésée, Phèdre ends by declaring her love to Hippolyte, Thésée's son from a previous marriage. As a result of an intrigue by the Duchess of Bouillon and other friends of the aging Pierre Corneille, the play was not a success at its première on 1 January 1677 at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, home of the royal troupe of actors in Paris. Indeed a rival group staged a play by the now forgotten playwright Nicolas Pradon on an almost identical theme. After Phèdre, Racine ceased writing plays on secular themes and devoted himself to the service of religion and the king until 1689, when he was commissioned to write Esther by Madame de Maintenon, the morganatic second wife of Louis XIV. Names of characters in French, with their equivalents in English: The play is set at the royal court in Troezen, on the Peloponnesus coast in Southern Greece. Act
    8.00
    4 votes
    25
    Phoenician Women

    Phoenician Women

    • Playwright: Euripides
    The Phoenician Women (Ancient Greek: Φοίνισσαι, Phoinissai) is a tragedy by Euripides, based on the same story as Aeschylus' play Seven Against Thebes. The title refers to the Greek chorus, which is composed of Phoenician women on their way to Delphi who are trapped in Thebes by the war. Unlike some of Euripides' other plays, the chorus does not play a significant role in the plot, but represents the innocent and neutral people that very often are found in the middle of war situations. Patriotism is a significant theme in the story, as Polynices talks a great deal about his love for the city of Thebes but has brought an army to destroy it; Creon is also forced to make a choice between saving the city and saving the life of his son. Euripides wrote the play around 408 BC, under the influence of a big defeat of his homeland, Athens, which then faced a military disaster. The play opens with a summary of the story of Oedipus and its aftermath told by Jocasta, who in this version has not committed suicide. She explains that after her husband blinded himself upon discovering that he was her son, his sons Eteocles and Polyneices locked him away in hopes that the people might forget what
    8.00
    4 votes
    26
    Stand by the River

    Stand by the River

    Stand by the River is a musical written by Joanne and Mark Sutton-Smith based on the true story of William Still, an African-American Abolitionist, and Jane Johnson, a slave he risked his life to rescue. The work was presented in New York City in an Equity staged reading, in February 2003, at the Theatre at St. Clements, directed by Larry Thelen of Goodspeed Musicals, and at Theatre Building Chicago's "Stages" festival in 2003, as well as the NYC ASCAP Musical Theater Workshop in 2004. It has also been presented in colleges, libraries, and historical societies. The musical has been covered in over 20 publications and media outlets, including National Public Radio, and the op-ed section of The Philadelphia Inquirer. In the summer of 2011, an abridged version of the work will be presented at the Duplex Cabaret Theatre in NYC, featuring Quentin Darrington and Kenita Miller. The action begins in Virginia, where Jane Johnson, the slave of diplomat John Wheeler, learns that her eldest child has been sold. When she hears that Wheeler will be taking her through Philadelphia on his way to a diplomatic assignment, she swears that she will escape to freedom with her two other children. The
    8.00
    4 votes
    27
    Elizabeth Rex

    Elizabeth Rex

    • Characters: Queen Elizabeth I
    Elizabeth Rex is a play by Timothy Findley. The plot involves a meeting between Queen Elizabeth I and an actor from Shakespeare's troupe who specializes in playing women's parts (since at that time women were not allowed to act in the theatre). The Queen had summoned them to perform "Much Ado About Nothing" for her to distract her from waiting for the execution for treason of a man she may have loved, the Earl of Essex. She struggles with her feelings, knowing that her whole life she has had to act like a man in order to govern, and has had to reject her passionate side in order to remain unmarried. At the same time, Ned Lowenscroft, a gay man, has had to act like a woman in order to succeed in his profession, and conceal his passionate side since, being gay, his love is forbidden. He is currently mourning a soldier whom he loved, but who also gave him syphilis. His syphilis gives him skin lesions and the play hints that they are analogous to Kaposi's sarcoma of the modern day. The Queen rejects the idea that she should mourn, while Ned very much wishes to mourn and have his sorrow acknowledged. One of the play's central themes is challenging notions of gender, as each of the two
    6.80
    5 votes
    28
    The Maid's Tragedy

    The Maid's Tragedy

    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: Francis Beaumont
    The Maid's Tragedy is a play by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. It was first published in 1619. The play was one of the earliest works in the canon of Fletcher and his collaborators that was acted by the King's Men; Fletcher would spend most of his career as that company's regular playwright. In the King's Men's performances of the play, the part of Melantius was reportedly acted by John Lowin. The play's date of origin is not known with certainty. In 1611, Sir George Buck, the Master of the Revels, named The Second Maiden's Tragedy based on the resemblances he perceived between the two works. Scholars generally assign the Beaumont/Fletcher play to c. 1608–11. Scholars and critics generally agree that the play is mostly the work of Beaumont; Cyrus Hoy, in his extensive survey of authorship problems in the Beaumont/Fletcher canon, assigns only four scenes to Fletcher (Act II, scene 2; Act IV, 1; and Act V, 1 and 2), though one of those is the climax of the play (IV, 1). The play was entered into the Stationers' Register on 28 April 1619, and published later that year by the bookseller Francis Constable. Subsequent editions appeared in 1622, 1630, 1638, 1641, 1650, and 1661. The
    9.00
    3 votes
    29
    An Enemy of the People

    An Enemy of the People

    • Characters: Morten
    • Country of origin: Norway
    • Playwright: Henrik Ibsen
    An Enemy of the people (original Norwegian title: En folkefiende) is an 1882 play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen wrote it in response to the public outcry against his play Ghosts, which at that time was considered scandalous. Ghosts had challenged the hypocrisy of Victorian morality and was deemed indecent for its veiled references to syphilis. An Enemy of the People addresses the irrational tendencies of the masses, and the hypocritical and corrupt nature of the political system that they support. It is the story of one brave man's struggle to do the right thing and speak the truth in the face of extreme social intolerance. The play's protagonist, Dr Stockmann, represents the playwright's own voice. Upon completion of the play, Ibsen wrote to his publisher in Copenhagen : "I am still uncertain as to whether I should call it a comedy or a straight drama. It may [have] many traits of comedy, but it also is based on a serious idea." Dr. Thomas Stockmann is a popular citizen of a small coastal town in Norway. The town has recently invested a large amount of public and private money towards the development of baths, a project led by Dr. Stockmann and his brother, Peter
    7.75
    4 votes
    30
    Bérénice

    Bérénice

    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Jean Racine
    Berenice (French: Bérénice) is a five-act tragedy by the French 17th-century playwright Jean Racine. Berenice was not played often between the 17th and the 20th centuries. Today it is one of Racine's more popular plays, after Phèdre, Andromaque and Britannicus. It was first performed in 1670. Racine seems to have chosen the subject in competition with Pierre Corneille, who was working on his drama Tite et Bérénice at the same time. The subject was taken from the Roman historian Suetonius, who recounts the story of the Roman emperor Titus and Berenice of Cilicia, the sister of Agrippa II. Suetonius wrote a single sentence on the affair: "Titus reginam Berenicen, cui etiam nuptias pollicitus ferebatur, statim ab Urbe dimisit invitus invitam." In his preface, Racine translates this as "Titus, who passionately loved Berenice and who was widely thought to have promised to marry her, sent her from Rome, in spite of himself and in spite of herself, in the early days of his empire." Because Titus' father, Vespasian, has died, everyone assumes that Titus will now be free to marry his beloved Bérénice, queen of Palestine. Madly in love with Bérénice, Antiochus plans to flee Rome rather than
    7.75
    4 votes
    31
    Ralph Roister Doister

    Ralph Roister Doister

    • Country of origin: England
    Ralph Roister Doister is a comic play by Nicholas Udall, generally regarded as the first comedy to be written in the English language. The date of its composition is disputed, but the balance of opinion suggests that it was written in about 1553, when Udall was a teacher in London, and was intended to be performed by his pupils - who were all male, as were all actors at that period. However, it was not published until 1567, eleven years after its author's death. It takes its theme from the Miles Gloriosus written by the roman playwright Plautus. The play is written in five acts. The plot of the play centres around a wealthy widow, Christian Custance, who is betrothed to Gawyn Goodluck, a merchant. Ralph Roister Doister is prompted by a friend to woo Christian Custance but his pompous attempts do not succeed. Ralph then tries with his friends to break in and take Christian Custance by force but they are defeated by her servants and run away. The merchant Gawyn arrives shortly after and the play concludes happily. Gender politics in this play is a very interesting aspect. The play is a very innovative experiment in the field of English Drama. The play is probably best described as a
    7.75
    4 votes
    32
    Rhesus

    Rhesus

    • Playwright: Euripides
    Rhesus (Ancient Greek: Ῥῆσος, Rhēsos) is an Athenian tragedy that belongs to the transmitted plays of Euripides. There has been debate about its authorship. It was understood to be by Euripides in the Hellenistic, Imperial, and Byzantine periods. In the 17th century, however, the play's authenticity was challenged, first by Joseph Scaliger and subsequently by others, largely on stylistic grounds. Modern scholarship agrees with the classical authorities and ascribes the play to Euripides. Rhesus takes place during the Trojan War, on the night when Odysseus and Diomedes sneak into the Trojan camp. The same event is narrated in book 10 of Homer's epic poem, the Iliad. In the middle of the night Trojan guards on the lookout for suspicious enemy activity sight bright fires in the Greek camp. They promptly inform Hector, who almost issues a general call to arms before Aeneas makes him see how ill-advised this would be. Their best bet, Aeneas argues, would be to send someone to spy on the Greek camp and see what the enemy is up to. Dolon volunteers to spy on the Greeks in exchange for Achilles's horses when the war is won. Hector accepts the deal and sends him out. Dolon leaves wearing
    7.75
    4 votes
    33
    The Duchess of Malfi

    The Duchess of Malfi

    • Characters: Roderigo
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: John Webster
    The Duchess of Malfi (originally published as The Tragedy of the Dutchesse of Malfy) is a macabre, tragic play written by the English dramatist John Webster in 1612–13. It was first performed privately at the Blackfriars Theatre, then before a more general audience at The Globe, in 1613-14. Published in 1623, the play is loosely based on events that occurred between about 1508 and 1513, recounted in William Painter's The Palace of Pleasure (1567). The Duchess was Giovanna d'Aragona, whose father, Arrigo d'Aragona, Marquis of Gerace, was an illegitimate son of Ferdinand I of Naples. Her husbands were Alfonso Piccolomini, Duke of Amalfi, and (as in the play) Antonio Bologna. The play begins as a love story, with a Duchess who marries beneath her class, and ends as a nightmarish tragedy as her two brothers exact their revenge, destroying themselves in the process. Jacobean drama continued the trend of stage violence and horror set by Elizabethan tragedy, under the influence of Seneca, and there is a great deal of all that in the later scenes of the play. The complexity of some of its characters, particularly Bosola and the Duchess, plus Webster's poetic language, ensure the play is
    7.75
    4 votes
    34
    The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus

    The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus

    • Characters: Devil
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: Christopher Marlowe
    The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the Faust story, in which a man sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. Doctor Faustus was first published in 1604, eleven years after Marlowe's death and at least twelve years after the first performance of the play. "No Elizabethan play outside the Shakespeare canon has raised more controversy than Doctor Faustus. There is no agreement concerning the nature of the text and the date of composition... and the centrality of the Faust legend in the history of the Western world precludes any definitive agreement on the interpretation of the play..." The Admiral's Men performed Doctor Faustus twenty-five times in the three years between October 1594 and October 1597. On 22 November 1602, the Diary of Philip Henslowe recorded a £4 payment to Samuel Rowley and William Bird for additions to the play, which suggests a revival soon after that date. The powerful effect of the early productions is indicated by the legends that quickly accrued around them. In Histriomastix, his 1632 polemic against the drama, William Prynne
    7.75
    4 votes
    35
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

    • Country of origin: United States of America
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is a 1976 musical with music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. It is considered to be a legendary Broadway flop, running only seven performances. It was Bernstein's last original score for Broadway. The musical opened on May 4, 1976 at the Mark Hellinger Theatre and closed on May 8, 1976 after 7 performances and 13 previews. It was co-directed and co-choreographed by Gilbert Moses and George Faison. The musical examined the establishment of the White House and its occupants from 1800 to 1900. Primarily focusing on race relations, the story depicted (among other incidents) Thomas Jefferson's then-alleged affair with a black maid, James Monroe's refusal to halt slavery in Washington, the aftermath of the American Civil War and Andrew Johnson's impeachment. Throughout the show, the leading actors performed multiple roles: Ken Howard played all the presidents, Patricia Routledge all the First Ladies, and Gilbert Price and Emily Yancy played the White House servants, Lud and Seena. Future Broadway stars Reid Shelton, Walter Charles, Beth Fowler and Richard Muenz appeared in ensemble roles, as did the young African American baritone
    6.60
    5 votes
    36
    Faust Part One

    Faust Part One

    • Country of origin: Germany
    • Playwright: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy (German: Faust. Eine Tragödie. or Faust. Der Tragödie erster Teil) is the first part of Goethe's Faust. It was first published in 1808. The first part of Faust is not divided into acts, but is structured as a sequence of scenes in a variety of settings. After a dedicatory poem and a prelude in the theater, the actual plot begins with a prologue in Heaven, where the Lord challenges Mephistopheles, the Devil, that Mephistopheles cannot lead astray the Lord's favourite striving scholar, Dr. Faust. We then see Faust in his study, attempting and failing to gain knowledge of nature and the universe by magic means. The dejected Faust contemplates suicide, but is held back by the sounds of the beginning Easter celebrations. He joins his assistant Wagner for an Easter walk in the countryside, among the celebrating people, and is followed home by a poodle. Back in the study, the poodle transforms itself into Mephistopheles, who offers Faust a contract: he will do Faust's bidding on earth, and Faust will do the same for him in hell (if, as Faust adds in an important side clause, Mephisto can get him to be satisfied and to want a moment to last forever).
    8.67
    3 votes
    37
    Johnny Johnson

    Johnny Johnson

    • Playwright: Paul Green
    Johnny Johnson is a musical with a book and lyrics by Paul Green and music by Kurt Weill. Based on Jaroslav Hašek's satiric novel The Good Soldier Švejk, it focuses on a naive and idealistic young man who, despite his pacifist views, leaves his sweetheart Minny Belle Tompkins to fight in Europe in World War I. He manages to bring the skirmish to a temporary halt by incapacitating a meeting of the generals with laughing gas, but once they recover he finds himself committed to an asylum for ten years. He returns home to discover Minny Belle has married a capitalist, and he settles down as a toymaker who will create anything except tin soldiers, his personal gesture of peace in an increasingly warlike society. Its title was inspired by the fact the name appeared on United States casualty rolls more often than any other. The play was written and composed by Green and Weill during the summer of 1936 in a rented old house located in Nichols, Connecticut near the summer rehearsal headquarters of the Group Theatre at Pine Brook Country Club. Weill was asked to develop the project by the socially-conscious Group Theatre, but much of his music was scrapped when original director Harold
    8.67
    3 votes
    38
    Sally

    Sally

    • Playwright: Guy Bolton
    Sally is a musical comedy with music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Clifford Grey and book by Guy Bolton (inspired by the 19th century show, Sally in our Alley), with additional lyrics by Buddy De Sylva, Anne Caldwell and P. G. Wodehouse. It was originally produced by Florenz Ziegfeld, opening on December 21, 1920 at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway. It ran for 570 performances, which was one of the longest runs on Broadway up to that time. By the time it closed in 1924 (including revivals), it would prove to be among the top five money makers of the 1920s. The show was designed as the musical comedy debut of Marilyn Miller, a 22-year old Ziegfeld Follies girl. Miller would continue to be a star on Broadway until her death in 1936. Kern, Bolton, and Wodehouse had collaborated on a number of musical comedies at the Princess Theatre. The story combined the innocence of these earlier "Princess musicals" with the lavishness of the "Follies" formula. The score recycles some material from previous Kern shows, including "Look for the Silver Lining" and "Whip-poor-will" (with lyrics by De Sylva, from the flop "Zip Goes a Million"); "The Lorelei" (lyrics by Anne Caldwell); and "You Can't
    10.00
    2 votes
    39
    Iphigenie auf Tauris

    Iphigenie auf Tauris

    • Characters: Iphigeneia
    • Country of origin: Germany
    • Playwright: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    Iphigenia in Tauris (German: Iphigenie auf Tauris) is a reworking by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe of the ancient Greek tragedy Ἰφιγένεια ἐν Ταύροις, Iphigeneia en Taurois, by Euripides. Goethe's chosen Latinized title for his work, however, is a false analogy to the title of Euripides's tragedy, which really means "Iphigenia among the Taurians". The German title does not refer to the Tauri, the Scythian people on the Crimean Peninsula, but to a nonexistent country called Tauris. Goethe wrote the first version of his play in six weeks, and it was first performed on April 6, 1779, in prose form. He rewrote it in 1781, again in prose, and finally in 1786 in verse form. He took the manuscript of Iphigenia in Tauris with him on his famous Italian Journey. Beloved by the gods for his wisdom, the demigod Tantalus was once invited to their fellowship. Becoming boisterous whilst celebrating with them, he began to boast, and he stole the gods' nectar and ambrosia, their food of immortality. When the gods came to see Tantalus in turn, he tested their omniscience by offering his own son Pelops to them as their meal. Offended by the deception, the gods banished Tantalus from their community to
    7.25
    4 votes
    40
    The Birds

    The Birds

    • Playwright: Aristophanes
    The Birds (Greek: Ὄρνιθες Ornithes) is a comedy by the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes. It was performed in 414 BCE at the City Dionysia where it won second prize. It has been acclaimed by modern critics as a perfectly realized fantasy remarkable for its mimicry of birds and for the gaiety of its songs. Unlike the author's other early plays, it includes no direct mention of the Peloponnesian War and there are few references to Athenian politics, and yet it was staged not long after the commencement of the Sicilian Expedition, an ambitious military campaign that had greatly increased Athenian commitment to the war effort. It is the longest of Aristophanes' surviving plays and yet it is a fairly conventional example of Old Comedy. Quick overview: Pisthetaerus, a middle-aged Athenian, persuades the world's birds to create a new city in the sky, thereby gaining control over all communications between men and gods. He is miraculously transformed into a bird-like figure and, with the help of his friends, the birds, and with advice from Prometheus, he soon replaces Zeus as the pre-eminent power in the cosmos. Summary: The play begins with two middle-aged men stumbling across a
    7.25
    4 votes
    41
    The Changeling

    The Changeling

    • Characters: Alonzo de Piracquo
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Rowley
    The Changeling is a Jacobean tragedy written by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley. Widely regarded as "among the best" tragedies of the English Renaissance, the play has accumulated a significant body of critical commentary. The play was licensed for performance by Sir Henry Herbert, the Master of the Revels, on 7 May 1622, and was first published in 1653 by the bookseller Humphrey Moseley. The title page of the first edition of The Changeling attributes the play to Middleton and Rowley. The division of authorship between the two writers was first delineated by Pauline Wiggin in 1897, and is widely accepted. David Lake, in his survey of authorship problems in the Middleton canon, summarizes the standard division of shares this way. Lake differs from previous commentators only in assigning the first seventeen lines of IV,ii to Rowley. The essential point of the dichotomy is that Rowley wrote the subplot and the opening and closing scenes, while Middleton was primarily responsible for the main plot—a division of labor that is unsurprising, given the examples of other Middleton/Rowley collaborations. The main plot itself derives from a 1621 story collection by John
    7.25
    4 votes
    42
    Andromaque

    Andromaque

    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Jean Racine
    Andromaque is a tragedy in five acts by the French playwright Jean Racine written in alexandrine verse. It was first performed on 17 November 1667 before the court of Louis XIV in the Louvre in the private chambers of the Queen, Marie Thérèse, by the royal company of actors, called "les Grands Comédiens", with Thérèse Du Parc in the title role. The company gave the first public performance two days later in the Hôtel de Bourgogne in Paris. Andromaque, the third of Racine's plays, written at the age of 27, established its author's reputation as one of the great playwrights in France. Euripides' play Andromache and the third book of Virgil's Aeneid were the points of departure for Racine's play. The play takes place in the aftermath of the Trojan War, during which Andromache's husband Hector, son of Priam, has been slain by Achilles and their young son Astyanax has narrowly escaped a similar fate at the hands of Ulysses, who has unknowingly been tricked into killing another child in his place. Andromache has been taken prisoner in Epirus by Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, who is due to be married to Hermione, the only daughter of the Spartan king Menelaus and Helen of Troy. Orestes, son of
    8.33
    3 votes
    43
    The Belle of New York

    The Belle of New York

    • Characters: Count Ratsi Rattatoo
    • Playwright: C. M. S. McLellan
    The Belle of New York is a musical comedy in two acts, with book and lyrics by Hugh Morton and music by Gustave Kerker, about a Salvation Army girl who reforms a spendthrift, makes a great sacrifice and finds true love. Opening on Broadway at the Casino Theatre on 28 September 1897, it ran for only 64 performances. It subsequently transferred to London in 1898, where it was a major success, running for an almost unprecedented 674 performances, and became the first American musical to run for over a year in the West End. The Standard stated that the entire Broadway cast "numbering sixty-three persons" was brought over to London, "the largest stage troupe from the other side of the Atlantic that has ever professionally visited this country." The show starred Edna May, whose performance as Violet made her a star in New York and London. Postcards of her in costume became ubiquitous; more photographs of her were sold in London than of any other actress in 1898. In London, the piece opened on 12 April 1898, produced by J. C. Williamson and George Musgrove. The composer conducted at the opening night. The work had stiff competition in London in 1898, as other successful openings included
    8.33
    3 votes
    44
    The Master Builder

    The Master Builder

    • Characters: Hilda Wangel
    • Country of origin: Norway
    • Playwright: Henrik Ibsen
    The Master Builder (Norwegian: Bygmester Solness) is a play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It was first published in December 1892 and is regarded as one of Ibsen's most significant and revealing works. The play was first performed on 19 January 1893 at the Lessing Theatre, Berlin, with Emanuel Reicher as Solness. It opened at the Trafalgar Theatre, London on the 20th of the following month, with Herbert H. Waring in the name part and Elizabeth Robins as Hilda. The English translation was by the theatre critic William Archer. Productions in Oslo and Copenhagen were coordinated to open on 8 March 1893. In the following year the work was taken up by Théâtre de l'Œuvre, the international company based in Paris, and they mounted productions in Paris, London and other European capitals. The first U.S. performance was at the Carnegie Lyceum, New York, on 16 January 1900, with William Pascoe and Florence Kahn. Halvard Solness, the master builder, has become the most successful builder in his home town by a fortunate series of coincidences. He had previously conceived these in his mind, powerfully wished for them to come to pass, but never actually did anything about them. By the
    8.33
    3 votes
    45
    The Shop Girl

    The Shop Girl

    The Shop Girl was a musical comedy in two acts (described by the author as a musical farce) written by H. J. W. Dam, with Lyrics by Dam and Adrian Ross and music by Ivan Caryll, and additional numbers by Lionel Monckton and Ross. It was first produced by George Edwardes at the Gaiety Theatre in London, opening on 24 November 1894. The piece ran for an extremely successful 546 performances, transferring to Daly's Theatre. It starred Seymour Hicks, George Grossmith, Jr., Arthur Williams, Edmund Payne, Willie Warde and Ada Reeve, who (being pregnant) was replaced in the cast by Kate Cutler and then Hicks' wife, Ellaline Terriss. Topsy Sinden danced in the piece. Direction was by James T. Tanner, with choreography by Warde. Costumes were by C. Wilhelm. The success of A Gaiety Girl in 1893 confirmed to Edwardes that the lighter "musical comedy" was the right path for musical theatre. The Shop Girl heralded a new era in musical comedy, and the critics were amazed that the author had provided such a coherent story, as there had been hardly any story at all in burlesque. Over a dozen copies followed at the Gaiety Theatre (including My Girl, The Circus Girl, and A Runaway Girl) over the
    8.33
    3 votes
    46
    Ur-Hamlet

    Ur-Hamlet

    • Country of origin: England
    The Ur-Hamlet (the German prefix Ur- means "primordial") is the name given to a play of unknown authorship mentioned as early as 1589, a decade before most scholars believe Shakespeare composed Hamlet, but also involving the character of Hamlet. Several surviving references indicate that such a play was well-known throughout the decade of the 1590s, some time before the first published texts of Shakespeare's play (1603, 1604). There is, in fact, no hard evidence--only conjecture--that any such "Ur-Hamlet" ever existed. The earliest such reference occurs in 1589 when Thomas Nashe in his introduction to Robert Greene's Menaphon implies the existence of an early Hamlet: A 1594 performance record of Hamlet appears in Philip Henslowe's diary and in 1596 Thomas Lodge wrote of "the ghost which cried so miserably at the theatre, like an oyster-wife, Hamlet, revenge!" Because Nashe apparently alludes to Thomas Kyd in the same passage, and because of similarities between the Shakespearean Hamlet and Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy, it has sometimes been posited that Kyd is the author of the Ur-Hamlet, and that the play was never published and is now lost. Other scholars believe that the play is an
    8.33
    3 votes
    47
    The Merchant of Venice

    The Merchant of Venice

    • Characters: Shylock
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    The Merchant of Venice is a tragic comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1596 and 1598. Though classified as a comedy in the First Folio and sharing certain aspects with Shakespeare's other romantic comedies, the play is perhaps most remembered for its dramatic scenes, and is best known for Shylock and the famous 'Hath not a Jew eyes' speech. Also notable is Portia's speech about the 'quality of mercy'. The title character is the merchant Antonio, not the Jewish moneylender Shylock, who is the play's most prominent and most famous character. This is made explicit by the title page of the first quarto: The moſt excellent Hiſtorie of the Merchant of Venice. VVith the extreme crueltie of Shylocke the Iewe towards the ſayd Merchant, in cutting a iuſt pound of his flesh: and the obtaining of Portia by the choice of three chests. Bassanio, a young Venetian of noble rank, wishes to woo the beautiful and wealthy heiress Portia of Belmont. Having squandered his estate, Bassanio approaches his friend Antonio, a wealthy merchant of Venice and a kind and generous person, who has previously and repeatedly bailed him out, for three thousand ducats needed to
    9.50
    2 votes
    48
    All's Well That Ends Well

    All's Well That Ends Well

    • Characters: Helena
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    All's Well That Ends Well is a play by William Shakespeare. It is traditionally believed to have been written between 1604 and 1605, and was originally published in the First Folio in 1623. Though originally the play was classified as one of Shakespeare's comedies, the play is now considered by some critics to be one of his problem plays, so named because they cannot be neatly classified as tragedy or comedy. Helena, the orphan daughter of a famous physician, is the ward of the Countess of Rousillon, and hopelessly in love with the son of the Countess, Count Bertram, who has been sent to the court of the King of France. Despite her beauty and worth, Helena has no hope of attracting Bertram, since she is of low birth and he is a nobleman. However, when word comes that the King is ill, she goes to Paris and, using her father's arts, cures the fistula from which he suffers. In return, she is given the hand of any man in the realm; she chooses Bertram. Her new husband is appalled at the match, however, and shortly after their marriage flees France, accompanied only by a scoundrel named Parolles, to fight in the army of the Duke of Florence. Helena is sent home to the Countess, and
    7.00
    4 votes
    49
    As You Like It

    As You Like It

    • Characters: Rosalind
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the First Folio, 1623. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility. As You Like It follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle's court, accompanied by her cousin Celia and Touchstone the court jester, to find safety and eventually love in the Forest of Arden. Historically, critical response has varied, with some critics finding the work of lesser quality than other Shakespearean works and some finding the play a work of great merit. The play features one of Shakespeare's most famous and oft-quoted speeches, "All the world's a stage", and is the origin of the phrase "too much of a good thing". The play remains a favourite among audiences and has been adapted for radio, film, and musical theatre. The play is set in a duchy in France, but most of the action takes place in a location called the Forest of Arden, which may be intended for the Ardennes in France, but is sometimes identified with Arden, Warwickshire, near Shakespeare's home town. Frederick
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    50
    Every Man in His Humour

    Every Man in His Humour

    • Characters: Mr. Matthew
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: Ben Jonson
    Every Man in His Humour is a 1598 play by the English playwright Ben Jonson. The play belongs to the subgenre of the "humours comedy," in which each major character is dominated by an overriding humour or obsession. All the available evidence indicates that the play was performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men in 1598 at the Curtain Theatre. That date is given in the play's reprint in Jonson's 1616 folio collection of his works; the text of the play (IV,iv,15) contains an allusion to John Barrose, a Burgundian fencer who challenged all comers that year and was hanged for murder on 10 July 1598. The play was also acted at Court on 2 February 1605. A theatre legend first recorded in 1709 by Nicholas Rowe has it that Shakespeare advocated production of the play at a point when the company was about to reject it. While this legend is unverifiable, it is all but certain, based on the playlist published in the folio, that Shakespeare played the part of Kno'well. The play was entered into the Register of the Stationers' Company on 4 August 1600, along with the Shakespearean plays As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, and Henry V, in an entry marked "to be stayed." It is thought that this
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    4 votes
    51
    Florodora

    Florodora

    • Playwright: Owen Hall
    Florodora is an Edwardian musical comedy and became one of the first successful Broadway musicals of the 20th century. The book was written by Jimmy Davis under the pseudonym Owen Hall, the music was by Leslie Stuart with additional songs by Paul Rubens, and the lyrics were by Edward Boyd-Jones and Rubens. The original London production opened in 1899 where it ran for a very successful 455 performances. The New York production was even more popular, opening the following season and running for 552 performances. After this, the piece was produced throughout the English-speaking world and beyond. The show was famous for its double sextet and its chorus line of "Florodora Girls". The piece was popular with amateur theatre groups, particularly in Britain, into the 1950s. Florodora was the first of a series of successful musicals by Stuart, including The Silver Slipper (1901), The School Girl (1903), The Belle of Mayfair (1906), and Havana (1908). Upon opening in London on 11 November 1899 at the Lyric Theatre, the show originally starred Evie Greene, Willie Edouin and Ada Reeve Running for an astounding-for-the-time 455 performances, and closing in March 1901, the show would prove as a
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    52
    How Now, Dow Jones

    How Now, Dow Jones

    • Playwright: Max Shulman
    How Now, Dow Jones is a musical comedy by Academy Award winner Elmer Bernstein, Tony Award nominee Carolyn Leigh and Max Shulman. The original Broadway production opened in December 1967. A critically acclaimed revised version premiered in August 2009. How Now, Dow Jones, set in Wall Street, follows Kate who announces the Dow Jones numbers. Her fiancé will not marry her until the Dow Jones Industrial Average hits 1,000. The original Broadway production opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on December 7, 1967 and closed on June 15, 1968 after 220 performances and 19 previews. The David Merrick production was directed by George Abbott with choreography by Gillian Lynne (who was actually replaced by an uncredited Michael Bennett). The cast starred Tony Roberts, Marlyn Mason, Brenda Vaccaro and Hiram Sherman. In August 2009, a critically acclaimed revised version of How Now, Dow Jones was presented by UnsungMusicalsCo. Inc. at the Minetta Lane Theatre as part of the New York International Fringe Festival. The cast was led by Jefferson Award nominee Cristen Paige, Colin Hanlon and Fred Berman. As revised and directed by Ben West, the new version featured three new songs that were cut
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    53
    Iphigeneia at Aulis

    Iphigeneia at Aulis

    • Playwright: Euripides
    Iphigenia in Aulis (Ancient Greek: Ἰφιγένεια ἐν Αὐλίδι, Iphigeneia en Aulidi; variously translated, including the Latin Iphigenia in Aulide) is the last extant work of the playwright Euripides. Written between 408, after the Orestes, and 406 BC, the year of Euripides's death, the play was first produced the following year in a trilogy with The Bacchae and Alcmaeon in Corinth by his son or nephew, Euripides the Younger, and won the first place at the Athenian city Dionysia. The play revolves around Agamemnon, the leader of the Greek coalition before and during the Trojan War, and his decision to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia, to appease the goddess Artemis and allow his troops to set sail to preserve their honour in battle against Troy. The conflict between Agamemnon and Achilles over the fate of the young woman presages a similar conflict between the two at the beginning of the Iliad. In his depiction of the experiences of the main characters, Euripides frequently uses tragic irony for dramatic effect. The Greek fleet is waiting at Aulis, Boeotia, with its ships ready to sail for Troy, but it is unable to depart due to a strange lack of wind. After consulting the seer Calchas,
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    54
    Les Misérables

    Les Misérables

    • Characters: Gavroche
    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Claude-Michel Schönberg
    Les Misérables ( /leɪ ˈmɪzərɑːb/ or /leɪ ˌmɪzəˈrɑːb/; French pronunciation: [le mizeˈʁablə]), colloquially known as Les Mis or Les Miz /leɪ ˈmɪz/, is a sung-through musical based on the novel of the same name by French poet and playwright Victor Hugo. The music was composed by Claude-Michel Schönberg, and the lyrics were written by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, with an English-language libretto by Herbert Kretzmer. Set in early 19th-century France, the plot follows the stories of the escaped prisoner Jean Valjean, the policeman Javert who doggedly seeks him, two young women in love, prisoners, workers, student revolutionaries and rascals, as they struggle for love, loot, redemption and revolution. The musical opened at the Barbican Centre in London, England, on 8 October 1985, and it continues to run in the West End. It is the second longest-running musical in the world after The Fantasticks, the second longest-running West End show after The Mousetrap, and the third longest-running show in Broadway history. It is the longest-running musical in the West End followed by The Phantom of the Opera. In 2010, it played its ten-thousandth performance in London, at Queen's Theatre. On
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    4 votes
    55
    Prometheus Bound

    Prometheus Bound

    • Characters: Prometheus
    • Playwright: Aeschylus
    Prometheus Bound (Ancient Greek: Προμηθεὺς Δεσμώτης, Promētheus Desmōtēs) is an Ancient Greek tragedy. In Antiquity, this drama was attributed to Aeschylus, but is now considered by some scholars to be the work of another hand, perhaps one as late as ca. 415 BC. Despite these doubts of authorship, the play's designation as Aeschylean has remained conventional. The tragedy is based on the myth of Prometheus, a Titan who was punished by the god Zeus for giving fire to mankind. The play is composed almost entirely of speeches and contains little action since its protagonist is chained and immobile throughout. At the beginning, Kratos (strength), Bia (force), and the smith-god Hephaestus chain the Titan Prometheus to a mountain in the Caucasus, with Hephaestus alone expressing reluctance and pity, and then depart. According to the author, Prometheus is being punished not only for stealing fire, but also for thwarting Zeus's plan to obliterate the human race. This punishment is especially galling since Prometheus was instrumental in Zeus's victory in the Titanomachy. The Oceanids appear and attempt to comfort Prometheus by conversing with him. Prometheus cryptically tells them that he
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    56
    The School for Wives

    The School for Wives

    • Characters: Enrique
    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Molière
    The School for Wives (French: L'école des femmes) is a theatrical comedy written by the seventeenth century French playwright Molière and considered by some critics to be one of his finest achievements. It was first staged at the Palais Royal theatre on 26 December 1662 for the brother of the King. The play depicts a character who is so intimidated by femininity that he resolves to marry his young, naïve ward and proceeds to make clumsy advances to this purpose. It raised some outcry from the public, which seems to have recognized Molière as a bold playwright who would not be afraid to write about controversial issues. In June 1663, the playwright cunningly responded to the uproar against this play with another piece entitled La Critique de L'École des femmes, in which he provided some explanation for his unique style of comedy. A musical adaptation entitled The Amorous Flea was staged off-Broadway in 1964. Its characters include: The scene is a square in a provincial town. Arnolphe, the main protagonist, is a man of 42 years who has groomed the young Agnès since the age of 4. Arnolphe supports Agnès living in a nunnery until the age of 17, when he removes her and moves her to one
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    4 votes
    57
    A Man for All Seasons

    A Man for All Seasons

    • Characters: Sir Thomas More
    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    • Playwright: Robert Bolt
    A Man for All Seasons is a play by Robert Bolt. An early form of the play had been written for BBC Radio in 1954, and a one-hour live television version starring Bernard Hepton was produced in 1957 by the BBC, but after Bolt's success with The Flowering Cherry, he reworked it for the stage. It was first performed in London opening at the Globe Theatre (now Gielgud Theatre) on 1 July 1960. It later found its way to Broadway, enjoying a critically and commercially successful run of over a year. It has had several revivals, and was subsequently made into a feature film and a television movie. The plot is based on the true story of Sir Thomas More, the 16th-century Chancellor of England, who refused to endorse King Henry VIII's wish to divorce his ageing wife Catherine of Aragon, who could not bear him a son, so that he could marry Anne Boleyn, the sister of his former mistress. The play portrays More as a man of principle, envied by rivals such as Thomas Cromwell and loved by the common people and by his family. The title reflects 20th century agnostic playwright Robert Bolt’s portrayal of More as the ultimate man of conscience. As one who remains true to himself and his beliefs under
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    5 votes
    58
    The Girls of Gottenberg

    The Girls of Gottenberg

    • Playwright: George Grossmith, Jr.
    The Girls of Gottenberg is a musical play in two acts by George Grossmith, Jr. and L. E. Berman, with lyrics by Adrian Ross and Basil Hood, and music by Ivan Caryll and Lionel Monckton. P. G. Wodehouse's personal papers indicate that he wrote the lyrics for one song, "Our Little Way", but this was not included in the libretto of show, and he was not credited as a lyricist. The musical opened at the Gaiety Theatre in London, managed by George Edwardes, on 15 May 1907, and ran for 303 performances. It starred George Grossmith, Jr., Edmund Payne and Gertie Millar. The young Gladys Cooper played the small role of Eva. The show also had a Broadway run at the Knickerbocker Theatre opening on 2 September 1908 and an Australian run. One of the best known songs from the show is "Berlin Is on the Spree". Although this show was popular in London in 1907, it had competition from several very successful shows in that season, including the hit productions of The Merry Widow and Miss Hook of Holland.
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    5 votes
    59
    Extremities

    Extremities

    • Playwright: William Mastrosimone
    Extremities is a play by William Mastrosimone that was first performed off Broadway in 1982. It opened at the Westside Theatre in New York on December 22, 1982 and ran for 325 performances. A young woman, Marjorie, is attacked in her home by a would-be rapist, Raul, and manages to turn the tables on him, tying him up in her fireplace. Her roommates come home to discover the attacker bound with cords, belts and other household items. Terry and Patricia, the roommates, express different points of view about rape in society. Terry, a rape victim herself as a teenager, believes that Raul will not be convicted since a rape did not actually occur and there is no proof. Patricia believes in the judicial system and insists on calling the police. The three friends are also turned on each other at various points in the play, due to Raul's knowledge of each of them through stalking them. For instance, close to the play's opening, Raul reveals to Terry that Marjorie had been dating Terry's boyfriend. Susan Sarandon originated the lead role of Marjorie in the 1982 off-Broadway production. Farrah Fawcett later took over the role to great critical acclaim, establishing herself as a serious
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    3 votes
    60
    San Toy

    San Toy

    San Toy, or The Emperor's Own is a "Chinese" musical comedy in two acts, first performed at Daly's Theatre, London, on 21 October 1899, and ran for 768 performances (edging out The Geisha as the second longest run for any musical up to that time). The book was written by Edward Morton, and the musical score was written by Sidney Jones with lyrics by Harry Greenbank and Adrian Ross. Additional songs were written by Lionel Monckton. The cast included Marie Tempest, Scott Russell, Huntley Wright and Rutland Barrington. The piece enjoyed international success. In America, San Toy opened at the Daly's Theatre on Broadway on 10 October 1900. It was revived at the same theatre in 1901, 1902 and 1905, playing for a total of more than 200 performances in these productions. The piece was regularly performed by amateur theatre groups, particularly in Britain, from 1910 through the 1930s, but it has been produced only rarely since then. Some of the language and stereotyping in the show reflect the period in which it was written and would not now be considered politically correct. However, a close inspection to the lyrics of such songs as Samee Gamee display a gentle mocking of the pretension
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    3 votes
    61
    The Bing Boys Are Here

    The Bing Boys Are Here

    • Playwright: George Grossmith, Jr.
    The Bing Boys Are Here, styled "A Picture of London Life, in a Prologue and Six Panels," is the first of a series of revues which played at the Alhambra Theatre, London during the last two years of World War I. The series included The Bing Boys on Broadway and The Bing Boys are There. The music for them was written by Nat D. Ayer with lyrics by Clifford Grey, who also contributed to Yes, Uncle!, and the text was by George Grossmith, Jr. and Fred Thompson based on Rip and Bousquet's Le Fils Touffe. Other material was contributed by Eustace Ponsonby, Philip Braham and Ivor Novello. The revue first opened on 19 April 1916 starring George Robey and Violet Lorraine, famous for their introduction of the song "If You Were the Only Girl (in the World)," and Alfred Lester (1894–1925). It was replaced, after 378 performances, on 24 February 1917 by The Bing Boys are There, with a different cast. It changed once again on 16 February 1918 to The Bing Boys on Broadway, with Robey returning to the cast. The total number of performances for all three reviews was well over 1,000, lasting beyond the Armistice in November 1918. Recordings were made for the Columbia label in London by members of the
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    3 votes
    62
    Locrine

    Locrine

    • Country of origin: England
    Locrine is an Elizabethan play depicting the legendary Trojan founders of the nation of England and of Troynovant (London). The play presents a cluster of complex and unresolved problems for scholars of English Renaissance theatre. Locrine was entered into the Stationers' Register on 20 July 1594 and published in 1595 in a quarto issued by printer Thomas Creede. Individual scholars have proposed dates for the play from the early 1580s on; many have favored a date c. 1591, based on the play's links with other works of the era. It has been argued, for example, that Locrine borrows from the Complaints of Edmund Spenser, published in 1591, and from The Complaint of Elstred, a poem by Thomas Lodge, written c. 1591, that circulated in manuscript before its first printing in 1593. The question of the play's date is complicated by the question of its authorship; if Charles Tilney was the play's author (see below), it must date prior to Tilney's death in 1586. The title page of the 1595 quarto advertised the play as "Newly set foorth, overseene and corrected, / By W. S." An identification of "W. S." with William Shakespeare apparently led to the play's inclusion among the seven works that
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    4 votes
    63
    The Orchid

    The Orchid

    The Orchid is a musical play in two acts by James T. Tanner, with lyrics by Adrian Ross and Percy Greenbank and music by Ivan Caryll and Lionel Monckton and additional numbers by Paul Rubens. It opened at Gaiety Theatre in London on 26 October 1903 and ran for 559 performances. It starred Gertie Millar, Gabrielle Ray, Harry Grattan, Edmund Payne and George Grossmith, Jr. The show also had a successful Broadway run, revivals and a U.S. tour. The Orchid was the first show played in the renovated Gaiety Theatre. King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra were both there for the opening night. Some of the show's successful songs were "Liza Ann", "Little Mary", "Pushful", and "Fancy Dress". The story concerns the quest of a wealthy American for a $2,000 Peruvian orchid to be sent, for obscure reasons, to Nice, France. When foul play keeps the flower from reaching its destination, it is discovered that a nearly identical orchid is growing in the garden of the horticultural college. Act I – The Countess of Barwick's Horticultural College Act II – Various locations in Nice: Black Massena, Promenade des Anglais, & Interior of the Opera House
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    4 votes
    64
    Adele

    Adele

    • Playwright: Paul Herve
    Adele is a musical in three acts with music by Jean Briquet and Adolph Philipp, original French book and lyrics by Paul Hervé, and English adaptation by Adolf Philipp and Edward A. Paulton. The plot concerns a French girl who falls in love with the son of her father's business rival. The Broadway production opened on August 28, 1913, at the Longacre Theatre, transferring to the Harris Theatre and ran for a total of 196 performances. It was directed by Ben Teal. Natalie Alt played the title role. Georgia Caine was Mme. Myrianne de Neuville, Hal Forde was Baron Charles de Chantilly and Craufurd Kent was Robert Friebur. The West End London production opened at the Gaiety Theatre on May 30, 1914.
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    2 votes
    65
    Le Barbier de Séville

    Le Barbier de Séville

    • Characters: Youthful
    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Pierre de Beaumarchais
    The Barber of Seville or the Useless Precaution (French: Le Barbier de Séville ou la Précaution inutile) is a French play by Pierre Beaumarchais, with original music by Antoine-Laurent Baudron. It was initially conceived as a comic opera, and was rejected as such in 1772 by the Comédie-Italienne. The play as it is now known was written in 1773, but, due to legal and political problems of the author, it was not performed until February 23, 1775, at the Comédie-Française in the Tuileries. It is the first play in a trilogy of which the other constituents are The Marriage of Figaro, and The Guilty Mother. Though the play was poorly received at first, Beaumarchais worked some fast editing of the script, turning it into a roaring success after three days. The play's title might be a pun on Tirso de Molina's earlier play El Burlador de Sevilla (The Trickster of Seville). Mozart wrote a set of variations on one of its songs, "Je suis Lindor". The story follows a traditional Commedia dell'arte structure, with many characters seemingly based on famous stock characters. The plot involves a Spanish count, called simply The Count although "Almaviva" appears as an additional name (whether it's a
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    2 votes
    66
    The Merry Wives of Windsor

    The Merry Wives of Windsor

    • Characters: Falstaff
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    The Merry Wives of Windsor is a comedy by William Shakespeare, first published in 1602, though believed to have been written prior to 1597. It features the fat knight Sir John Falstaff, and is Shakespeare's only play to deal exclusively with contemporary Elizabethan era English middle class life. It has been adapted for the opera on occasions. Some elements of The Merry Wives of Windsor may have been adapted from Il Pecorone, a collection of stories by Ser Giovanni Fiorentino; one of these stories was included in William Painter's The Palace of Pleasure. The play's date of composition is unknown; it was registered for publication in 1602, but was probably several years old by that date. Textual allusions to the Order of the Garter at Windsor Castle (5.5. 69–72) suggest that the play may have been intended for performance in April 1597, prior to the installation at Windsor in May of the Knights-Elect of that order; if so, it was probably performed when Elizabeth I attended Garter Feast on 23 April. Katherine Duncan-Jones points out that this was the year Lord Hunsdon, the Lord Chamberlain, was admitted to the Order and that, as a patron of Shakespeare's playing company The Lord
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    2 votes
    67
    Henry IV, Part 2

    Henry IV, Part 2

    • Characters: Falstaff
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    Henry IV, Part 2 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed written between 1596 and 1599. It is the third part of a tetralogy, preceded by Richard II and Henry IV, Part 1 and succeeded by Henry V. The play picks up where Henry IV, Part One left off. Its focus is on Prince Hal's journey toward kingship, and his ultimate rejection of Falstaff. However, unlike Part One, Hal and Falstaff's stories are almost entirely separate, as the two characters meet only twice and very briefly. The tone of much of the play is elegiac, focusing on Falstaff's age and his closeness to death. Falstaff is still drinking and engaging in petty criminality in the London underworld. Falstaff appears, followed by a new character, a young page whom Prince Hal has assigned him as a joke. Falstaff enquires what the doctor has said about the analysis of his urine, and the page cryptically informs him that the urine is healthier than the patient. Falstaff promises to outfit the page in "vile apparel" (ragged clothing). He then complains of his insolubility, blaming it on "consumption of the purse." They go off, Falstaff vowing to find a wife "in the stews" (i.e., the local brothels). He has a
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    3 votes
    68
    Rudens

    Rudens

    • Playwright: Plautus
    Rudens is a play by Roman author, Plautus, thought to have been written around 211 BC. Its name translates from Latin as 'The Rope'. It is a comedy, which describes how a girl, Palaestra, stolen from her parents by pirates, is reunited with her father, Daemones, ironically, by means of her pimp, Labrax. The story is, however, far more complex; in particular, humour is derived from the interactions between slaves and masters, and the changes in friendships throughout. The play is set in Cyrene, in northern Africa, although the characters come from a range of cities around the Mediterranean, most notably, Athens. Rudens is introduced by a prologue given by Arcturus, before the play properly opens with a dialogue between Daemones, an elderly Athenian man, and his slave, Sceparnio; Sceparnio's cheekiness towards his master, who seems to lack the strength to contest this behaviour, is the provision of humour from the outset. Shortly after this, a young Athenian man called Plesidippus appears onstage, to seek information politely from Daemones. The interaction between slave and master (or rather, stranger) is shown again, as Sceparnio gives Plesidippus an extremely cold reception,
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    3 votes
    69
    The Devil's Disciple

    The Devil's Disciple

    • Playwright: George Bernard Shaw
    The Devil's Disciple is an 1897 play written by Irish dramatist, George Bernard Shaw. The play is Shaw's eighth, and after Richard Mansfield's original 1897 American production it was his first financial success, which helped to affirm his career as a playwright. It was published in Shaw's 1901 collection Three Plays for Puritans together with Captain Brassbound's Conversion and Caesar and Cleopatra. Set in Colonial America during the Revolutionary era, the play tells the story of Richard Dudgeon, a local outcast and self-proclaimed "Devil's disciple". In a twist characteristic of Shaw's love of paradox, Dudgeon sacrifices himself in a Christ-like gesture despite his professed Infernal allegiance. The setting is in the Fall of 1777, during the Saratoga Campaign. Richard "Dick" Dudgeon is an outcast from his family in colonial Websterbridge, New Hampshire. He returns their hatred with scorn. After the death of his father, Dick returns to his childhood home to hear the reading of his father's will, much to his family's dismay. Anthony Anderson, the local minister, treats him with courtesy despite Dick's self-proclaimed apostasy, but Dick's "wickedness" appalls Anderson's wife Judith.
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    3 votes
    70
    Toad of Toad Hall

    Toad of Toad Hall

    • Characters: Mr. Toad
    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    • Playwright: A. A. Milne
    Toad of Toad Hall is the first of several dramatisations of Kenneth Grahame's 1908 novel The Wind in the Willows. It was written by A. A. Milne, with incidental music by Harold Fraser-Simson. Milne extracted the adventures of Mr. Toad (which form only about half of the original book) because they lent themselves most easily to being staged. Milne loved Grahame's book, which is one of the reasons he decided to adapt it. The play has four main characters: Rat, Badger, Mole, and Toad. Toad's caravan and car adventures are included, as well as his imprisonment, escape, and subsequent fight with the weasels and stoats to regain his home with the help of his friends. Although not a musical, the play contains six songs. Its first production was at the Lyric Theatre in London on 17 December 1929. During the play's history many great actors have played the part of Toad in a number of plays, films, and TV dramatizations. These include:
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    3 votes
    71
    Volpone

    Volpone

    • Characters: Castrone
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: Ben Jonson
    Volpone (Italian for "sly fox") is a comedy by Ben Jonson first produced in 1606, drawing on elements of city comedy, black comedy and beast fable. A merciless satire of greed and lust, it remains Jonson's most-performed play, and it is among the finest Jacobean comedies. Volpone, a Venetian gentleman, pretends to be on his deathbed after a long illness in order to dupe Voltore, Corbaccio and Corvino, who aspire to his fortune. They each arrive in turn, bearing luxurious gifts with the aim of being inscribed as Volpone's heir. Mosca, Volpone's "parasite", encourages them, making each of them believe that he has been named as the heir in the will, and getting Corbaccio to disinherit his son in favour of Volpone. Mosca mentions to Volpone that Corvino has a beautiful wife, Celia, and Volpone goes to see her in the disguise of Scoto the Mountebank. Corvino drives him away, but Volpone is now insistent that he must have Celia for his own. Mosca tells Corvino that Volpone requires to sleep with a young woman to help revive him. Corvino offers Celia in order to please Volpone. Just before Corvino and Celia are due to arrive for this to take place, Corbaccio's son Bonario arrives to catch
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    3 votes
    72
    Alcestis

    Alcestis

    • Characters: Alcestis
    • Playwright: Euripides
    Alcestis (Ancient Greek: Ἄλκηστις, Alkēstis) is an Athenian tragedy by the ancient Greek playwright Euripides. It was first produced at the City Dionysia festival in 438 BCE. Euripides presented it as the final part of a tetralogy of unconnected plays in the competition of tragedies, for which he won second prize; this arrangement was exceptional, as the fourth part was normally a satyr play. Its ambiguous, tragicomic tone—which may be "cheerfully romantic" or "bitterly ironic"—has earned it the label of a "problem play." Alcestis is, possibly excepting the Rhesus, the oldest surviving work by Euripides, although at the time of its first performance he had been producing plays for 17 years. Long before the start of the play, King Admetus was granted by the Fates the privilege of living past the allotted time of his death. The Fates were persuaded to allow this by the god Apollo (who got them drunk). This unusual bargain was struck after Apollo was exiled from Olympus for nine years and spent the time in the service of the Thessalian king, a man renowned for his hospitality who treated Apollo well. Apollo wishes to repay Admetus' hospitality and offers him freedom from death. The
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    1 votes
    73
    Arden of Faversham

    Arden of Faversham

    • Country of origin: England
    Arden of Faversham (original spelling: Arden of Feversham) is an Elizabethan play, entered into the Register of the Stationers Company on 3 April 1592, and printed later that same year by Edward White. It depicts the murder of one Thomas Arden by his wife Alice Arden and her lover, and their subsequent discovery and punishment. The play is notable as perhaps the earliest surviving example of domestic tragedy, a form of Renaissance play which dramatized recent and local crimes rather than far-off and historical events. The author is unknown, and the play has been attributed to Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe, and William Shakespeare, solely or collaboratively, forming part of the Shakespeare Apocrypha. The use of computerized stylometrics has kindled academic interest in determining the authorship. Thomas Arden, or Arderne, was a successful businessman in the early Tudor period. Born in 1508, probably in Norwich, Arden took advantage of the tumult of the Reformation to make his fortune, trading in the former monastic properties dissolved by Henry VIII in 1538. In fact, the house in which he was murdered (which is still standing in Faversham) was a former guest house of Faversham
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    1 votes
    74
    Happy Days

    Happy Days

    • Playwright: Samuel Beckett
    Happy Days is a play in two acts, written in English, by Samuel Beckett. He began the play on 8 October 1960 and it was completed on 14 May 1961. Beckett finished the translation into French by November 1962 but amended the title. “In a moment of inspiration, he borrowed the title Oh les beaux jours, from Verlaine’s poem, ‘Colloque sentimental’”. Cyril Cusack claimed that Happy Days was, by Beckett’s own admission, ‘influenced’ by his wife, Maureen Cusack’s request that he ‘write a happy play’ after Krapp. The first production was at the Cherry Lane Theatre, New York on 17 September 1961, directed by Alan Schneider with Ruth White as Winnie (for which she won an Obie) and John C. Becher as Willie. The first London production was at the Royal Court Theatre on 1 November 1962 directed by George Devine and Tony Richardson with Brenda Bruce as Winnie and Peter Duguid as Willie. When Happy Days was first performed in London there were disagreements about every aspect of the text and production. Even Kenneth Tynan, one of the saviours of Godot, felt that Happy Days was "a metaphor extended beyond its capacity",; nevertheless, he admitted Beckett's strange, insinuating power and urged his
    10.00
    1 votes
    75
    In Dahomey

    In Dahomey

    In Dahomey was a landmark American musical comedy, in that it was "the first full-length musical written and played by blacks to be performed at a major Broadway house." It featured music by Will Marion Cook, book by Jesse A. Shipp, and lyrics by Paul Laurence Dunbar. The production, produced by McVon Hurtig and Harry Seamon, was also the first to star African Americans James Smith and George Sisay, as well as one of the leading comedians in America at that time, Bert Williams.In Dahomey opened on February 18, 1903 at the New York Theater, and ran for 53 performances (then considered a successful run). The story tells of a group of African Americans who, having found a pot of gold, move to Africa and become rulers of Dahomey (present-day Benin). During its four-year tour, In Dahomey proved one of the most successful musical comedies of its era. The show helped make its composer, lyricist and leading performers household names. Significantly, the New York Theater production of In Dahomey marked the first full-length African American musical to be staged in an indoors venue on Broadway (following the earlier success of Clorindy in a rooftop setting). Furthermore, In Dahomey was the
    10.00
    1 votes
    76
    The Quaker Girl

    The Quaker Girl

    The Quaker Girl is a Edwardian musical comedy in three acts with a book by James T. Tanner, lyrics by Adrian Ross and Percy Greenbank, and music by Lionel Monckton. In its story, The Quaker Girl contrasts dour Quaker morality with Parisienne high fashion. The protagonist, Prudence, is thrown out of her house by her quaker parents for drinking a glass of champagne. Later, in Paris, her grey dress and bonnet become the height of fashion. The musical opened at the Adelphi Theatre in London on 5 November 1910 and ran for an extremely successful 536 performances. It starred Gertie Millar and C. Hayden Coffin. Phyllis Dare starred in the Paris production in 1911. It then opened at the Park Theatre on Broadway on 23 October 1911, running for a successful 240 performances. A revised version was produced at the London Coliseum on 25 May 1944, but the run was interrupted by bombing. The piece then toured the British provinces and soon re-opened in London at the Stoll Theatre in February, 1945, followed by extensive touring until December, 1948. The piece was popular with amateur theatre groups, particularly in Britain, from the 1920s until 1990, receiving over 250 UK productions during that
    10.00
    1 votes
    77
    Brooklyn Boy

    Brooklyn Boy

    Brooklyn Boy is a play by American playwright Donald Margulies. Novelist Eric Weiss, critically celebrated but unsuccessful, "arrives" when his new, autobiographical novel becomes a best-seller. An outsider all his life, he is suddenly on the inside of everything: town cars, television studios, the Sunday book review. But as his career takes off, his personal life stutters. His father lies ill in Maimonides Hospital, Jewish Brooklyn's version of the river Styx, wondering when Eric will produce his first grandchild. His former friends and neighbors in Brooklyn celebrate his success while simultaneously being suspicious about his attitude toward them–in life and in his novel. And his success, rather than oiling the waters of his marriage, troubles them for him and his writer-wife. Brooklyn Boy is Margulies' first work for the stage since winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama with his Dinner with Friends. Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan, who directed South Coast Repertory's production of Dinner with Friends returned to SCR to direct the world premiere Brooklyn Boy starring Adam Arkin as Eric Weiss; Allan Miller as his father Manny; Dana Reeve as his wife Nina; as well as
    6.50
    4 votes
    78
    Edward II

    Edward II

    • Characters: Edward II of England
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: Christopher Marlowe
    Edward II is a Renaissance or Early Modern period play written by Christopher Marlowe. It is one of the earliest English history plays. The full title of the first publication is The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward the Second, King of England, with the Tragical Fall of Proud Mortimer. Marlowe found most of his material for this play in the third volume of Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles (1587). Frederick Boas believes that "out of all the rich material provided by Holinshed" Marlowe was drawn to "the comparatively unattractive reign of Edward II" due to the relationship between the King and Gaveston. Boas elaborates, "Homosexual affection ... has (as has been seen) a special attraction for Marlowe. Jove and Ganymede in Dido, Henry III and his 'minions' in The Massacre, Neptune and Leander in Hero and Leander, and all akin, although drawn to a slighter scale, to Edward and Gaveston." Boas also notes the existence of a number of parallels between Edward II and The Massacre at Paris, asserting that "it is scarcely too much to say that scenes xi-xxi of The Massacre are something in the nature of a preliminary sketch for Edward II." Marlowe stayed close to the account
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    4 votes
    79
    Helen

    Helen

    • Playwright: Euripides
    Helen (Ancient Greek: Ἑλένη, Helenē) is a drama by Euripides, first produced in 412 BC for the Dionysia in a trilogy that also contained Euripides lost Andromeda. The play shares much in common with another of Euripides' works, Iphigenia in Tauris. The drama was written just after the Sicilian Expedition in which Athens had suffered a huge defeat. At the same time sophism was beginning to question traditional values and religious beliefs. Within this framework Euripides,with his play,deems war as the root of all bad. About thirty years before this play, Herodotus argued in his Histories that Helen had never in fact arrived at Troy, but was in Egypt during the entire Trojan War. The play Helen tells a variant of this story, beginning under the premise that rather than running off to Troy with Paris, Helen was actually whisked away to Egypt by the gods. The Helen who escaped with Paris, betraying her husband and her country and initiating the ten-year conflict, was actually an eidolon, a phantom look-alike. After Paris was promised the most beautiful woman in the world by Aphrodite and he judged her fairer than her fellow goddesses Athena and Hera, Hera ordered Hermes to replace
    6.50
    4 votes
    80
    Cathleen Ní Houlihan

    Cathleen Ní Houlihan

    • Playwright: William Butler Yeats
    Cathleen ni Houlihan is a one-act play written by Irish playwright William Butler Yeats in collaboration with Lady Gregory in 1902 and first performed on 2 April of that year. The play is startlingly nationalistic, encouraging in its last pages that young men sacrifice their lives for the heroine Cathleen ni Houlihan, who represents an independent and separate Irish state. The title character first appears as an old woman, at the door of a family celebrating their son's wedding. She describes her four "beautiful green fields," representing the four provinces, that have been unjustly taken from her. With little subtlety, she requests a blood sacrifice, declaring that "many a child will be born and there will be no father at the christening". When the youth agrees and leaves the safety of his home to fight for her, she appears as an image of youth with "the walk of a queen," professing that of those who fight for her: "They shall be remembered forever, They shall be alive forever, They shall be speaking forever, The people shall hear them forever."
    8.50
    2 votes
    81
    Measure for Measure

    Measure for Measure

    • Characters: Isabella
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    Measure for Measure is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1603 or 1604. It was (and continues to be) classified as comedy, but its mood defies those expectations. As a result and for a variety of reasons, some critics have labelled it as one of Shakespeare's problem plays. Originally published in the First Folio of 1623 (where it was first labelled as a comedy), the play's first recorded performance was in 1604. The play deals with the issues of mercy, justice, and truth and their relationship to pride and humility: "Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall". Vincentio, the Duke of Vienna, makes it known that he intends to leave the city on a diplomatic mission. He leaves the government in the hands of a strict judge, Angelo. Claudio, a young nobleman, is betrothed/unofficially married to Juliet. At the time, marriages were supposed to be announced by banns in advance. Due to lack of money, Claudio and Juliet did not observe all the technicalities. This did not make them unique however; at the time most people (including the Church) would have considered them married. Technically, however, all the formalities for a civil marriage had not been followed
    8.50
    2 votes
    82
    The French Maid

    The French Maid

    The French Maid is a musical comedy in two acts by Basil Hood, with music by Walter Slaughter, first produced at the Theatre Royal, Bath, England, under the management of Milton Bode on 4 April 1896. It then opened London's Terry's Theatre under the management of W. H. Griffiths beginning on 24 April 1897, but later transferred to the Vaudeville Theatre on 12 February 1898, running for a very successful total of 480 London performances. The piece starred Louie Pounds, Kate Cutler, Eric Lewis, Herbert Standing and Richard Green. There was a New York production in 1897. The Times gave the piece a very favourable review at its London opening, saying that "a fresher, brighter piece has not been seen for many a day." Suzette, a French maiden, has attracted several men, including a jealous gendarme, Paul Lecuire, and a waiter at the hotel where she works, Charles Brown. She must choose an escort to the upcoming bal-masqué. But things are complicated when several visitors to the hotel all call for the pretty maid, including an Indian Prince, his attaché, and Jack Brown, an English soldier who is the waiter's twin brother. In traditional French style, Suzette strings them all along,
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    2 votes
    83
    The Knights

    The Knights

    • Playwright: Aristophanes
    The Knights (Ancient Greek: Ἱππεῖς Hippeîs; Attic Ἱππῆς) was the fourth play written by Aristophanes, the master of an ancient form of drama known as Old Comedy. The play is a satire on the social and political life of classical Athens during the Peloponnesian War and in this respect it is typical of all the dramatist's early plays. It is unique however in the relatively small number of its characters and this was due to its scurrilous preoccupation with one man, the pro-war populist Cleon. Cleon had prosecuted Aristophanes for slandering the polis with an earlier play, The Babylonians (426 BC), for which the young dramatist had promised revenge in The Acharnians (425 BC), and it was in The Knights (424 BC) that his revenge was exacted. The play relies heavily on allegory and it has been condemned by one modern scholar as 'an embarrassing failure'. However, The Knights won first prize at the Lenaia festival when it was produced in 424 BC. The Knights is a satire on political and social life in 5th-century Athens, the characters are drawn from real life and Cleon is clearly intended to be the villain. However it is also an allegory, the characters are figures of fantasy and the
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    2 votes
    84
    The Bacchae

    The Bacchae

    • Characters: Tiresias
    • Playwright: Euripides
    The Bacchae (Ancient Greek: Βάκχαι, Bakchai; also known as The Bacchantes) is an ancient Greek tragedy by the Athenian playwright Euripides, during his final years in Macedonia, at the court of Archelaus I of Macedonia. It premiered posthumously at the Theatre of Dionysus in 405 BC as part of a tetralogy that also included Iphigeneia at Aulis and Alcmaeon in Corinth, and which Euripides' son or nephew probably directed. It won first prize in the City Dionysia festival competition. The tragedy is based on the mythological story of King Pentheus of Thebes and his mother Agauë, and their punishment by the god Dionysus (who is Pentheus' cousin) for refusing to worship him. The Dionysus in Euripides' tale is a young god, angry that his mortal family, the royal house of Cadmus, has denied him a place of honor as a deity. His mortal mother, Semele, was a mistress of Zeus, and while pregnant, she was killed because her sisters accused her of lying about her son's paternity and their father Cadmus using Zeus as a cover up. Most of Semele's family, including her sisters Ino, Autonoe, and Agauë, refused to believe that Dionysus was the son of Zeus, and the young god is spurned in his home. He
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    3 votes
    85
    The Trojan Women

    The Trojan Women

    • Characters: Cassandra
    • Playwright: Euripides
    The Trojan Women (Ancient Greek: Τρῳάδες, Trōiades), also known as Troades, is a tragedy by the Greek playwright Euripides. Produced during the Peloponnesian War, it is often considered a commentary on the capture of the Aegean island of Melos and the subsequent slaughter and subjugation of its populace by the Athenians earlier in 415 BC (see History of Milos), the same year the play was produced. 415 BC was also the year of the scandalous desecration of the hermai and the Athenians' second expedition to Sicily, events which may also have influenced the author. The Trojan Women was the third tragedy of a trilogy of dealing with the Trojan War. The first tragedy, Alexandros, was about the recognition of the Trojan prince Paris who had been abandoned in infancy by his parents and rediscovered in adulthood. The second tragedy, Palamedes, dealt with Greek mistreatment of their fellow Greek Palamedes. This trilogy was presented at the Dionysia along with the comedic satyr play Sisyphos. The plots of this trilogy were not connected in the way that Aeschylus' Oresteia was connected. Euripides did not favor such connected trilogies. Euripides won second prize at the City Dionysia for his
    7.33
    3 votes
    86
    A Single Woman

    A Single Woman

    • Country of origin: United States of America
    First drafted as a one-woman show by Nevada Shakespeare Company founding Artistic Director, Jeanmarie Simpson, A Single Woman, based on the life of first female Congressmember Jeannette Rankin, developed into a "duet performance work" by the time it premiered at the Oats Park Art Center in Fallon, Nevada on February 7, 2004. The play subsequently toured internationally with hundreds of grassroots performances before running at The Culture Project Off-Broadway in the summer of 2005. The play closed at the Invisible Theatre in Tucson, Arizona on November 5, 2006. In addition to being a theatre artist, Simpson, the author and performer of the title role, is a peace activist. Many performances of the play have been fundraisers for individual branches and the national office of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, in addition to hundreds of other peace and justice organizations including United Methodist Church's Social Justice and Global Ministries, Jews for Peace, Planned Parenthood, American Civil Liberties Union, Veterans for Peace, American Friends Service Committee and many others. A Single Woman was also produced by the Tennessee Women's Theater Project as
    6.25
    4 votes
    87
    Faust

    Faust

    • Characters: Heinrich Faust
    • Country of origin: Germany
    • Playwright: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust is a tragic play in two parts: Faust. Der Tragödie erster Teil (translated as: Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy) and Faust. Der Tragödie zweiter Teil (Faust: The Second Part of the Tragedy). Although rarely staged in its entirety, it is the play with the largest audience numbers on German-language stages. Faust is Goethe's most famous work and considered by many to be one of the greatest works of German literature. Goethe completed a preliminary version of Part One in 1806. The 1808 publication was followed by the revised 1828–29 edition, which was the last to be edited by Goethe himself. Prior to these appeared a partial printing in 1790 of Faust, a Fragment. The earliest forms of the work, known as the Urfaust, were developed between 1772 and 1775; however, the details of that development are no longer entirely clear. Urfaust has twenty-two scenes, one in prose, two largely prose and the remaining 1,441 lines in rhymed verse. The manuscript is lost, but a copy was discovered in 1886. Goethe finished writing Faust Part Two in 1831. In contrast to Faust Part One, the focus here is no longer on the soul of Faust, which has been sold to the
    6.25
    4 votes
    88
    Drums in the Night

    Drums in the Night

    • Country of origin: Germany
    • Playwright: Bertolt Brecht
    Drums in the Night (Trommeln in der Nacht) is a play by the German modernist playwright Bertolt Brecht. Brecht wrote it between 1918 and 1920, and it received its first theatrical production in 1922. It is in the expressionist style of Ernst Toller and Georg Kaiser. The play—along with Baal and In the Jungle—won the prestigious German drama award the Kleist Prize for 1922 (although it was widely assumed, perhaps because Drums was the only play of the three to have been produced at that point, that the prize had been awarded to Drums alone); the play was performed all over Germany as a result. Brecht later claimed that he had only written it as a source of income. Drums in the Night is one of Brecht's earliest plays, written before he became a convinced Marxist, but already the importance of class struggle in Brecht's thinking is apparent. According to Lion Feuchtwanger, the play was originally entitled Spartakus. Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg of the Spartacist League—who were instrumental in the 'Spartacist uprising' in Berlin in January 1919—had only recently been abducted, tortured and killed by Freikorps soldiers (Rosa was battered to death with rifle butts and thrown into
    7.00
    3 votes
    89
    Electra

    Electra

    • Characters: Electra
    • Playwright: Euripides
    Euripides' Electra (Ancient Greek: Ἠλέκτρα, Ēlektra) was a play probably written in the mid 410s BC, likely after 413 BC. It is unclear whether it was first produced before or after Sophocles' version of the Electra story. Years before, near the start of the Trojan War, the Greek general Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigeneia in order to appease the goddess Artemis and allow the Greek army to set sail for Troy. His wife Clytemnestra never forgave him, and when he returned from the war ten years later, she and her lover Aegisthus murdered Agamemnon. The play begins by introducing Clytemnestra and Agamemnon's daughter, Electra. Electra was married off to a farmer, amidst fears that if she remained in the royal household and wed a nobleman, their children would be more likely to try to avenge Agamemnon's death. The man Electra is married to, however, is kind to her and has taken advantage of neither her family name nor her virginity. In return, Electra helps the peasant with household chores. Despite her appreciation for her peasant husband, Electra resents being cast out of her house and her mother's loyalty to Aegisthus. Agamemnon and Clytemnestra's son, Orestes, was taken out
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    3 votes
    90
    Heracleidae

    Heracleidae

    • Playwright: Euripides
    Herakles' Children (Ancient Greek: Ἡρακλεῖδαι, Hērakleidai; also translated as Children of Herakles and Heracleidae) is an Athenian tragedy by Euripides that was first performed c. 430 BC. It follows the children of Herakles (known as the Heracleidae) as they seek protection from Eurystheus. It is the first of two surviving tragedies by Euripides where the children of Herakles are suppliants (the second being Herakles). Eurystheus was responsible for many of the troubles of Herakles. In order to prevent the children of Herakles from taking revenge on him, he sought to kill them. They flee under the protection of Iolaus, Herakles' close friend and nephew. The play begins at the altar of Zeus at Marathon. The herald Copreus, in the employ of King Eurystheus of Mycenae, attempts to seize the children of Herakles, together with Herakles's old friend, Iolaus. When King Demophon, son of Theseus, insists that Iolaus and Herakles's children are under his protection, Copreus threatens to return with an army. Demophon is prepared to protect the children even at the cost of fighting a war against Eurystheus, but after consulting the oracles, he learns that the Athenians will be victorious
    7.00
    3 votes
    91
    Peace

    Peace

    • Playwright: Aristophanes
    Peace (Greek: Εἰρήνη / Eirēnē) is an Athenian Old Comedy written and produced by the Greek playwright Aristophanes. It won second prize at the City Dionysia where it was staged just a few days before the ratification of the Peace of Nicias (421 BC), which promised to end the ten year old Peloponnesian War. The play is notable for its joyous anticipation of peace and for its celebration of a return to an idyllic life in the countryside. However, it also sounds a note of caution, there is bitterness in the memory of lost opportunities and the ending is not happy for everyone. As in all Aristophanes' plays, the jokes are numerous, the action is wildly absurd and the satire is savage—Cleon, the pro-war populist leader of Athens, is once again a target for the author's wit even though he had died in battle just a few months earlier. Short summary: Trygaeus, a middle-aged Athenian, miraculously brings about a peaceful end to the Peloponnesian War, thereby earning the gratitude of farmers while bankrupting various tradesmen who had profited from the hostilities. He celebrates his triumph by marrying Harvest, a companion of Festival and Peace, all of whom he has liberated from a celestial
    7.00
    3 votes
    92
    The Girl Behind the Counter

    The Girl Behind the Counter

    The Girl Behind the Counter is an Edwardian musical comedy with a book by Arthur Anderson and Leedham Bantok, music by Howard Talbot and lyrics by Arthur Anderson (and additional lyrics by Percy Greenbank), produced by Frank Curzon. It opened at Wyndham's Theatre on 21 April 1906. The farcical musical starred Isabel Jay, C. Hayden Coffin and Lawrence Grossmith. It ran for 141 performances in the original London production, and an adaptation ran for twice that long in 1907–08 on Broadway. The Broadway production was "freely adapted and reconstructed by Edgar Smith" and starred Lew Fields and Connie Ediss. It toured successfully thereafter in the British provinces, the U.S., Australia and elsewhere and enjoyed several revivals. Henry Schniff, in debt to his landlady for four years' rent, marries her. While on their honeymoon, he learns that he has inherited one million pounds sterling. Now his wife, the former Mrs. Willoughby, insists on mixing in with "society". Her daughter, Winnie Willoughby, does not agree with her mother's choice of a husband for her, the broke and stupid Viscount Augustus Gushington. Instead, Winnie wants to run a flower stall at an American department store in
    6.00
    4 votes
    93
    A Gaiety Girl

    A Gaiety Girl

    • Playwright: Owen Hall
    A Gaiety Girl is an English musical comedy in two acts by a team of musical comedy neophytes: Owen Hall (book, on an outline by James T. Tanner), Harry Greenbank (lyrics) and Sidney Jones (music). It opened at Prince of Wales Theatre in London, produced by George Edwardes, on 14 October 1893 (later transferring to Daly's Theatre) and ran for 413 performances. The show starred C. Hayden Coffin, Louie Pounds, Decima Moore, Eric Lewis, W. Louis Bradfield, and later Rutland Barrington, Scott Russell, Huntley Wright, Marie Studholme and George Grossmith, Jr. Topsy Sinden and later Letty Lind danced in the piece. Choreography was by Willie Warde. Percy Anderson designed the Japanese costumes for the musical, while the non-Japanese costumes were supplied by leading fashion houses. Blanche Massey was one of the Gaiety Girls in the piece. It also had a successful three-month Broadway run in 1894, followed by an American tour and a world tour. A Gaiety Girl followed Tanner's and Edwardes's success with In Town (1892), and would lead to a series of musicals produced by Edwardes that would pack the Gaiety Theatre for decades. Although the earliest of these shows have the same sound one expects
    8.00
    2 votes
    94
    Antony and Cleopatra

    Antony and Cleopatra

    • Characters: Cleopatra
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. The play was first printed in the First Folio of 1623. The plot is based on Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Lives and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony from the time of the Parthian War to Cleopatra's suicide during the Final War of the Roman Republic. The major antagonist is Octavius Caesar, one of Antony's fellow triumviri and the future first emperor of Rome. The tragedy is a Roman play characterised by swift, panoramic shifts in geographical locations and in registers, alternating between sensual, imaginative Alexandria and the more pragmatic, austere Rome. Many consider the role of Cleopatra in this play one of the most complex female roles in Shakespeare's work. She is frequently vain and histrionic, provoking an audience almost to scorn; at the same time, Shakespeare's efforts invest both her and Antony with tragic grandeur. These contradictory features have led to famously divided critical responses. Mark Antony – one of the Triumvirs of Rome along with Octavian and Lepidus – has neglected his soldierly duties after being beguiled by Egypt's Queen, Cleopatra. He ignores Rome's
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    2 votes
    95
    Chu Chin Chow

    Chu Chin Chow

    • Playwright: Oscar Asche
    Chu Chin Chow is a musical comedy written, produced and directed by Oscar Asche, with music by Frederic Norton, based (with minor embellishments) on the story of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves. The piece premièred at His Majesty's Theatre in London on 3 August 1916 and ran for five years and a total of 2,238 performances (more than twice as many as any previous musical), an astonishing record that stood for nearly forty years until Salad Days. The show's first American production in New York, with additional lyrics by Arthur Anderson, played for 208 performances in 1917–1918. It subsequently had successful seasons elsewhere in America and Australia, including in 1920, 1921 and 1922. A silent film of the musical was produced in 1925 using some of the music. Another film, with the score intact, was made by the Gainsborough Studios in 1934, with George Robey playing the part of Ali Baba, Fritz Kortner as Abu Hassan, Anna May Wong as Zahrat Al-Kulub and Laurence Hanray as Kasim. The show toured the British provinces for many years. It returned to London in 1940 for 80 performances, when it was interrupted by the London bombing but then returned in 1941 for another 158 nights. In 1953, an
    8.00
    2 votes
    96
    Cyclops

    Cyclops

    • Characters: Silenus
    • Playwright: Euripides
    The Cyclops (Ancient Greek: Κύκλωψ, Kyklōps) is an Ancient Greek satyr play by Euripides, the only complete satyr play that has survived antiquity. It is a comical burlesque-like play on the same story depicted in book nine of Homer's Odyssey. Odysseus has lost his way on the voyage home from the Trojan War. He and his hungry crew make a stop in Sicily at Mount Aetna, which is inhabited by Cyclopes. They come upon the Satyrs and their father Silenus, who have been separated from their god Dionysus and enslaved by a Cyclops (named Polyphemus in the Odyssey). These characters are not contained in the Odyssey's version of the event. Their addition provides much of the humor due to their cowardly and drunken behavior. When Odysseus arrives he meets Silenus and offers to trade wine for food. Being a servant of Dionysus, Silenus cannot resist obtaining the wine despite the fact that the food is not his to trade. The Cyclops soon arrives and Silenus is quick to accuse Odysseus of stealing the food, swearing to many gods and the Satyrs' lives (who are standing right beside him) that he is telling the truth. His son, a younger and more modern Satyr, tries to tell the truth to the Cyclops in
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    2 votes
    97
    Edward III

    Edward III

    • Country of origin: England
    The Raigne of King Edvvard the Third, commonly shortened to Edward III, is an Elizabethan play printed anonymously in 1596. It has frequently been claimed that it was at least partly written by William Shakespeare, a view that Shakespeare scholars have increasingly endorsed. The rest of the play was probably written by Thomas Kyd. The play contains many gibes at Scotland and the Scottish people, which has led some critics to think that it is the work that incited George Nicolson, Queen Elizabeth's agent in Edinburgh, to protest against the portrayal of Scots on the London stage in a 1598 letter to William Cecil, Lord Burghley. This would explain why the play was not included in the First Folio of Shakespeare's works, which was published after the Scottish King James had succeeded to the English throne in 1603. The plot of the play consists of two distinct parts. The first is centred on the Countess of Salisbury (the wife of the Earl of Salisbury), who, beset by rampaging Scots, is rescued by King Edward III, who then proceeds to woo her himself. In an attempted bluff, the Countess vows to take the life of her husband if Edward will take the life of his wife. However, when she sees
    8.00
    2 votes
    98
    Electra

    Electra

    • Characters: Electra
    • Country of origin: Greece
    • Playwright: Sophocles
    Electra or Elektra (Ancient Greek: Ἠλέκτρα, Ēlektra) is a Greek tragedy by Sophocles. Its date is not known, but various stylistic similarities with the Philoctetes (409 BC) and the Oedipus at Colonus (401 BC) lead scholars to suppose that it was written towards the end of Sophocles' career. Set in the city of Argos a few years after the Trojan war, it is based around the character of Electra, and the vengeance that she and her brother Orestes take on their mother Clytemnestra and step father Aegisthus for the murder of their father, Agamemnon. When King Agamemnon returns from the Trojan War with his new concubine, Cassandra, his wife Clytemnestra (who has taken Agamemnon's cousin Aegisthus as a lover) kills them. Clytemnestra believes the murder was justified, since Agamemnon had sacrificed their daughter Iphigenia before the war, as commanded by the gods. Electra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, rescued her young, twin brother Orestes from her mother by sending him to Strophius of Phocis. The play begins years later when Orestes has returned as a grown man with a plot for revenge, as well as to claim the throne. Orestes arrives with his friend Pylades, son of Strophius,
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    2 votes
    99
    Henry VI, part 1

    Henry VI, part 1

    • Characters: Duke of Bedford
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    Henry VI, Part 1 or The First Part of Henry the Sixt (often written as 1 Henry VI) is a history play by William Shakespeare, and possibly Thomas Nashe, believed to have been written in 1591, and set during the lifetime of King Henry VI of England. Whereas 2 Henry VI deals with the King's inability to quell the bickering of his nobles, and the inevitability of armed conflict, and 3 Henry VI deals with the horrors of that conflict, 1 Henry VI deals with the loss of England's French territories and the political machinations leading up to the Wars of the Roses, as the English political system is torn apart by personal squabbles and petty jealousy. Although the Henry VI trilogy may not have been written in chronological order, the three plays are often grouped together with Richard III to form a tetralogy covering the entire Wars of the Roses saga, from the death of Henry V in 1422 to the rise to power of Henry VII in 1485. It was the success of this sequence of plays which firmly established Shakespeare's reputation as a playwright. Henry VI, Part 1 is regarded by some as the weakest play in Shakespeare's oeuvre and, along with Titus Andronicus, is one of the strongest candidates for
    8.00
    2 votes
    100
    Ion

    Ion

    • Playwright: Euripides
    Ion (Ancient Greek: Ἴων, Iōn) is an ancient Greek play by Euripides, thought to be written between 414 and 412 BC. It follows the orphan Ion in the discovery of his origins. Creusa, daughter of Erechtheus, was a noble native of Athens. The god Apollo seduced her in a cave; there she gave birth to his son and intended to kill him by exposure. She keeps all this a secret. Many years later she was near the end of child bearing age, and had so far been unable to have a child with her husband Xuthus, a Thessalian and son of Aeolus. So they traveled to Delphi to seek a sign from the oracles. Outside the temple of Apollo at Delphi, Hermes recalls the time when Creusa, the daughter of Erectheus, was raped by Apollo in a cave at Long Rocks under the Acropolis. Creusa secretly gave birth to a child, whom she left in a basket, along with some trinkets, expecting that he would be devoured by beasts. Apollo sent Hermes to bring the boy to Delphi where he has grown up as an attendant at the temple. Creusa, meanwhile, was married to the foreign-born Xuthus, son of Aeolus, the son of Zeus. Xuthus won Creusa by assisting the Athenians in a war against the Chalcidians. Xuthus and Creusa have come to
    8.00
    2 votes
    101
    The Masque of Blackness

    The Masque of Blackness

    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: Ben Jonson
    The Masque of Blackness was an early Jacobean era masque, first performed at the Stuart Court in the Banqueting Hall of Whitehall Palace on Twelfth Night, 6 January 1605. The masque was written by Ben Jonson at the request of Anne of Denmark, the queen consort of King James I, who wished the masquers to be disguised as Africans. Anne was one of the performers in the masque along with her court ladies, and appeared in blackface makeup. The plot of the masque follows the ladies arriving at the English Court to be "cleansed" of their blackness by King James; a stage direction that was impossible to fulfill on stage. As a result, The Masque of Beauty was written as a sequel to The Masque of Blackness. (The Masque of Beauty, originally intended for the following holiday season, was displaced by Hymenaei, the masque for the wedding of the Earl of Essex and Frances Howard. Beauty was finally performed in 1608.) The sets, costumes, and stage effects were designed by Inigo Jones; Blackness was the first of many masques for the Stuart Court on which Jonson and Jones would collaborate. The music for Blackness was composed by Alfonso Ferrabosco. Jones designed a raised and mobile stage for the
    8.00
    2 votes
    102
    The Suppliants

    The Suppliants

    • Playwright: Euripides
    The Suppliants (also known as The Suppliant Women, Ancient Greek: Ἱκέτιδες, Hiketides), first performed in 423 BC, is an ancient Greek play by Euripides. After Oedipus leaves Thebes, his sons fight for control of it. Polyneices lays siege to Thebes against his brother Eteocles. Polyneices has married the daughter of Adrastus, King of Argos. And so Polyneices has on his side the Argive army, leaders of which help form the Seven Against Thebes. The invaders lose the battle, and Polyneices and Eteocles both die. Creon takes power in Thebes and decrees the invaders are not to be buried. The mothers of the dead seek someone to help reverse this, so their sons can be buried. Aethra, the mother of the Athenian king Theseus, prays before the altar of Demeter and Persephone in Eleusis. She is surrounded by women from Argos whose sons died in battle outside the gates of Thebes. Because of Creon’s decree, their corpses remain unburied. Adrastus, the king of Argos who authorized the expedition, lies weeping on the floor surrounded by the sons of the slain warriors. Aethra has sent a messenger to Theseus asking him to come to Eleusis. The old women beg Aethra for help, evoking images of their
    8.00
    2 votes
    103
    The Suppliants

    The Suppliants

    • Playwright: Aeschylus
    The Suppliants (Ancient Greek: Ἱκέτιδες, Hiketides, also called The Suppliant Maidens; Latin Supplices) is a play by Aeschylus. It was probably first performed sometime after 470 BC as the first play in a tetralogy, sometimes referred to as the Danaid Tetralogy, which probably included the lost plays The Egyptians (also called Aigyptioi), and The Daughters of Danaus (also called The Danaids or The Danaides), and the satyr play Amymone. It was long thought to be the earliest surviving play by Aeschylus due to the relatively anachronistic function of the chorus as the protagonist of the drama. However, evidence discovered in the mid-20th century shows it one of Aeschylus' last plays, definitely after The Persians and possibly after Seven Against Thebes. The Danaids form the chorus and serve as the protagonists. They flee a forced marriage to their Egyptian cousins. When the Danaides reach Argos, they entreat King Pelasgus to protect them. He refuses pending the decision of the Argive people, who decide in the favor of the Danaids. Danaus rejoices the outcome, and the Danaids praise the Greek gods. Almost immediately, a herald of the Egyptians comes to attempt to force the Danaids to
    8.00
    2 votes
    104
    The Two Gentlemen of Verona

    The Two Gentlemen of Verona

    • Characters: Antonio
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1590 or 1591. It is considered by some to be Shakespeare's first play, and is often seen as showing his first tentative steps in laying out some of the themes and tropes with which he would later deal in more detail; for example, it is the first of his plays in which a heroine dresses as a boy. The play deals with the themes of friendship and infidelity, the conflict between friendship and love, and the foolish behaviour of people in love. The highlight of the play is considered by some to be Launce, the clownish servant of Proteus, and his dog Crab, to whom "the most scene-stealing non-speaking role in the canon" has been attributed. Two Gentlemen has the smallest cast of any play by Shakespeare and is commonly regarded as one of his weakest plays. As the play begins, Valentine is preparing to leave Verona for Milan so as to broaden his horizons. He begs his best friend, Proteus, to come with him, but Proteus is in love with Julia, and refuses to leave. Disappointed, Valentine bids Proteus farewell and goes on alone. Meanwhile, Julia is discussing Proteus with her maid, Lucetta, who
    8.00
    2 votes
    105
    A Woman of No Importance

    A Woman of No Importance

    • Characters: Mr. Kelvil, M.P.
    • Playwright: Oscar Wilde
    A Woman of No Importance is a play by Irish playwright Oscar Wilde. The play premièred on 19 April 1893 at London's Haymarket Theatre. It is a testimony of Wilde's wit and his brand of dark comedy. It looks in particular at English upper class society and has been reproduced on stages in Europe and North America since his death in 1900. Herbert Beerbohm Tree, actor-manager of London's Haymarket Theatre, asked Oscar Wilde to write him a play following the success of Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan at the St. James Theatre. Wilde was initially quite reluctant since the character Tree would take was not the sort of part he associated with the actor: "You must forget that you ever played Hamlet; you must forget that you ever played Falstaff; above all, you must forget that you ever played a duke in a melodrama by Henry Arthur Jones." Wilde went so far as to describe Lord Illingworth as himself. This appears to have made Tree all the more determined and thus Wilde wrote the play while staying at a farmhouse near Felbrigg in Norfolk — with Lord Alfred Douglas — while his wife and sons stayed at Babbacombe Cliff near Torquay. Rehearsals started in March 1893. Tree enjoyed the part of Lord
    9.00
    1 votes
    106
    A Yorkshire Tragedy

    A Yorkshire Tragedy

    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: Thomas Middleton
    A Yorkshire Tragedy is an early Jacobean era stage play, a domestic tragedy printed in 1608. The play was originally assigned to William Shakespeare, though the modern critical consensus rejects this attribution, favouring Thomas Middleton. A Yorkshire Tragedy was entered into the Stationers' Register on May 2, 1608; the entry assigns the play to "William Shakespere." The play was published soon after, in a quarto issued by bookseller Thomas Pavier, who had published Sir John Oldcastle, another play of the Shakespeare Apocrypha, in 1600. The title page of the quarto repeats the attribution to "W. Shakspeare," and states that the play was acted by the King's Men (Shakespeare's company) at the Globe Theatre. The play was reprinted in 1619, as part of William Jaggard's False Folio. It was next reprinted in 1664, when Philip Chetwinde included it among the seven plays he added to the second impression of the Shakespeare Third Folio. The play is unusual in consisting of only ten scenes. The original printed text of the play identifies it as "ALL'S ONE. OR, One of the foure Plaies in one, called a York-Shire Tragedy...." This plainly implies that the existing play was one of a quartet of
    9.00
    1 votes
    107
    Go-Bang

    Go-Bang

    Go-Bang is an English musical comedy with words by Adrian Ross and music by F. Osmond Carr. The piece was produced by Fred Harris and opened at the Trafalgar Square Theatre on 10 March 1894. It ran for 159 performances. The show starred Harry Grattan, George Grossmith, Jr., Arthur Playfair, Jessie Bond, and dancer Letty Lind. The American child prodigy "Baby Costello" danced in the interval between acts. Whereas Ross generally acted as lyricist only, in this case he created the book as well as the lyrics. Go-Bang had a lot of competition in London in 1894, which saw the openings of The Chieftain by Arthur Sullivan and F. C. Burnand, His Excellency by Carr and W. S. Gilbert, The Lady Slavey by Gustave Kerker and George Dance, a revival of Little Jack Sheppard by Meyer Lutz and H. P. Stephens at the Gaiety Theatre, Mirette by André Messager and Ross, and The Shop Girl, an extremely successful musical comedy by H. J. W. Dam, Ivan Caryll, Lionel Monckton and Ross. Dam Row, the Boojam-elect of the Asian country of Go-Bang, visits England to learn Western manners, escorted by Sir Reddan Tapeleigh. There, he finds that he is not Boojam after all. He falls in love with a dancer after
    9.00
    1 votes
    108
    Little Johnny Jones

    Little Johnny Jones

    • Playwright: George M. Cohan
    For the blues pianist, see Little Johnny Jones (pianist) Little Johnny Jones is a musical by George M. Cohan. The show introduced Cohan's tunes "Give My Regards to Broadway" and "The Yankee Doodle Boy." The "Yankee Doodle" character was inspired by real-life Hall of Fame jockey Tod Sloan. The show was Cohan's first full-length musical. A famous American jockey, Tod Sloan, had gone to England in 1903 to ride in the Derby for King Edward VII of England. This gave Cohan the idea for the story. The musical is patriotic in tone and contains a number of quips aimed at European targets, such as, "You think I'd marry an heiress and live off her money? What do you take me for? An Englishman?" and, "French pastry ain't worth 30¢ compared to American apple pie." In Little Johnny Jones Cohan introduced some of the dance steps and comedy features for which he would become famous. This musical is also credited as being the first American Musical, along "with The Black Crook, Evangeline, Show Boat, The Beggar's Opera, The Wizard of the Nile, or any number of other works." (The Black Crook (1866) is considered a prototype of the modern musical in that its popular songs and dances are interspersed
    9.00
    1 votes
    109
    My Name is Rachel Corrie

    My Name is Rachel Corrie

    • Characters: Rachel Corrie
    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    • Playwright: Rachel Corrie
    My Name is Rachel Corrie is a play based on the diaries and emails of Rachel Corrie, edited by Alan Rickman, who directed it, and journalist Katharine Viner. Rachel Aliene Corrie (April 10, 1979 – March 16, 2003) was an American Evergreen State College student and member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who traveled to the Gaza Strip during the Second Intifada. She was killed by a Caterpillar D9R armored bulldozer operated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) while protesting against the destruction of a house by the IDF in the Gaza Strip, apparently acting as a human shield. The details of the events surrounding Corrie's death, as she stood between an Israeli bulldozer and a Palestinian home, which allegedly contained a tunnel used for smuggling weapons from Egypt , are disputed. While an Israeli military investigation ruled the death to be an accident, the ISM maintains that Corrie was run over deliberately. Alan Rickman first staged My Name is Rachel Corrie in April 2005 at the Royal Court Theatre, London, and the play went on to win the Theatregoers' Choice Awards for Best Director and Best New Play, as well as Best Solo Performance for actress Megan Dodds. The play
    9.00
    1 votes
    110
    The Star-Spangled Girl

    The Star-Spangled Girl

    • Characters: Norman Cornell
    • Country of origin: United States of America
    • Playwright: Neil Simon
    The Star-Spangled Girl is a comedy written by Neil Simon. The play is set in San Francisco in the 1960s. The Star-Spangled Girl opened on Broadway at the Plymouth Theatre on December 21, 1966 and closed on August 5, 1967 after 261 performances. The original cast featured Anthony Perkins as Andy, Richard Benjamin as Norman and Connie Stevens as Sophie. The scenic design was by Oliver Smith, the lighting was by Jean Rosenthal and the costumes were by Ann Roth. The production was directed by playwright George Axelrod. In an interview, Neil Simon was asked whether The Star-Spangled Girl would have been better with direction by Mike Nichols. Simon replied: "Yes. He would have given the actors a different attitude; we would have gone much more for reality than the superficial comedy that came out. That's not to knock George Axelrod....He couldn't do it because he was busy with 'Virginia Woolf' but it isn't true that he advised me not to do it; as a matter of fact he came to Philadelphia, and he liked it. He gave me some advice on it which helped." The story is a love triangle, mixed with politics. Andy and Norman are radicals who barely make a living working on their magazine, Fallout,
    9.00
    1 votes
    111
    Andromache

    Andromache

    • Characters: Andromache
    • Playwright: Euripides
    Andromache (Ancient Greek: Ανδρομάχη) is an Athenian tragedy by Euripides. It dramatises Andromache's life as a slave, years after the events of the Trojan War, and her conflict with her master's new wife, Hermione. The date of its first performance is unknown, although scholars place it sometime between 428 and 425 BC. A Byzantine scholion to the play suggests that its first production was staged outside of Athens, though modern scholarship regards this claim as dubious. During the Trojan War, Achilles killed Andromache's husband Hector. The Greeks threw Andromache and Hector's child Astyanax from the Trojan walls for fear that he would grow up and avenge his father and city. Andromache was made a slave of Achilles' son Neoptolemus. Euripides dramatised these events ten years after Andromache in his tragedy The Trojan Women (425 BC). Years pass and Andromache has a child with Neoptolemus. Neoptolemus weds Hermione, daughter of Menelaus and Helen. Even though Andromache is still devoted to her dead husband Hector, Hermione is deeply jealous and plots her revenge. Fearing for her life and the life of her child, Andromache hides the child and seeks refuge in the temple of Thetis (who
    6.67
    3 votes
    112
    Cyrano de Bergerac

    Cyrano de Bergerac

    • Characters: Cyrano de Bergerac
    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Edmond Rostand
    Cyrano de Bergerac is a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. Although there was a real Cyrano de Bergerac, the play bears a very scant resemblance to his life. The entire play is written in verse, in rhyming couplets of 12 syllables per line, very close to the Alexandrine format, but the verses sometimes lack a caesura. It is also meticulously researched, down to the names of the members of the Académie française and the dames précieuses glimpsed before the performance in the first scene. The play has been translated and performed many times, and is responsible for introducing the word "panache" into the English language. The two most famous English translations are those by Brian Hooker and Anthony Burgess. Hercule Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, a cadet (nobleman serving as a soldier) in the French Army, is a brash, strong-willed man of many talents. In addition to being a remarkable duelist, he is a gifted, joyful poet and is also shown to be a musician. However, he has an extremely large nose, which is the reason for his own self-doubt. This doubt prevents him from expressing his love for his distant cousin, the beautiful and intellectual heiress Roxane, as he believes that his
    6.67
    3 votes
    113
    Hamlet

    Hamlet

    • Characters: Ghost of Hamlet's father
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the play dramatizes the revenge Prince Hamlet exacts on his uncle Claudius for murdering King Hamlet, Claudius's brother and Prince Hamlet's father, and then succeeding to the throne and taking as his wife Gertrude, the old king's widow and Prince Hamlet's mother. The play vividly portrays both true and feigned madness – from overwhelming grief to seething rage – and explores themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and moral corruption. Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play and among the most powerful and influential tragedies in English literature, with a story capable of "seemingly endless retelling and adaptation by others." The play was one of Shakespeare's most popular works during his lifetime and still ranks among his most-performed, topping the Royal Shakespeare Company's performance list since 1879. It has inspired writers from Goethe and Dickens to Joyce and Murdoch, and has been described as "the world's most filmed story after Cinderella". Shakespeare based Hamlet on the legend of Amleth, preserved by 13th-century chronicler Saxo Grammaticus in his Gesta Danorum as
    6.67
    3 votes
    114
    Les Précieuses ridicules

    Les Précieuses ridicules

    • Country of origin: France
    Les Précieuses ridicules (French pronunciation: [le pʁesjøz ʁidikyl], The Ridiculous Précieuses or The Affected Ladies) is a one-act satire by Molière in prose. It takes aim at the précieuses, the ultra-witty ladies who indulged in lively conversations, word games and, in a word, préciosité (preciousness). Les Précieuses ridicules is a biting comedy of manners that brought Molière and his company to the attention of Parisians, after they had toured the provinces for years. The play received its Paris premiere on 18 November 1659 at the Théâtre du Petit-Bourbon. It seems not to have been staged before that in the provinces. It was highly successful and attracted the patronage of Louis XIV to Molière and company. Les Précieuses ridicules still plays well today. Les précieuses are Magdelon and Cathos, two young women from the provinces who have come to Paris in search of love and jeux d'esprit. Gorgibus, the father of Magdelon and uncle of Cathos, decides they should marry a pair of eminently eligible young men but the two women find the men unrefined and ridicule them. The men vow to take revenge on les précieuses. On stage comes Mascarille, a young man who pretends to be a
    6.67
    3 votes
    115
    The Cradle Will Rock

    The Cradle Will Rock

    • Characters: Moll
    • Playwright: Marc Blitzstein
    The Cradle Will Rock is a 1937 musical by Marc Blitzstein. Originally a part of the Federal Theatre Project, it was directed by Orson Welles, and produced by John Houseman. The musical is a Brechtian allegory of corruption and corporate greed and includes a panoply of societal figures. Set in "Steeltown, USA", it follows the efforts of Larry Foreman to unionize the town's workers and combat wicked, greedy businessman Mr. Mister, who controls the town's factory, press, church and social organization. The piece is almost entirely sung-through, giving it many operatic qualities, although Blitzstein included popular song styles of the time. The WPA temporarily shut down the project a few days before it was to open on Broadway, so to avoid government and union restrictions, the show was performed with Blitzstein playing piano onstage and the cast members singing their parts from the audience. The show was recorded by its original cast with piano accompaniment, making it one of the first American original cast albums. Setting: Steeltown, U.S.A. Act I Moll, a tired and hungry prostitute, is arrested and jailed for refusing her services to a police officer loyal to Mr. Mister, who owns the
    6.67
    3 votes
    116
    Arms and the Man

    Arms and the Man

    • Characters: Nicola
    • Playwright: George Bernard Shaw
    Arms and the Man is a comedy by George Bernard Shaw, whose title comes from the opening words of Virgil's Aeneid in Latin: Arma virumque cano ("Arms and the man I sing"). The play was first produced on April 21, 1894 at the Avenue Theatre, and published in 1898 as part of Shaw's Plays Pleasant volume, which also included Candida, You Never Can Tell, and The Man of Destiny. The play was one of Shaw's first commercial successes. He was called onto stage after the curtain, where he received enthusiastic applause. However, amidst the cheers, one audience member booed. Shaw replied, in characteristic fashion, "My dear fellow, I quite agree with you, but what are we two against so many?" Arms and the Man is a humorous play which shows the futility of war and deals with the hypocrisies of human nature in a comedic fashion. When Shaw gave Leopold Jacobson the rights to adapt the play into what became the 1908 operatta The Chocolate Soldier with music by Oscar Straus, he provided three conditions: none of Shaw's dialogue, nor any of his character's names, could be used; the libretto must be advertised as being a parody of Shaw's work; and Shaw would accept no monetary compensation. In spite
    5.75
    4 votes
    117
    Bartholomew Fair

    Bartholomew Fair

    • Characters: Grace Welborn
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: Ben Jonson
    Bartholomew Fayre: A Comedy is a comedy in five acts by Ben Jonson, the last written of his four great comedies. It was first staged on October 31, 1614 at the Hope Theatre by the Lady Elizabeth's Men. Written four years after The Alchemist, five after Epicoene, or the Silent Woman, and nine after Volpone, it is in some respects the most experimental of these plays. The play was first printed in 1631, as part of a planned second volume of the first 1616 folio collection of Jonson's works, to be published by the bookseller Robert Allot—though Jonson abandoned the plan when he became dissatisfied with the quality of the typesetting. Copies of the 1631 typecast were circulated, though whether they were sold publicly or distributed privately by Jonson is unclear. The play was published in the second folio of Jonson's works in 1640–41, published by Richard Meighen. The play is set at Bartholomew Fair, which from 1133 to 1855 was one of London's preeminent summer fairs. It opened each August 24 at Smithfield, in the northwestern part of the city. Smithfield, a site of slaughterhouses and public executions, was a fitting place for a fair that was part commerce and part spectacle. At once
    5.75
    4 votes
    118
    Sejanus

    Sejanus

    • Country of origin: England
    Sejanus His Fall, a 1603 play by Ben Jonson, is a tragedy about Lucius Aelius Seianus, the favorite of the Roman emperor Tiberius. It was possibly interpreted as an allegory of James I and his corrupt court, leading to Jonson's arrest. The original version was co-written with another unnamed author, but it was a failure when staged. Jonson published the play in a version with the other writer's scenes replaced by new ones written by himself. The play was entered into the Register of the Stationers Company on 2 November 1604, and published in quarto in 1605 by the bookseller Thomas Thorpe (printing by George Eld). The text is preceded by commendatory verses from George Chapman and John Marston, among others, as well as an Epistle, in which Jonson states that the printed text is not the same as the version acted on stage two years previously by the King's Men. A later 1616 edition features Jonson's Epistle to Lord Aubigny, in which the dramatist indicates that Sejanus was a flop when acted at the Globe Theatre. In the winter of 1618–19 Jonson told William Drummond of Hawthornden that the Earl of Northampton was his "mortal enemy" because Jonson had beaten one of the Earl's servants,
    5.75
    4 votes
    119
    The Wasps

    The Wasps

    • Playwright: Aristophanes
    The Wasps (Greek: Σφῆκες / Sphēkes) is the fourth in chronological order of the eleven surviving plays by Aristophanes, the master of an ancient genre of drama called 'Old Comedy'. It was produced at the Lenaia festival in 422 BC, a time when Athens was enjoying a brief respite from The Peloponnesian War following a one year truce with Sparta. As in his other early plays, Aristophanes pokes satirical fun at the demagogue Cleon but in The Wasps he also ridicules one of the Athenian institutions that provided Cleon with his power-base: the law courts. The play has been thought to exemplify the conventions of Old Comedy better than any other play and it has been considered to be one of the world's greatest comedies. The play begins with a strange scene—a large net has been spread over a house, the entry is barricaded and two slaves are sleeping in the street outside. A third man is positioned at the top of an exterior wall with a view into the inner courtyard but he too is asleep. The two slaves wake and we learn from their banter that they are keeping guard over a 'monster'. The man asleep above them is their master and the monster is his father—he has an unusual disease. The two
    5.75
    4 votes
    120
    Captain Brassbound's Conversion

    Captain Brassbound's Conversion

    • Playwright: George Bernard Shaw
    Captain Brassbound's Conversion (1900) is a play by G. Bernard Shaw. It was published in Shaw's 1901 collection Three Plays for Puritans (together with Caesar and Cleopatra and The Devil's Disciple). The first American production of the play starred Ellen Terry in 1907.
    7.50
    2 votes
    121
    Julius Caesar

    Julius Caesar

    • Characters: Calpurnia
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, also known simply as Julius Caesar, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1599. It portrays the 44 BC conspiracy against the Roman dictator Julius Caesar, his assassination and the defeat of the conspirators at the Battle of Philippi. It is one of several Roman plays that Shakespeare wrote, based on true events from Roman history, which also include Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra. Although the title of the play is Julius Caesar, Caesar is not the most visible character in its action; he appears in only three scenes, and is killed at the beginning of the third act. Marcus Brutus speaks more than four times as many lines, and the central psychological drama is his struggle between the conflicting demands of honour, patriotism, and friendship. Marcus Brutus is Caesar's close friend and a Roman praetor. Brutus allows himself to be cajoled into joining a group of conspiring senators because of a growing suspicion—implanted by Caius Cassius—that Caesar intends to turn republican Rome into a monarchy under his own rule. The early scenes deal mainly with Brutus's arguments with Cassius and his struggle with his own
    7.50
    2 votes
    122
    The Birth of Merlin

    The Birth of Merlin

    • Country of origin: England
    The Birth of Merlin, or, The Child Hath Found his Father is a Jacobean play, first performed in 1622 at the Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch. It contains a comic depiction of the birth of the fully grown Merlin to a country girl, and also features figures from Arthurian legend, including Uther Pendragon, Vortigern, and Aurelius Ambrosius. The play was first published in 1662, in a quarto printed by Thomas Johnson for the booksellers Francis Kirkman and Henry Marsh. That first edition attributed the play to William Shakespeare and William Rowley. The Birth of Merlin is thus one of two plays published in the seventeenth century as a Shakespearean collaboration, the other being The Two Noble Kinsmen. Most scholars reject the attribution to Shakespeare and believe that the play is Rowley's, perhaps with a different collaborator. The play has occasionally been revived in the modern era, for example at Theatr Clwyd. The Birth of Merlin shares a significant relationship with Cupid's Revenge, a play in the Beaumont and Fletcher canon. Large-scale resemblances in plotting—the missing prince, the ruler and his heir who fall in love with the same woman—could be explained through derivation from
    7.50
    2 votes
    123
    The Messenger Boy

    The Messenger Boy

    • Playwright: James T. Tanner
    The Messenger Boy is a musical comedy in two acts by James T. Tanner and Alfred Murray, lyrics by Adrian Ross and Percy Greenbank, with music by Ivan Caryll and Lionel Monckton, with additional numbers by Paul Rubens. The story concerned a rascally financier who tries to discredit a rival in love. After a tryout in Plymouth, it opened at the Gaiety Theatre in London, managed by George Edwardes, on 3 February 1900 and ran for a very successful 429 performances. Harry Grattan and Edmund Payne starred. Marie Studholme later joined the cast. It had a Broadway run of 128 performances from 16 September 1901 to 4 January 1902. The director was Herbert Gresham, and the musical director was Louis F. Gottschalk. The cast included Georgia Caine as Nora, Jobyna Howland as Lord Punchestown, May Robson as Mrs. Bang and Flora Zabelle as Isabel Blyth. Rose Boote (professional name, Miss Rosie Boote), who also appeared in the London cast, so charmed Geoffrey Taylour, 4th Marquess of Headfort, that he married her in 1901. Rose Lady Headfort outlived her husband, dying in 1958. The young ladies appearing in George Edwardes's shows became so popular that wealthy gentlemen, termed "Stage Door
    7.50
    2 votes
    124
    The Night of the Iguana

    The Night of the Iguana

    • Characters: Maxine Faulk
    • Country of origin: United States of America
    • Playwright: Tennessee Williams
    The Night of the Iguana is a stageplay written by American author Tennessee Williams, based on his 1948 short story. The play premiered on Broadway in 1961. Two film adaptations have been made, including the Academy Award-winning 1964 film of the same name. In 1940s Mexico, an ex-minister, Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon, has been locked out of his church after characterizing the Occidental image of God as a "senile delinquent", during one of his sermons. Shannon is not de-frocked, but institutionalized for a "nervous breakdown". Some time after his release, Rev. Shannon obtains employment as a tour guide for a second-rate travel agency. Shortly before the opening of the play, Shannon is accused of having committed statutory rape of a sixteen-year old girl, named Charlotte Goodall, who is accompanying his current group of tourists. As the curtain rises, Shannon is arriving with a group of women at a cheap hotel on the coast of Mexico that had been managed by his friends Fred and Maxine Faulk. The former has recently died, and Maxine Faulk has assumed sole responsibility for managing the establishment. Struggling emotionally, Shannon tries to manage his tour party, who have turned
    7.50
    2 votes
    125
    The Taming of the Shrew

    The Taming of the Shrew

    • Characters: Petruchio
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    The Taming of the Shrew is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1590 and 1591. The play begins with a framing device, often referred to as the Induction, in which a mischievous nobleman tricks a drunken tinker named Sly into believing he is actually a nobleman himself. The nobleman then has the play performed for Sly's diversion. The main plot depicts the courtship of Petruchio, a gentleman of Verona, and Katherina, the headstrong, obdurate shrew. Initially, Katherina is an unwilling participant in the relationship, but Petruchio tempers her with various psychological torments—the "taming"—until she becomes a compliant and obedient bride. The subplot features a competition between the suitors of Katherina's more desirable sister, Bianca. The play's apparent misogynistic elements have become the subject of considerable controversy, particularly among modern audiences and readers. It has nevertheless been adapted numerous times for stage, screen, opera, and musical theatre; perhaps the most famous adaptations being Cole Porter's musical Kiss Me, Kate and the 1967 film version of the original play, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The
    7.50
    2 votes
    126
    The Trachiniae

    The Trachiniae

    • Characters: Lichas
    • Playwright: Sophocles
    Women of Trachis (Ancient Greek: Τραχίνιαι, Trachiniai; also translated as The Trachiniae) is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles. The story begins with Deianeira, the wife of Heracles, relating the story of her early life and her plight adjusting to married life. She is now distraught over her husband's neglect of her family. Often involved in some adventure, he rarely visits them. She sends their son Hyllus to find him, as she is concerned over prophecies about Heracles and the land he is currently in. After Hyllus sets off, a messenger arrives with word that Heracles, victorious in his recent battle, is making offerings on Cape Cenaeum and coming home soon to Trachis. Lichas, a herald of Heracles, brings in a procession of captives. He gives Deianeira a false story of why Heracles had laid siege to the city of Oechalia (in Euboea). He claimed Eurytus, the city's king, was responsible for Heracles being enslaved, and therefore Heracles vowed revenge against him and his people. Among the captured girls is Iole, daughter of Eurytus. Deianeira soon learns that in truth Heracles laid siege to the city just to obtain Iole, whom he has taken as a lover. Unable to cope with the thought of
    7.50
    2 votes
    127
    Twelfth Night, or What You Will

    Twelfth Night, or What You Will

    • Characters: Viola
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    Twelfth Night; or, What You Will is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601–02 as a Twelfth Night's entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The play expanded on the musical interludes and riotous disorder expected of the occasion, with plot elements drawn from the short story "Of Apollonius and Silla" by Barnabe Rich, based on a story by Matteo Bandello. The first recorded performance was on 2 February 1602, at Candlemas, the formal end of Christmastide in the year's calendar. The play was not published until its inclusion in the 1623 First Folio. The foretitle, Twelfth Night is believed to be an afterthought. While Shakespeare was writing the play, he may have intended the title as simply What You Will, but before it was performed John Marston premièred a play also titled What You Will. The title Twelfth Night, or What You Will prepares the audience for its jovial feel of festivities consisting of drink, dance, and giving in to general self-indulgence. Illyria, the setting of Twelfth Night, is important to the play's romantic atmosphere. Illyria was an ancient region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea covering parts of modern
    7.50
    2 votes
    128
    The Arcadians

    The Arcadians

    • Playwright: Alexander M. Thompson
    The Arcadians is an Edwardian musical comedy styled a "Fantastic Musical Play" in three acts by Mark Ambient and Alexander M. Thompson, with lyrics by Arthur Wimperis and music by Lionel Monckton and Howard Talbot. The story concerns some idyllic Arcadians who wish to transform wicked London to a land of truth and simplicity. The musical was produced by Robert Courtneidge, opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London, on April 29, 1909, and ran for 809 performances, the third longest run for any musical theatre piece up to that time. The show starred Phyllis Dare as Eileen, Dan Rolyat as Smith and Florence Smithson as Sombra. Cicely Courtneidge, the producer's daughter, later took over the role of Eileen. Costume designs were by the imaginative designer C. Wilhelm. A Broadway production opened at the Liberty Theater in 1910, for over 200 performances, starring Frank Moulan and Julia Sanderson. A silent film version was made in 1927, and the piece was popular with amateur theatre groups, particularly in Britain, through the 20th century, where it received over 225 productions. Arcadia was a legendary land of rural perfection peopled by beautiful virtuous innocents, first described by
    5.50
    4 votes
    129
    A Taste of Honey

    A Taste of Honey

    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    • Playwright: Shelagh Delaney
    A Taste of Honey is the first play by the British dramatist Shelagh Delaney, written when she was 18. It was initially intended as a novel, but she turned it into a play because she hoped to revitalise British theatre and to address social issues that she felt were not being presented. The play was first produced by Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop and was premiered at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, a small fringe theatre in London, on 27 May 1958. The production then transferred to the larger Wyndham's Theatre in the West End on 10 February 1959. The play was adapted into an award-winning film of the same title in 1961. A Taste of Honey is set in Salford in northwestern England in the 1950s. It tells the story of Jo, a seventeen-year-old working class girl, and her mother, Helen, who is presented as crude and sexually indiscriminate. Helen leaves Jo alone in their new flat after she begins a relationship with Peter, a rich lover who is younger than her. At the same time Jo begins a romantic relationship with Jimmy, a black sailor. He proposes marriage but then goes to sea, leaving Jo pregnant and alone. She finds lodgings with a homosexual acquaintance, Geoffrey, who assumes
    6.33
    3 votes
    130
    Fame

    Fame

    • Characters: Carmen Diaz
    • Playwright: Jose Fernandez
    A stage musical based on the 1980 musical film Fame has been staged under two titles. The first, 'Fame – The Musical' conceived and developed by David De Silva, is a musical with a book by Jose Fernandez, music by Steve Margoshes and lyrics by Jacques Levy. The musical premiered in 1988 in Miami, Florida. as 'Fame on 42nd Street', it was performed Off-Broadway from 2003 to 2004. De Silva had produced the 1980 film about students at New York City's High School of Performing Arts. The critically and commercially successful film was followed by a six-season television series, and the musical. The musical is significantly rewritten from the previous adaptations, with an almost entirely new score. The film is referred to several times in the script and in two songs. Since its first production, Fame – The Musical has had numerous professional and amateur productions. In 1988, Fame – the Musical was first produced at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, Florida. The original cast included Monique Cintron as Carmen Diaz, Joel Malina as Schlomo Metzenbaum, Janet Metz as Serena Katz, Tener Brown as Iris Kelly, and Harold Perrineau Jr. as Tyrone Jackson. It went back to its roots in 2010
    6.33
    3 votes
    131
    Jack Drum's Entertainment

    Jack Drum's Entertainment

    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: John Marston
    Jack Drum's Entertainment is a late Elizabethan play written by the dramatist and satirist John Marston c. 1599–1600. It was first performed by the Children of Paul's, one of the troupes of boy actors popular in that era. The play was entered into the Stationers' Register on Sept. 8, 1600, and first published in quarto in 1601 by the bookseller Richard Olive. A second quarto appeared in 1616, issued by Philip Knight, and a third in 1618 from Nathaniel Fosbrooke. All three quartos are anonymous, though Marston's authorship is unanimously recognized by scholars. The play is a burlesque romantic comedy, which tells the story of the love between Pasquil and Katherine and the trials and tribulations that they face on the way to happiness. The subplot is the story of a collection of fools who attempt to outwit each other while fighting over women. The play satirizes both human folly in general and the madness of being in love, although its harshest criticism is reserved for those who cannot feel love, like the wicked usurer Mamon, or those who believe themselves superior, failing to recognize that all men may be foolish at times, like the self-satisfied critic Brabant Senior. It has been
    6.33
    3 votes
    132
    Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins

    • Characters: Bert
    • Playwright: Julian Fellowes
    Mary Poppins is a Walt Disney Theatrical musical based on the similarly titled series of children's books by P. L. Travers and the 1964 Disney film. The West End production opened in December 2004 and received two Olivier Awards, one for Best Actress in a Musical and the other for Best Theatre Choreography. The musical features the film's music and lyrics by the Academy Award winning Sherman Brothers, along with additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. The musical was written by Julian Fellowes. The musical was directed by Richard Eyre and co-directed by Matthew Bourne, who also acted as co-choreographer with Stephen Mear. A Broadway production with a near-identical creative team opened in November 2006, with only minor changes from the West End version. It received seven Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, winning for Best Scenic Design. The stage musical is a fusion of various elements from the film and the books. Some elements from the Mary Poppins series of children's books that had been omitted from the film were restored, such as the walking statue and the ladders rising to the stars. Others were removed, such as the scene in which Uncle
    6.33
    3 votes
    133
    The Clansman

    The Clansman

    • Country of origin: United States of America
    The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan is the title of a novel published in 1905. It was the second work in the Ku Klux Klan trilogy by Thomas F. Dixon, Jr. that included The Leopard's Spots and The Traitor. It was influential in providing the ideology that helped support the revival of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The novel was immediately adapted by its author as a play entitled The Clansman (1905) and by D. W. Griffith as the groundbreaking 1915 silent movie The Birth of a Nation. The play particularly inspired the second half of The Birth of a Nation, as it was concerned with the KKK and Reconstruction rather than the American Civil War. According to Professor Russell Merritt, key differences between the play and film are said to include that Dixon was more sympathetic to Southerners' pursuing education and modern professions, whereas Griffith stressed ownership of plantations; moreover, Dixon envisioned the KKK as more organized and structured than it was. Dixon also believed that the treatment of African Americans and Jews by the new KKK was improper. He believed that, though whites were in his eyes a superior race, it was their duty to raise up the status of the
    6.33
    3 votes
    134
    The Persians

    The Persians

    • Playwright: Aeschylus
    The Persians (Ancient Greek: Πέρσαι, Persai) is an Athenian tragedy by the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus. First produced in 472 BC, it is the oldest surviving play in the history of theatre. It dramatises the Persian response to news of their military defeat at the Battle of Salamis (480 BC), which was a decisive episode in the Greco–Persian Wars; as such, the play is also notable for being the only extant Greek tragedy that is based on contemporary events. The Persians was the second part of a trilogy that won the first prize at the dramatic competitions in Athens’ City Dionysia festival in 472 BCE, with Pericles serving as choregos. The first play in the trilogy was called Phineus; it presumably dealt with Jason and the Argonauts' rescue of King Phineus from the torture that the monstrous harpies inflicted at the behest of Zeus. The subject of the third play, Glaucus, was either a mythical Corinthian king who was devoured by his horses because he angered the goddess Aphrodite (see Glaucus [son of Sisyphus]) or else a Boeotian farmer who ate a magical herb that transformed him into a sea deity with the gift of prophecy (see Glaucus). In The Persians, Xerxes invites the gods'
    6.33
    3 votes
    135
    A Greek Slave

    A Greek Slave

    • Playwright: Owen Hall
    A Greek Slave is a musical comedy in two acts, first performed on 8 June 1898 at Daly's Theatre in London, produced by George Edwardes and ran for 349 performances. The score was composed by Sidney Jones with additional songs by Lionel Monckton and lyrics by Harry Greenbank and Adrian Ross. The libretto was written by Owen Hall. It starred Marie Tempest, Letty Lind, Hayden Coffin, Scott Russell, Huntley Wright and Rutland Barrington among other popular London stars. The show had a brief Broadway run in 1899. The work had stiff competition in London in 1898, as other successful openings included A Runaway Girl and The Belle of New York. The simple plot of the production was based around the tangled love lives and misunderstandings of a Roman household. The same themes and characterisations would resurface some 70 years later in the Broadway show A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum by Stephen Sondheim. A Greek Slave was in the unfortunate position of following The Geisha, also by Sidney Jones. This was the biggest stage hit of its era. Therefore, A Greek Slave is often remembered as being the show that was not as successful as The Geisha, rather than being appreciated on
    8.00
    1 votes
    136
    Columbinus

    Columbinus

    • Characters: Rebel
    • Country of origin: United States of America
    • Playwright: PJ Paparelli
    columbinus is a play written by Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli, with contributions by Josh Barrett, Sean McNall, Karl Miller, Michael Milligan and Will Rogers, created by the United States Theatre Project. The play looks at issues of alienation, hostility and social pressure in high schools and was suggested by the April 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado. The play premiered in Silver Spring, Maryland in 2005 and then Off-Broadway in 2006. columbinus includes excerpts from discussions with parents, survivors and community leaders in Littleton as well as diaries and home video footage to reveal what it refers to as "the dark recesses of American adolescence". The first act of the play is set in a stereotypical, fictional American high school and follows the lives and struggles of eight teenage archetypes. These characters are not given names but labels, and the two outcast friends designated in the script as "Freak" and "Loner" are slowly driven to crime and madness by the bullying from their classmates. In act two, these boys become Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, in scenes taken from their videos and personal journals, illustrating the days
    8.00
    1 votes
    137
    I Married an Angel

    I Married an Angel

    I Married An Angel is a musical comedy by Rodgers and Hart. It was adapted from a play by Hungarian playwright János Vaszary, entitled Angyalt Vettem Felesegul. The book was by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, with music by Rodgers and lyrics by Hart. The story concerns a wealthy banker who, disillusioned with women, decides that the only mate for him would be an angel. An angel soon arrives, and he marries her, but finds out that her perfection and guilelessness is inconvenient. A wealthy Budapest banker, Count Willie Palaffi, is love-weary. He ends his engagement to Anna Murphy, swearing that the only girl he could marry would be an angel. A real angel soon flies into his life, and he marries her. It turns out, however, that she is free of the human failings that permit people to tolerate each other. In particular, she is unable to fib. Her honesty alienates Willie's high society acquaintances and his biggest customer and causes a run on the bank. His sister, Countess Palaffi, saves the day by teaching the angel about the real world. She also bribes taxi drivers to make Willie's creditors late, so that he has time to save his bank. Willie and his now Earthier angel live happily
    8.00
    1 votes
    138
    Pacific Overtures

    Pacific Overtures

    • Playwright: Hugh Wheeler
    Pacific Overtures is a musical written by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman. The show is set in 1853 Japan and follows the difficult Westernization of Japan, told from the point of view of the Japanese. In particular, the story zeros in on the lives of two friends caught in the change. The title of the work is drawn directly from text in a letter from Admiral Perry addressed to the Emperor dated July 7, 1853: "Many of the large ships-of-war destined to visit Japan have not yet arrived in these seas, though they are hourly expected; and the undersigned, as an evidence of his friendly intentions, has brought but four of the smaller ones, designing, should it become necessary, to return to Edo in the ensuing spring with a much larger force. But it is expected that the government of your imperial majesty will render such return unnecessary, by acceding at once to the very reasonable and pacific overtures contained in the President's letter, and which will be further explained by the undersigned on the first fitting occasion." In addition to playing on the musical term "overture" and the geographical reference to the Pacific Ocean there is also the irony, revealed as the story unfolds,
    8.00
    1 votes
    139
    Salome

    Salome

    • Characters: Herod Antipas
    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    • Playwright: Oscar Wilde
    Salome (or in French: Salomé) is a tragedy by Oscar Wilde. The original 1891 version of the play was in French. Three years later an English translation was published. The play tells in one act the Biblical story of Salome, stepdaughter of the tetrarch Herod Antipas, who, to her stepfather's dismay but to the delight of her mother Herodias, requests the head of Jokanaan (John the Baptist) on a silver platter as a reward for dancing the dance of the seven veils. Rehearsals for the play's debut on the London stage began in 1892, but were halted when the Lord Chamberlain's licensor of plays banned Salomé on the basis that it was illegal to depict Biblical characters on the stage. The play was first published in French in 1893, and an English translation, with illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley, in 1894. On the Dedication page, Wilde indicated that his lover Lord Alfred Douglas was the translator. In fact, Wilde and Douglas had quarrelled over the latter's translation of the text which had been nothing short of disastrous given his poor mastery of French — though Douglas claimed that the errors were really in Wilde's original play. Beardsley and the publisher John Lane got drawn in when
    8.00
    1 votes
    140
    Seven Against Thebes

    Seven Against Thebes

    • Characters: Polynices
    • Playwright: Aeschylus
    The Seven against Thebes (Ancient Greek: Ἑπτὰ ἐπὶ Θήβας, Hepta epi Thēbas; Latin: Septem contra Thebas) is the third play in an Oedipus-themed trilogy produced by Aeschylus in 467 BC. The trilogy is sometimes referred to as the Oedipodea. It concerns the battle between an Argive army led by Polynices and the army of Thebes led by Eteocles and his supporters. The trilogy won the first prize at the City Dionysia. Its first two plays, Laius and Oedipus as well as the satyr play Sphinx are no longer extant. When Oedipus, the king of Thebes, realized he had married his own mother and had two sons and two daughters with her, he blinded himself and cursed his sons to divide their inheritance (the kingdom) by the sword. The two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, in order to avoid bloodshed, agreed to rule Thebes in alternate years. After the first year, Eteocles refused to step down and as a result, Polynices raised an army (captained by the eponymous Seven) of Argives to take Thebes by force. This is where Aeschylus' tragedy starts. There is little plot as such; instead, the bulk of the play consists of rich dialogues that show how the citizens of Thebes feel about the threat of the hostile
    8.00
    1 votes
    141
    The Two Noble Kinsmen

    The Two Noble Kinsmen

    • Characters: Palamon
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    The Two Noble Kinsmen is a Jacobean tragicomedy, first published in 1634 and attributed to John Fletcher and William Shakespeare. Its plot derives from "The Knight's Tale" in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, which had already been dramatised by Richard Edwardes. Formerly a point of controversy, the dual attribution is now generally accepted by the scholarly consensus. Researchers have applied a range of tests and techniques to determine the relative shares of Shakespeare and Fletcher in the play—Hallet Smith, in The Riverside Shakespeare, cites "metrical characteristics, vocabulary and word-compounding, incidence of certain contractions, kinds and uses of imagery, and characteristic lines of certain types"—in their attempts to distinguish the shares of Shakespeare and Fletcher in the play. Smith offers a breakdown that agrees, in general if not in all details, with those of other scholars: Shakespeare—Act I, scenes 1–3; Act II, scene 1; Act III, scene 1; Act V, scene 1, lines 34-173, and scenes 3 and 4. Fletcher—Prologue; Act II, scenes 2–6; Act III, scenes 2–6; Act IV, scenes 1 and 3; Act V, scene 1, lines 1–33, and scene 2; Epilogue. "uncertain"—Act I, scenes 4 and 5; Act
    8.00
    1 votes
    142
    Vera; or, The Nihilists

    Vera; or, The Nihilists

    • Playwright: Oscar Wilde
    Vera; or, The Nihilists is a play by Oscar Wilde. It is a melodramatic tragedy set in Russia and is loosely based on the story of Vera Zasulich. It was the first play that Wilde wrote. It was produced in the United Kingdom in 1880, and in New York in 1882, but it was not a success and folded in both cities. It is nowadays rarely revived. Vera is a barmaid in her father's tavern, which is situated along a road to the prison camps in Siberia. A gang of prisoners stop at the tavern. Vera immediately recognises her brother Dmitri as one of the prisoners. He begs her to go to Moscow and join the Nihilists, a terrorism group trying to assassinate the Czar, and avenge his imprisonment. She and her father's manservant Michael leave to join the Nihilists. Years later, Vera has become the Nihilists' top assassin, and is wanted across Europe. She is in love with a fellow Nihilist named Alexis: however, Nihilists are sworn never to marry. A Nihilist meeting is nearly broken up by soldiers, but Alexis thwarts the soldiers by revealing his true identity: he is the Tsarevich, heir to the Russian throne. This act earns him the further admiration of Vera and the hatred of the Nihilists. At a
    8.00
    1 votes
    143
    A Midsummer Night's Dream

    A Midsummer Night's Dream

    • Characters: Oberon
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play by William Shakespeare. Believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596, it portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors, who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. The play, categorized as a Comedy, is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world. The play features three interlocking plots, connected by a celebration of the wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens and the Amazon queen, Hippolyta, which is set simultaneously in the woodland and in the realm of Fairyland, under the light of the moon. In the opening scene, Hermia refuses to follow her father's, Egeus, instructions to marry Demetrius, whom he has chosen for her. In response, Egeus quotes before Theseus an ancient Athenian law whereby a daughter must marry the suitor chosen by her father, or else face death. Theseus offers her another choice: lifelong chastity while worshiping the goddess Diana as a nun. At that
    5.25
    4 votes
    144
    Bombay Dreams

    Bombay Dreams

    • Characters: Akaash
    • Playwright: Meera Syal
    Bombay Dreams is a Bollywood-themed musical, with music by A. R. Rahman, lyrics by Don Black and the book by Meera Syal and Thomas Meehan, and produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The London production opened in 2002 and ran for two years. The musical also was produced on Broadway in 2004. The story centers around Akaash, a young man from the slums of Bombay who dreams of becoming the next big star in Bollywood. Fate steps in when a rich pro-bono lawyer and his fiancée, an aspiring documentary filmmaker, arrive to prevent the demolition of Akaash's slum. Akaash quickly falls in love with the lawyer's fiancée, Priya, who happens to be the daughter of a famous Bollywood director, and the ticket to the top that Akaash needs. Complications arise as Akaash faces the reality of show business, fame, his love for Priya, and his obligations to his family, friends, and his Paradise slum. The plot includes frequent reference to the change of name from Bombay to Mumbai of the titular city and references the identity issues that this raises. Bombay Dreams premiered in the West End at the Apollo Victoria Theatre on June 19, 2002 and closed in June 2004. The original cast included Preeya Kalidas as
    7.00
    2 votes
    145
    Endgame

    Endgame

    • Characters: Nagg
    • Playwright: Samuel Beckett
    Endgame, by Samuel Beckett, is a one-act play with four characters, written in a style associated with the Theatre of the Absurd. It was originally written in French (entitled Fin de partie); as was his custom, Beckett himself translated it into English. The play was first performed in a French-language production at the Royal Court Theatre in London, opening on 3 April 1957. It is commonly considered, along with such works as Waiting for Godot, to be among Beckett's most important works. The English title is taken from the last part of a chess game, when there are very few pieces left (the French title applies to games besides chess and Beckett lamented the fact that there was no precise English equivalent); Beckett himself was an avid chess player. It has also been suggested that Hamm relates to "ham actor" and Ham, son of Noah, while Clov is a truncated version of "clown," as well as suggesting cloven hoof (of the devil) and glove (a distant echo of hand and glove, perhaps). Nagg suggests nagging and the German nagen (to gnaw), while Nell recalls Dickens' Little Nell. Equally Hamm could be short for Hammer and Clov be "clove", hammer and nail representing one aspect of their
    7.00
    2 votes
    146
    Every Man Out of His Humour

    Every Man Out of His Humour

    • Country of origin: England
    Every Man out of His Humour is a satirical comedy written by English playwright Ben Jonson, acted in 1599 by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. It is a conceptual sequel to his 1598 comedy Every Man in His Humour. It was much less successful on stage than its predecessor, though it was published in quarto three times in 1600 alone; it was also performed at Court on 8 January 1605. The play was entered into the Register of the Stationers' Company on 8 April 1600 by the bookseller William Holme, who published the first quarto of the play soon after. Holmes issued a second quarto later that year, with the printing done by Peter Short. Yet a third quarto appeared in 1600, published by Nicholas Ling, the stationer who would issue the "bad quarto" of Hamlet three years later. W. W. Greg characterized Ling's Q3 as "A careless and ignorant reprint" of Q1. Every Man Out contains an allusion to John Marston's Histriomastix in Act III, scene i, a play that was acted in the autumn of 1599; the clown character Clove speaks "fustian" in mimicry of Marston's style. This is one instance of Jonson's involvement in the War of the Theatres. Individual scholars and critics have searched Every Man Out for
    7.00
    2 votes
    147
    Exiles

    Exiles

    • Playwright: James Joyce
    Exiles is a play by James Joyce, who is principally remembered for his novels. It draws on the story of "The Dead", the final short story in Joyce's first major work, Dubliners, and was rejected by W. B. Yeats for production by the Abbey Theatre. Its first major London performance was in 1970, when Harold Pinter directed it at the Mermaid Theatre. In terms of both its critical and popular reception, it has proven the least successful of all Joyce's published works - only Chamber Music runs it close. In making his case for the defence of the play, Padraic Colum conceded: "...critics have recorded their feeling that [Exiles] has not the enchantment of Portrait of the Artist nor the richness of [Ulysses]... They have noted that Exiles has the shape of an Ibsen play and have discounted it as being the derivative work of a young admirer of the great Scandinavian dramatist." The basic premise of Exiles involves a love triangle between Richard Rowan (a Dublin writer recently returned from exile in Rome), Bertha (his common law wife) and his old friend Robert Hand (a journalist). (There are obvious parallels to be drawn with Joyce's own life - Joyce and Nora Barnacle lived, unmarried, in
    7.00
    2 votes
    148
    Forbidden Broadway

    Forbidden Broadway

    • Playwright: Gerard Alessandrini
    Forbidden Broadway is an Off-Broadway satirical revue conceived, written and directed by Gerard Alessandrini. The original version of the revue opened on January 15, 1982 at Palsson's Supper Club in New York City and ran for 2,332 performances. Alessandrini has rewritten the show over a dozen times over the years to include parodies of newer shows. In the original iteration of the show, Alessandrini was one of the original actors. Michael Chapman directed and produced. In April 1982, Chloe Webb joined the cast, Jeff Martin succeeded Michael Chapman as director. Alessandrini assumed the directing position subsequently, with Phillip George, Alessandrini's long-time collaborator, co-directing all of the editions of the revue since 2004. The show, in its various editions, has received over 9,000 performances and been seen in more than 200 U.S. cities as well as playing in London, Tokyo, Singapore and Sydney. The show is a cabaret revue sharply spoofing show tunes, characters and plots of contemporary and current Broadway musicals. Forbidden Broadway has mocked popular shows like The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Les Misérables, Annie Get Your Gun, Hairspray, The Lion King, The Music
    7.00
    2 votes
    149
    If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody

    If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody

    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: Thomas Heywood
    If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody is a two-part play by Thomas Heywood, depicting the life and reign of Elizabeth I of England, written very soon after the latter's death. The title deliberately echoes that of Samuel Rowley's 1605 play When You See Me You Know Me. Part 1 is a chronicle history of the main events in the reign of Mary I, ending with the accession of Elizabeth. It was entered into the Stationers' Register on 5 July 1605, and published in quarto soon after by the bookseller Nathaniel Butter. The play was popular, and subsequent quartos were issued in 1606, 1608, 1610, 1613, 1623, 1632, and 1639. The play was most likely written for and performed by Queen Anne's Men, and remained in their repertory many years. The full title of Part 2 was entered into the Stationers' Register on 14 September 1605 and was first printed in quarto in 1606, again by Nathaniel Butter. Subsequent quartos appeared in 1609 and 1632, plus an undated edition that is thought to have been issued in 1623. The 1632 quarto features an alternative text of Act V. Part 2 devotes its first three acts to the building of the Royal Exchange by Thomas Gresham and revolves around the character of Hobson, a
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    2 votes
    150
    L'Aiglon

    L'Aiglon

    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Edmond Rostand
    L'Aiglon is a play in six acts by Edmond Rostand based on the life of Napoleon's son, Napoleon II of France, Duke of Reichstadt. The title comes from a nickname for Napoleon II, the French word for "eaglet" (a young eagle). The title role was created by Sarah Bernhardt in the play's premiere on 15 March 1900 at the Théàtre Sarah Bernhardt. In October of the same year, the play in an English translation by Louis N. Parker, premiered at New York's Knickerbocker Theatre with Maude Adams in the title role. Its first performance in London was at Her Majesty's Theatre in 1901, with Bernhardt again as the Duke of Reichstadt. Rostand had written L'Aiglon specifically for Bernhardt, and it became one of her signature roles. Arthur Honegger and Jacques Ibert composed an opera in five acts, also with the title L'Aiglon, to a libretto by Henri Cain based on Rostand's play, It was first performed at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo in 1937.
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    2 votes
    151
    The Alchemist

    The Alchemist

    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: Ben Jonson
    The Alchemist is a comedy by English playwright Ben Jonson. First performed in 1610 by the King's Men, it is generally considered Jonson's best and most characteristic comedy; Samuel Taylor Coleridge claimed that it had one of the three most perfect plots in literature. The play's clever fulfillment of the classical unities and vivid depiction of human folly have made it one of the few Renaissance plays (except the works of Shakespeare) with a continuing life on stage (except for a period of neglect during the Victorian era). The Alchemist premiered 34 years after the first permanent public theatre (The Theatre) opened in London; it is, then, a product of the early maturity of commercial drama in London. Only one of the University wits who had transformed drama in the Elizabethan period remained alive (this was Thomas Lodge); in the other direction, the last great playwright to flourish before the Interregnum, James Shirley, was already a teenager. The theatres had survived the challenge mounted by the city and religious authorities; plays were a regular feature of life at court and for a great number of Londoners. The venue for which Jonson apparently wrote his play reflects this
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    2 votes
    152
    The Clouds

    The Clouds

    • Playwright: Aristophanes
    The Clouds (Νεφέλαι / Nephelai) is a comedy written by the celebrated playwright Aristophanes lampooning intellectual fashions in classical Athens. It was originally produced at the City Dionysia in 423 BC and it was not well received, coming last of the three plays competing at the festival that year. It was revised between 420-417 BC and thereafter it was circulated in manuscript form. No copy of the original production survives, and scholarly analysis indicates that the revised version is an incomplete form of Old Comedy. This incompleteness, however, is not obvious in translations and modern performances. The Clouds can be considered not only the world's first extant 'comedy of ideas' but also a brilliant and successful example of that genre. The play gained notoriety for its caricature of the philosopher Socrates ever since its mention in Plato's Apology as a factor contributing to the old man's trial and execution. Faced with legal action for non-payment of debts, Strepsiades, an elderly Athenian, enrolls his son in the "thinkeria" (the "Phrontisterion") so that he might learn the rhetorical skills necessary to defeat their creditors in court. The son thereby learns cynical
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    2 votes
    153
    The Knight of the Burning Pestle

    The Knight of the Burning Pestle

    • Country of origin: England
    The Knight of the Burning Pestle is a play by Francis Beaumont, first performed in 1607 and first published in a quarto in 1613. It is notable as the first whole parody (or pastiche) play in English. The play is a satire on chivalric romances in general, similar to Don Quixote, and a parody of Thomas Heywood's The Four Prentices of London and Thomas Dekker's The Shoemaker's Holiday. The play is notable for breaking the fourth wall from its outset. It is most likely that the play was written for the child actors at Blackfriars Theatre, where John Marston had previously had plays produced. In addition to the textual history testifying to a Blackfriars origin, there are multiple references within the text to Marston, to the actors as children (notably from the Citizen's Wife, who seems to recognize the actors from their school), and other indications that the performance took place in a house known for biting satire and sexual double entendre. Blackfriars specialized in satire, according to Andrew Gurr (quoted in Hattaway, ix), and Michael Hattaway suggests that the dissonance of the youth of the players and the gravity of their roles combined with the multiple internal references to
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    2 votes
    154
    The Trojan war will not take place

    The Trojan war will not take place

    • Country of origin: France
    The Trojan War Will Not Take Place (French title: La guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu) is a play written in 1935 by French dramatist Jean Giraudoux. In 1955 it was translated into English by Christopher Fry. The play has two acts and follows the convention of the classical unities. Within the framework of the Iliadic myth of the Trojan War, Giraudoux criticizes diplomacy and the behaviour of the national leaders and intellectuals who brought about World War I and the lead-up to World War II. The play takes place the day before the outbreak of the Trojan War inside the gates of the city of Troy. It follows the struggle of the disillusioned Trojan military commander Hector, supported by the women of Troy, as he tries to avoid war with the Greeks. Hector's wife Andromache is pregnant, and this reinforces his desire for peace. Along with his worldly-wise mother Hecuba, Hector leads the anti-war argument and tries to persuade his brother Paris to return Paris's beautiful but vapid captive Helen to Greece. Giraudoux presents Helen as not only an object of desire, but the epitome of destiny itself. She claims that she can see the future by seeing what is coloured in her mind, and she sees
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    2 votes
    155
    Yip Yip Yaphank

    Yip Yip Yaphank

    Yip Yip Yaphank is the name of musical revue composed and produced by Irving Berlin in 1918 while he was a recruit during World War I in the United States Army at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York. The commanding officer at Camp Upton had wanted to build a community building on the grounds of the army base, and thought that Sgt. Berlin could help raise the $35,000 needed for its construction. Berlin's song, "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning," an everyman song for soldiers, would be the basis of a revue full of army recruits—a veritable source of manpower available for him to use. He called for his friend and co-worker Harry Ruby to join him in writing down the flurry of songs that Berlin would create, including "God Bless America," which Berlin would eventually toss out of the play for being too sticky. In July 1918, Yip, Yip Yaphank had a tryout run at Camp Upton's little Liberty Theatre, before moving on to Central Park West's Century Theatre in August. The show was typical of revues and follies, featuring acrobatics, dancers, jugglers, and also featured a demonstration by Lightweight Boxing Champion Benny Leonard. Included with the performances were military drills
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    2 votes
    156
    A Doll's House

    A Doll's House

    • Characters: Nora Helmer
    • Country of origin: Norway
    • Playwright: Henrik Ibsen
    A Doll's House (Norwegian: Et dukkehjem; also translated as A Doll House) is a three-act play in prose by the playwright Henrik Ibsen. It premiered at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 21 December 1879, having been published earlier that month. The play was controversial when first published, as it is sharply critical of 19th century marriage norms. Michael Meyer argues that the play's theme is not women's rights, but rather "the need of every individual to find out the kind of person he or she really is and to strive to become that person." In a speech given to the Norwegian Women's Rights League in 1898, Ibsen insisted that he "must disclaim the honor of having consciously worked for the women's rights movement," since he wrote "without any conscious thought of making propaganda," his task having been "the description of humanity." The Swedish playwright August Strindberg attacked the play in his volume of short stories Getting Married (1884). UNESCO inscribed Ibsen's autographed manuscripts of A Doll's House on the Memory of the World Register in 2001, in recognition of their historical value. A Doll's House opens as Nora Helmer returns from Christmas shopping. Her
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    3 votes
    157
    Our Miss Gibbs

    Our Miss Gibbs

    Our Miss Gibbs is an Edwardian musical comedy in two acts by 'Cryptos' and James T. Tanner, with lyrics by Adrian Ross and Percy Greenbank, music by Ivan Caryll and Lionel Monckton. Produced by George Edwardes, it opened at the Gaiety Theatre in London on 23 January 1909 and ran for an extremely successful 636 performances. It starred Gertie Millar, Edmund Payne and George Grossmith, Jr. The young Gladys Cooper played the small role of Lady Connie. The show also had a short Broadway run in 1910. It was revived at the Finborough Theatre, London, in May 2006. This was the first professional London production since 1910. The piece was regularly revived by amateur theatre groups, particularly in Britain, from the 1920s into the 1950s but it has been produced only rarely since then. Our Miss Gibbs was revived by Lyric Theatre in July and August 2011 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts and the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, California. The revival featured a cast of 22 and a 9-piece orchestra. Mary Gibbs is a Yorkshire lass who, in 1908, has found work at Garrods in London as a shop girl, selling candy. The young men are making themselves ill eating the
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    3 votes
    158
    The Boy

    The Boy

    The Boy is a musical comedy with a book by Fred Thompson and Percy Greenbank (based on Arthur Wing Pinero's 1885 play, The Magistrate), music by Lionel Monckton and Howard Talbot and lyrics by Greenbank and Adrian Ross. It opened at the Adelphi Theatre in London on 14 September 1917, directed by Robert Courtneidge, under the management of Alfred Butt, and ran for 801 performances – one of the longest runs of any musical theatre piece up to that time. The musical was later later produced in Australia, starring Gladys Moncrieff. It was also adapted for Broadway as Good Morning, Judge in 1919, by the same creative team, at the Shubert Theatre, running for 140 performances and then touring successfully. Two songs by George Gershwin were added to the score, including "I am so Young," published as "I was so Young (You were so Young)." It starred George Hassell (as Mr. Meebles), Charles King (as Hughie), Mollie King (as Joy Chatterton) and Edward Martindel (as Col. Bagot). Although the piece was revived several times by amateur British groups in the 1930s, it has not been seen since then. During the gloomy days of World War I, audiences, including servicemen on leave, wanted light and
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    3 votes
    159
    The Good Person of Sezuan

    The Good Person of Sezuan

    • Characters: Shen Teh
    • Playwright: Bertolt Brecht
    The Good Person of Szechwan (German: Der gute Mensch von Sezuan, first translated less literally as The Good Woman of Szechwan) is a play written by the German theatre practitioner Bertolt Brecht, in collaboration with Margarete Steffin and Ruth Berlau. The play was begun in 1938 but not completed until 1943, while the author was in exile in the United States. It was first performed in 1943 at the Zürich Schauspielhaus in Switzerland, with a musical score and songs by Swiss composer Huldreich Georg Früh. Today, Paul Dessau's composition of the songs from 1947–48, also authorized by Brecht, is the better known version. The play is an example of Brecht's "non-Aristotelian drama", a dramatic form intended to be staged with the methods of epic theatre. The play is a parable set in the Chinese "city of Sichuan". Originally, Brecht planned to call the play The Product Love (Die Ware Liebe), meaning "love as a commodity". This title was a play on words, since the German term for "true love" (Die wahre Liebe) is pronounced equally. The play follows a young prostitute, Shen Te, as she struggles to lead a life that is "good" (according to the terms of the morality that is taught by the gods
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    3 votes
    160
    The Times They Are A-Changin'

    The Times They Are A-Changin'

    The Times They Are A-Changin' is a musical, conceived, directed and choreographed by Twyla Tharp. Mixing the theatre, dance and the musical stylings of Bob Dylan, Twyla Tharp tells a coming-of-age story that takes place inside a low-rent traveling circus found within a dark and humorous dream world. The musical debuted at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California on February 9, 2006 running through March 2006. It then premiered on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on October 26, 2006 and closed on November 19, 2006 after 28 performances and 35 previews. Tharp both directed and choreographed, with set and costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighting by Donald Holder. The cast featured John Selya, Michael Arden, Neil Haskell, Thom Sesma, and Lisa Brescia. It received mostly negative reviews. The New York Times review stated "But if the choreography at times defies gravity, the show itself may be the most earthbound work Ms. Tharp has produced. Even as the dancers seem to fly, Mr. Dylan’s lyrics are hammered, one by one, into the ground."
    6.00
    3 votes
    161
    Thomas Lord Cromwell

    Thomas Lord Cromwell

    • Country of origin: England
    Thomas Lord Cromwell is an Elizabethan history play, depicting the life of Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, the minister of King Henry VIII of England. The play was entered into the Stationers' Register on August 11, 1602, and was published in quarto later the same year by bookseller William Cotton. The title page of Q1 specifies that the play was acted by The Lord Chamberlain's Men, and attributes the play to a "W. S." A second quarto (Q2) was printed in 1613 by Thomas Snodham. The Q2 title page repeats the data of Q1, though the Lord Chamberlain's Men are now the King's Men (the name change having occurred in 1603). The "W. S." of the quartos was first identified as William Shakespeare when publisher Philip Chetwinde added the play to the second impression of his Shakespeare Third Folio in 1664. Modern scholars reject the Shakespearean attribution; speculation, relying on common initials, has shone on Wentworth Smith and William Sly as possible alternatives. Individual critics have also suggested Thomas Heywood and Michael Drayton as possible authors — suggestions unsupported by firm evidence. Indeed, scholars have disagreed about almost every aspect of the play; it has been
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    3 votes
    162
    We Will Rock You

    We Will Rock You

    • Characters: Galileo
    • Playwright: Ben Elton
    We Will Rock You (often abbreviated as WWRY) is a jukebox musical which based on the songs of Queen and named after their hit single of the same name. The musical was written by British comedian and author Ben Elton in collaboration with Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor. We Will Rock You takes place in a tongue-in-cheek dystopian future where originality and individualism are shunned, and a lone "Dreamer" appears who can fulfill a prophecy that will enable the return of rock 'n roll. Produced by Queen Theatrical Productions, Phil McIntyre Entertainment and Tribeca Theatrical Productions, the original London production had Christopher Renshaw as director, Arlene Phillips as choreographer, Mark Fisher as production designer, Willie Williams as lighting designer, Williams & Fisher as co-video directors, Tim Goodchild as costume designer and Bobby Aitken as sound designer. It opened in the West End at the Dominion Theatre on 14 May 2002, with Tony Vincent, Hannah Jane Fox, Sharon D. Clarke and Kerry Ellis in principal roles. Although the musical was at first panned by critics, it has become an audience favourite, becoming the longest-running musical at the Dominion Theatre,
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    3 votes
    163
    Metropolis

    Metropolis

    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    • Playwright: Dusty Hughes
    Metropolis is a musical based on the 1927 silent movie of the same name that was staged at the Piccadilly Theatre in London in 1989. The music was written by Joe Brooks, the lyrics by Dusty Hughes. The show was directed by Jerome Savary. The cast included Judy Kuhn, Brian Blessed, Graham Bickley, Jonathan Adams, Paul Keown and Stifyn Parri. After that time Joe Brooks worked with American Randy Bowser at editing the already finished musical. By 2002 they had created a more complete libretto to the show, and it was first produced at the Pentacle Theater in Salem, Oregon. Main changes between the silent film and the musical are name changes for many of the characters (Joh Fredersen = John Freeman, Freder Fredersen = Steven, Rotwang = Warner, Hel = Futura), slightly different religious themes, a completely different ending, and a larger focus on the children. The city of Metropolis - around the year 2000. The workers operate vast machines below the city and power the privileged lives of the upper class on the surface of the city. Workers are forbidden to read and to learn. They never see daylight. The city was built by John Freeman, who now runs it like a despot. His son, Steven, lives
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    4 votes
    164
    Hecuba

    Hecuba

    • Characters: Polydorus
    • Playwright: Euripides
    Hecuba (Ancient Greek: Ἑκάβη, Hēkabē) is a tragedy by Euripides written c. 424 BC. It takes place after the Trojan War, but before the Greeks have departed Troy (roughly the same time as The Trojan Women, another play by Euripides). The central figure is Hecuba, wife of King Priam, formerly Queen of the now-fallen city. It depicts Hecuba's grief over the death of her daughter Polyxena, and the revenge she takes for the murder of her youngest son Polydorus. In the play's unconventional opening, the ghost of Polydorus tells how when the war threatened Troy, he was sent to King Polymestor of Thrace for safekeeping, with gifts of gold and jewelry. But when Troy lost the war, Polymestor treacherously murdered Polydorus, and seized the treasure. Polydorus has foreknowledge of many of the play's events and haunted his mother's dreams the night before. At dawn, Hecuba mourns her great losses and worries about the portents of her nightmare. The Chorus of young slave women enters, bearing fateful news. One of Hecuba's last remaining daughters, Polyxena, is to be killed on the tomb of Achilles as a blood sacrifice to his honor (reflecting the sacrifice of Iphigenia at the start of the
    5.67
    3 votes
    165
    Love's Labour's Lost

    Love's Labour's Lost

    • Characters: Rosaline
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    Love's Labour's Lost is one of William Shakespeare's early comedies, believed to have been written in the mid-1590s, and first published in 1598. The play opens with the King of Navarre and three noble companions, Berowne, Dumaine, and Longaville, taking an oath to devote themselves to three years of study, promising not to give in to the company of women – Berowne somewhat more hesitantly than the others. Berowne reminds the king that the princess and her three ladies are coming to the kingdom and it would be suicidal for the King to agree to this law. The King denies what Berowne says, insisting that the ladies make their camp in the field outside of his court. The King and his men meet the princess and her ladies. Instantly, they all fall comically in love. The main story is assisted by many other humorous sub-plots. A rather heavy-accented Spanish swordsman, Don Adriano de Armado, tries and fails to woo a country wench, Jaquenetta, helped by Moth, his page, and rivalled by Costard, a country idiot. We are also introduced to two scholars, Holofernes and Sir Nathaniel, and we see them converse with each other in schoolboy Latin. In the final act, the comic characters perform a
    5.67
    3 votes
    166
    Richard III

    Richard III

    • Characters: Edward V of England
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    Richard III is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in approximately 1591. It depicts the Machiavellian rise to power and subsequent short reign of Richard III of England. The play is grouped among the histories in the First Folio and is most often classified as such. Occasionally, however, as in the quarto edition, it is termed a tragedy. Richard III concludes Shakespeare's first tetralogy (also containing Henry VI parts 1–3). After Hamlet, it is the longest play in the canon and is the longest of the First Folio, whose version of Hamlet is shorter than its Quarto counterpart. The play is rarely performed unabridged; often, certain peripheral characters are removed entirely. In such instances extra lines are often invented or added from elsewhere in the sequence to establish the nature of characters' relationships. A further reason for abridgment is that Shakespeare assumed that his audiences would be familiar with the Henry VI plays, and frequently made indirect references to events in them, such as Richard's murder of Henry VI or the defeat of Henry's queen Margaret. The play begins with Richard describing the accession to the throne of his
    5.67
    3 votes
    167
    Henry VIII

    Henry VIII

    • Characters: Catherine of Aragon
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    The Famous Hiſtory of the Life of King Henry the Eight is a history play by William Shakespeare and (allegedly) John Fletcher, based on the life of Henry VIII of England. An alternative title, All is True, is recorded in contemporary documents, the title Henry VIII not appearing until the play's publication in the First Folio of 1623. Stylistic evidence indicates that the play was written by Shakespeare in collaboration with, or revised by, his successor, John Fletcher. It is also somewhat characteristic of the late romances in its structure. It is noted for having more stage directions than any of Shakespeare's other plays. During a performance of Henry VIII at the Globe Theatre in 1613, a cannon shot employed for special effects ignited the theatre's thatched roof (and the beams), burning the original building to the ground. As usual in his history plays, Shakespeare relied primarily on Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles to achieve his dramatic ends and to accommodate official sensitivities over the materials involved. Shakespeare not only telescoped events that occurred over a span of two decades, but jumbled their actual order. The play implies, without stating it directly, that
    6.50
    2 votes
    168
    Jersey Boys

    Jersey Boys

    • Characters: Barry Belson
    • Playwright: Marshall Brickman
    Jersey Boys is a jukebox musical with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. It is a documentary-style musical, based on one of the most successful 1960s rock 'n roll groups, The Four Seasons. The musical opened on Broadway in 2005, and has since had a North American National Tour, along with productions in London's West End, Las Vegas, Chicago, Toronto, Melbourne, Sydney, Philadelphia, Auckland and currently in Brisbane. Jersey Boys won four 2006 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Jersey Boys premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse at University of California, San Diego, in an out-of-town tryout on October 5, 2004 and ran through January 16, 2005 The musical began previews on Broadway on October 4, 2005 and officially opened on November 6, 2005 at the August Wilson Theatre. The cast starred John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli, Christian Hoff as Tommy DeVito, Daniel Reichard as Bob Gaudio, and J. Robert Spencer as Nick Massi. The musical is directed by Des McAnuff, the then-artistic director at La Jolla Playhouse, with choreography by Sergio Trujillo. It uses many of the group's hit songs to tell the turbulent story of Frankie Valli and
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    2 votes
    169
    La Tosca

    La Tosca

    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Victorien Sardou
    La Tosca is a five-act drama by the 19th-century French playwright Victorien Sardou. It was first performed on 24 November 1887 at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin in Paris, with Sarah Bernhardt in the title role. Despite negative reviews from the Paris critics at the opening night, it became one of Sardou's most successful plays and was toured by Bernhardt throughout the world in the years following its premiere. The play itself is no longer performed, but its operatic adaptation, Giacomo Puccini's Tosca, has achieved enduring popularity. There have been several other adaptations of the play including two for the Japanese theatre and an English burlesque, Tra-La-La Tosca (all of which premiered in the 1890s) as well as several film versions. La Tosca is set in Rome on 17 June 1800 following the French victory in the Battle of Marengo. The action takes place over an eighteen-hour period, ending at dawn on 18 June 1800. Its melodramatic plot centers on Floria Tosca, a celebrated opera singer; her lover, Mario Cavaradossi, an artist and Bonapartist sympathiser; and Baron Scarpia, Rome's ruthless Regent of Police. By the end of the play, all three are dead. Scarpia arrests
    6.50
    2 votes
    170
    Orestes

    Orestes

    • Characters: Orestes
    • Playwright: Euripides
    Orestes (Ancient Greek: Ὀρέστης, Orestēs) (408 BCE) is an Ancient Greek play by Euripides that follows the events of Orestes after he had murdered his mother. In accordance with the advice of the god Apollo, Orestes has killed his mother Clytemnestra to avenge the death of his father Agamemnon at her hands. Despite Apollo’s earlier prophecy, Orestes finds himself tormented by Erinyes or Furies to the blood guilt stemming from his matricide. The only person capable of calming Orestes down from his madness is his sister Electra. To complicate matters further, a leading political faction of Argos wants to put Orestes to death for the murder. Orestes’ only hope to save his life lies in his uncle Menelaus, who has returned with Helen after spending ten years in Troy and several more years amassing wealth in Egypt. In the chronology of events following Orestes, this play takes place after the events contained in plays such as Electra by Euripides or The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus, and before events contained in plays like The Eumenides by Aeschylus and Andromache by Euripides. The play begins with a soliloquy that outlines the basic plot and events that have led up to this point from
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    2 votes
    171
    The Cingalee

    The Cingalee

    • Playwright: James T. Tanner
    The Cingalee, or Sunny Ceylon is a musical play in two acts by James T. Tanner, with music by Lionel Monckton, lyrics by Adrian Ross and Percy Greenbank, and additional material by Paul Rubens. It opened at Daly's Theatre in London, managed by George Edwardes, on March 5, 1904 and ran until March 11, 1905 for a total of 365 (another source giving 391) performances. The musical had a short Broadway run, opening at the Original Daly's Theatre in New York on October 24, 1904 and running for 33 performances. The Cingalee is set in Ceylon and concerns colonial tea planters (one of the most popular songs in the score is called simply "Tea, tea, tea"!) in an era before this island paradise became the more troubled Sri Lanka. It was given a showy production and was a success in London. The fashion there for shows set in Asian locales had been started by The Mikado and continued by The Geisha, San Toy, The Nautch Girl, A Chinese Honeymoon and others. There is little in the music to give The Cingalee an Eastern flavour. However, Monckton's catchy sextet, "The Island of Gay Ceylon" and "Pearl of Sweet Ceylon" and Ruben's "White and Brown Girl", "Sloe Eyes", "Monkeys" and "You and I" are
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    2 votes
    172
    Mamma Mia!

    Mamma Mia!

    • Characters: Donna
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: Catherine Johnson
    Mamma Mia! is a stage musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of the band. The title of the musical is taken from the group's 1975 chart-topper "Mamma Mia". Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, who composed the original music for ABBA, were involved in the development of the show from the beginning. Anni-Frid Lyngstad has been involved financially in the production and she has also been present at many of the premieres around the world. The musical includes such hits as "Super Trouper", "Lay All Your Love On Me", "Dancing Queen", "Knowing Me, Knowing You", "Take A Chance On Me", "Thank You for the Music", "Money, Money, Money", "The Winner Takes It All", "Voulez Vous" and "SOS". Over 42 million people have seen the show, which has grossed $2 billion dollars worldwide since its 1999 debut. A film adaptation starring Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski and Julie Walters was released in July 2008. Mamma Mia! is based on the songs of ABBA. ABBA was a Swedish pop/dance group active from 1972–1982 and was one of the most internationally
    7.00
    1 votes
    173
    The White Chrysanthemum

    The White Chrysanthemum

    The White Chrysanthemum is an English musical in three acts by Arthur Anderson and Leedham Bantock, with lyrics by Anderson and music by Howard Talbot). It opened at the Criterion Theatre, produced by Frank Curzon, on 31 August 1905 and ran for 179 performances, closing on 10 February 1906. The Japanese-themed musical starred Isabel Jay, Rutland Barrington, Lawrence Grossmith (a son of George Grossmith), and Henry Lytton. Louie Pounds later joined the cast. The musical enjoyed various international productions including one at the Kings Theatre in Melbourne, Australia in 1917 starring Barry Lupino. Sybil Cunningham loves Reggie Armitage of the Royal Navy. She has followed him from England to Japan partly to escape an unpleasant engagement in London. They have asked his father's consent to their marriage, and in the meantime, he has arranged for a modest house for her to stay in. His father the admiral, however, has decided that Reggie must marry a wealthy but vivacious American, Cornelia Vanderdecken. Sybil disguises herself as a Japanese girl and hides from Cornelia, and Reggie's friend, Chippy helps her keep up the pretense. But Sybil is distressed to see Reggie with Cornelia and
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    1 votes
    174
    Henceforward...

    Henceforward...

    • Playwright: Alan Ayckbourn
    The play Henceforward... is the first comedy in which Alan Ayckbourn includes elements of science fiction. It concerns Jerome, a composer, who develops a plan to persuade his estranged wife Corinna that his home life is sufficiently stable for her to allow their daughter to stay with him. The plan involves both an actress and a gynoid (the female equivalent of an android). Henceforward... was Ayckbourn's thirty-fourth full-length play. It was first performed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough in 1987. It received its West End premiere at the Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue in October 1988 where Jerome was played by Ian McKellen, (who was knighted in 1990, becoming Sir Ian McKellen). Corinna was played by Jane Asher. This production won the 1989 Best Comedy category at the Evening Standard Awards for London theatre. NAN 300F is played in act 1 by the actress who plays Corinna in act 2, and in act 2 by the actress who plays Zoe in act 1. The play is in two acts, the first of which has two scenes. It is set in London, England, in the future but "sometime quite soon". It is a bleak future where law and order has broken down in at least some parts of the city, and social
    5.33
    3 votes
    175
    Mercury Fur

    Mercury Fur

    • Playwright: Philip Ridley
    Mercury Fur is the fifth adult stage play by Philip Ridley and his most controversial to date. It was premiered at the Plymouth Theatre Royal, transferring to the Menier Chocolate Factory in London, in 2005. It was directed by John Tiffany as part of the Paines Plough and Theatre Royal, Plymouth in the This Other England Season of new writing. The part of Elliot was played by Ben Whishaw, who had shot to fame the previous year as the youngest modern Hamlet in Trevor Nunn's production at the Old Vic Theatre, London. Mercury Fur is set in a post-apocalyptic version of London's East End, where terror, gangs, violence and drugs in the form of butterflies rule. The protagonists are a gang of youths, surviving by their wits. They deal the butterflies, engaging in trade with objects from places like the British Museum, looted by their butterfly-addicted customers. But their main source of 'income' is holding parties for wealthy clients, in which their wildest fantasies are brought to life. In the non-stop two hours of the play, the party in question revolves around the murder of a child with a meat hook, staged in a Vietnam-style fantasy of the Party Guest. The gang ultimately have to
    5.33
    3 votes
    176
    The Octoroon

    The Octoroon

    • Country of origin: United States of America
    • Playwright: Dion Boucicault
    The Octoroon is a play by Dion Boucicault, which opened in 1859 at The Winter Garden Theatre. Boucicault adapted the play from the novel The Quadroon by Thomas Mayne Reid (1856). It concerns the residents of a Louisiana plantation called Terrebonne. The play was very popular in its day, and sparked debates about abolition and the role of theatre in politics. It contains elements of Romanticism and melodrama. The word octoroon means one eighth black. Half black is a mulatto, a quarter black is a quadroon. The Oxford English Dictionary cites The Octoroon with the earliest record of the word mashup with the quote: "He don't understand; he speaks a mash up of Indian, French, and Mexican." [Boucicault's manuscript actually reads "Indian, French and 'Merican." The last word, an important colloquialism, was misread by the typesetter of the play.] George, the nephew of plantation owner Mrs. Peyton, returns from a trip to France to find that his aunt's plantation is in dire financial straits as a result of his late uncle's beneficence. Jacob McClosky, the man who ruined the late Judge Peyton, has come to inform them that their plantation will be sold and their slaves auctioned off
    5.33
    3 votes
    177
    The Oresteia

    The Oresteia

    • Characters: Agamemnon
    • Playwright: Aeschylus
    The Oresteia (Ancient Greek: Ὀρέστεια) is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus which concerns the end of the curse on the House of Atreus. When originally performed it was accompanied by Proteus, a satyr play that would have been performed following the trilogy; it has not survived. The term "Oresteia" originally probably referred to all four plays, but today is generally used to designate only the surviving trilogy. "The individual plays probably did not originally have titles of their own" The only surviving example of a trilogy of ancient Greek plays, the Oresteia was originally performed at the Dionysia festival in Athens in 458 BC, where it won first prize. A principal theme of the trilogy is the shift from the practice of personal vendetta to a system of litigation. The name derives from the character Orestes, who sets out to avenge his father after his mother's affair with Aegisthus. The play Agamemnon (Ἀγαμέμνων, Agamemnōn) details the homecoming of Agamemnon, King of Argos, from the Trojan War. Waiting at home for him is his wife, Clytemnestra, who has been planning his murder, partly as revenge for the sacrifice of their daughter, Iphigenia, and partly
    4.50
    4 votes
    178
    The Unexpected Man

    The Unexpected Man

    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Yasmina Reza
    The Unexpected Man (French: L'homme du hasard) is a play written in 1995 by Yasmina Reza. Reza is best known in the English speaking world as the author of 'Art'. A man and a woman sit opposite each other in the detached intimacy of a train compartment on a journey from Paris to Frankfurt. He is a world famous author, she carries his latest novel in her bag and ponders the dilemma of reading it in front of him.... As both the woman and man ponder their situation in the compartment they bring past events and philosophies up in separate monologues. Finally in the ending of the play, they speak conversationally, and in the last line of the show the woman calls the author by his name, the one thing she was so afraid to find out, if he was like how she envisioned.
    4.50
    4 votes
    179
    Achilles

    Achilles

    The Achilleis (after the Ancient Greek Ἀχιλληΐς, Achillēis, pronounced [akʰillɛːís]) is a lost trilogy by the Athenian dramatist Aeschylus. The three plays that make up the Achilleis exist today only in fragments, but aspects of their overall content can be reconstructed with reasonable certainty. Like the Oresteia which forms "a narratively connected unit with a continuous plot," the trilogy had a unified focus, presumably treating the story of Achilles at Troy in a version comparable to plot of the latter two-thirds of the Iliad. In the Myrmidons (Μυρμιδόνες, Myrmidónes), Achilles' refusal to fight after his quarrel with Agamemnon led to the death of Patroclus. The title of the play traditionally placed second in the trilogy is the Nereids (Νηρείδες, Nēreídes). The chorus was thus a group of Nereids, and the subject of the play involved Achilles and his Nereid mother Thetis, probably her mourning his imminent death and the acquisition of his new arms. In the Phrygians (Φρύγες, Phrýges) or Ransom of Hector (Ἕκτορος λύτρα, Héktoros lútra), Priam and a chorus of Phrygians sought to retrieve Hector's body from the still wroth Achilles. Neither the trilogy's title Achilleis nor the
    6.00
    2 votes
    180
    An Inspector Calls

    An Inspector Calls

    • Characters: Mr. Arthur Birling
    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    • Playwright: John Boynton Priestley
    An Inspector Calls is a play written by English dramatist J. B. Priestley, first performed in 1945 in the Soviet Union and 1946 in the UK. It is one of Priestley's best known works for the stage and considered to be one of the classics of mid-20th century English theatre. The play's success and reputation has been boosted in recent years by a successful revival by English director Stephen Daldry for the National Theatre in 1992., and a tour of the UK in 2011-2012. The play is a three-act drama, which takes place on a single night in 1912, focusing on the prosperous middle-class Birling family, who live in a comfortable home in Brumley, "an industrial city in the north Midlands". The family is visited by a man calling himself Inspector Goole, who questions the family about the suicide of a young working-class woman, Eva Smith (also known as Daisy Renton). The family are interrogated and revealed to have been responsible for the young woman's exploitation, abandonment and social ruin, effectively leading to her death. Long considered part of the repertory of classic “drawing room” theatre, the play has also been hailed as a scathing critique of the hypocrisies of Victorian/Edwardian
    6.00
    2 votes
    181
    Billy Elliot the Musical

    Billy Elliot the Musical

    • Characters: Billy Elliot
    • Country of origin: Kingdom of Great Britain
    • Playwright: Lee Hall
    Billy Elliot the Musical is a musical based on the 2000 film Billy Elliot. The music is by Elton John, and book and lyrics are by Lee Hall, who wrote the film's screenplay. The plot revolves around motherless Billy, who trades boxing gloves for ballet shoes. The story of his personal struggle and fulfillment are balanced against a counter-story of family and community strife caused by the UK miners' strike (1984–1985) in County Durham, in North Eastern England. Hall's screenplay was inspired in part by A. J. Cronin's 1935 novel, The Stars Look Down about an earlier miners' strike, to which the musical's opening song pays homage. The musical premiered in London's West End in 2005 and was nominated for nine Laurence Olivier Awards, winning four including Best New Musical. The production is still running strongly, and its success led to productions in Australia, on Broadway and elsewhere. In New York, it won ten Tony Awards and ten Drama Desk Awards, including, in each case, best musical. It has also won numerous awards in Australia including a record-tying seven Helpmann Awards. The musical was planned to premiere at the Tyne Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. This was
    6.00
    2 votes
    182
    Dom Juan

    Dom Juan

    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Molière
    Dom Juan or The Feast with the Statue (Dom Juan ou le Festin de pierre) is a French play by Molière, based on the legend of Don Juan. Molière's characters Dom Juan and Sganarelle are the French counterparts to the Spanish Don Juan and Catalinón, characters who would later become familiar to opera goers as Don Giovanni and Leporello. "Dom Juan" is the last part in Molière's hypocrisy trilogy, which also includes The School for Wives and Tartuffe. It was first performed on February 15, 1660, in the Palais-Royal, with Molière playing the role of Sganarelle. The play's title and the name of the main character are often translated as "Don Juan". The play was originally written in prose, and was withdrawn after 15 performances after attacks by Molière's critics, who considered he was offending religion and the king by eulogizing a libertine. The play was a costly failure. Sganarelle, Dom Juan's valet, is the only character who speaks up for religion, but his particular brand of superstitious Catholicism is used more as a comic device than as a foil to his master's free-thinking. As a result, Molière was ordered to delete a certain number of scenes and lines which, according to his
    6.00
    2 votes
    183
    Othello

    Othello

    • Characters: Othello
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in approximately 1603, and based on the Italian short story Un Capitano Moro ("A Moorish Captain") by Cinthio, a disciple of Boccaccio, first published in 1565. The work revolves around four central characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army; his wife, Desdemona; his lieutenant, Cassio; and his trusted ensign, Iago. Because of its varied and current themes of racism, love, jealousy, and betrayal, Othello is still often performed in professional and community theatres alike and has been the basis for numerous operatic, film, and literary adaptations. The play opens with Roderigo, a rich and dissolute gentleman, complaining to Iago, a high-ranking soldier, that Iago has not told him about the secret marriage between Desdemona, the daughter of a Senator named Brabantio, and Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army. He is upset by this development because he loves Desdemona and had previously asked her father for her hand in marriage. Iago hates Othello for promoting a younger man named Michael Cassio above him, and tells Roderigo that he plans to use
    6.00
    2 votes
    184
    Peer Gynt

    Peer Gynt

    • Characters: Peer Gynt
    • Country of origin: Norway
    • Playwright: Henrik Ibsen
    Peer Gynt (/ˈpɪər ˈɡɪnt/; Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈpeːr ˈɡʏnt]) is a five-act play in verse by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen, loosely based on the fairy tale Per Gynt. Written in the Dano-Norwegian language, it is the most widely performed Norwegian play. According to Klaus Van Den Berg, the "cinematic script blends poetry with social satire and realistic scenes with surreal ones". Peer Gynt has also been described as the story of a life based on procrastination and avoidance. A first edition of 1,250 copies was published on 14 November 1867 in Copenhagen. Although the first edition swiftly sold out, a re-print of 2,000 copies, which followed after only 14 days, didn't sell out until seven years later. While Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson admired the play's "satire in Norwegian egotism, narrowness, and self-sufficiency" and described it as "magnificent", Hans Christian Andersen, Georg Brandes and Clemens Petersen all joined a widespread hostility. Enraged by Petersen's criticisms in particular, Ibsen defended his work by arguing that it "is poetry; and if it isn't, it will become such. The conception of poetry in our country, in Norway, shall shape itself according to this book."
    6.00
    2 votes
    185
    Peggy

    Peggy

    Peggy is a musical comedy in two acts, written by British composer Leslie Stuart, with a book by George Grossmith, Jr. and lyrics by C. H. Bovill, based on Xanroff and Guérin's L'Amorçage. It opened at the Gaiety Theatre under the management of George Edwardes, on 4 March 1911 and ran for 270 performances, starring Grossmith, Edmund Payne, Phyllis Dare and Gabrielle Ray in the title role. Ray left the production early in the run, to be replaced by Gladys Guy. When the popularity of the show began to wane, Edwardes had a new role written for Connie Ediss. The show also had a run in New York. Songs included "Friville", "The Lass with the Lasso", "Three Little Pebbles" and "Ladies, Beware! (When the Lights are low)". Critics praised Stuart's score but observed that the plot of the piece was thin. But they concluded that this did not matter: In a luxurious lounge at the New Hotel, London, the lovely Peggy Barrison heads a dainty band of manicurists, and Albert Umbles, a charming hairdresser, is an immense favourite with the ladies. Peggy finds herself hopelessly smitten with him, and he is also in love with her. They are engaged to be married, much to the consternation of the
    6.00
    2 votes
    186
    Quad

    Quad

    • Playwright: Samuel Beckett
    Quad is a television play by Samuel Beckett, written and first produced and broadcast in 1981. It first appeared in print in 1984 (Faber and Faber) where the work is described as “[a] piece for four players, light and percussion” and has also been called a “ballet for four people.” It consists of four actors dressed in robes, hunched and silently walking around and diagonally across a square stage in fixed patterns, alternately entering and exiting. Each actor wears a distinct colored robe (white, red, blue, yellow), and is accompanied by a distinct percussion instrument (leitmotif). The actors walk in sync (except when entering or exiting), always on one of four rotationally symmetric paths (e.g., when one actor is at a corner, so are all others; when one actor crosses the stage, all do so together, etc.), and never touch – when walking around the stage, they move in the same direction, while when crossing the stage diagonally, where they would touch in the middle, they avoid the center area (walking clockwise around it). In the original production, the play was first performed once, and then, after a pause, an abbreviated version is performed a second time, this time in black and
    6.00
    2 votes
    187
    The Glass Menagerie

    The Glass Menagerie

    • Characters: Amanda Wingfield
    • Country of origin: United States of America
    • Playwright: Tennessee Williams
    The Glass Menagerie is a four-character memory play by Tennessee Williams. Williams worked on various drafts of the play prior to writing a version of it as a screenplay for MGM, to whom Williams was contracted. Initial ideas stemmed from one of his short stories, and the screenplay originally went under the name of 'The Gentleman Caller' (Williams envisioned Ethel Barrymore and Judy Garland for the roles that eventually became Amanda and Laura Wingfield although Louis B. Mayer insisted on casting Greer Garson as Laura). The play premiered in Chicago in 1944. It was championed by Chicago critics Ashton Stevens and Claudia Cassidy whose enthusiasm helped build audiences so the producers could move the play to Broadway where it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1945. Laurette Taylor originated the role of the all-too-loving mother, Amanda Wingfield. In the 2004 documentary Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There, Broadway veterans nearly unanimously rank Taylor's performance as the most memorable of their entire lives. The Glass Menagerie was Williams's first successful play; he went on to become one of America's most highly regarded playwrights. The play
    6.00
    2 votes
    188
    Timon of Athens

    Timon of Athens

    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    The Life of Timon of Athens is a play by William Shakespeare about the fortunes of an Athenian named Timon (and probably influenced by the philosopher of the same name, as well), generally regarded as one of his most obscure and difficult works. Originally grouped with the tragedies, it is generally considered such, but some scholars group it with the problem plays. Timon is not initially a misanthrope. He is a wealthy and generous Athenian gentleman. He gives a large banquet, attended by nearly all the main characters. Timon gives away money wastefully, and everyone wants to please him to get more, except for Apemantus, a churlish philosopher whose cynicism Timon cannot yet appreciate. He accepts art from Poet and Painter, and a jewel from the Jeweller, but by the end of Act 1, he has given that away to another friend. Timon's servant, Lucilius, has been wooing the daughter of an old Athenian. The man is angry, but Timon pays him three talents in exchange for the couple being allowed to marry, because the happiness of his servant is worth the price. Timon is told that his friend, Ventidius, is in debtors' prison. He sends money to pay Ventidius's debt, and Ventidius is released
    6.00
    2 votes
    189
    Iphigeneia in Tauris

    Iphigeneia in Tauris

    • Characters: Iphigeneia
    • Playwright: Euripides
    Iphigenia in Tauris (Ancient Greek: Ἰφιγένεια ἐν Ταύροις, Iphigeneia en Taurois) is a drama by the playwright Euripides, written between 414 BC and 412 BC. It has much in common with another of Euripides's plays, Helen, as well as the lost play Andromeda, and is often described as a romance, a melodrama, a tragi-comedy or an escape play. Years before the time period covered by the play, the young princess Iphigeneia narrowly avoided death by sacrifice at the hands of her father, Agamemnon. (See plot of Iphigeneia at Aulis.) At the last moment the goddess Artemis, to whom the sacrifice was to be made, intervened and replaced Iphigeneia on the altar with a deer, saving the girl and sweeping her off to Tauris. She has since been made a priestess at the temple of Artemis in Tauris, a position in which she has the gruesome task of ritually sacrificing foreigners who land on King Thoas's shores. Iphigeneia hates her forced religious servitude and is desperate to contact her family in Greece. She wants to inform them that, thanks to the miraculous swap performed by Artemis, she is still alive and wants to return to her homeland, leaving the role of high priestess to someone else.
    5.00
    3 votes
    190
    Coriolanus

    Coriolanus

    • Characters: Caius Marcius Coriolanus
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    Coriolanus (pronounced [korioˈlaːnus]) is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1605 and 1608. The play is based on the life of the legendary Roman leader Caius Marcius Coriolanus. The play opens in Rome shortly after the expulsion of the Tarquin kings. There are riots in progress, after stores of grain were withheld from ordinary citizens. The rioters are particularly angry at Caius Martius, a brilliant Roman general whom they blame for the grain being taken away. The rioters encounter a patrician named Menenius Agrippa, as well as Caius Martius himself. Menenius tries to calm the rioters, while Martius is openly contemptuous, and says that the plebeians were not worthy of the grain because of their lack of military service. Two of the tribunes of Rome, Brutus and Sicinius, privately denounce Martius. He leaves Rome after news arrives that a Volscian army is in the field. The commander of the Volscian army, Tullus Aufidius, has fought Martius on several occasions and considers him a blood enemy. The Roman army is commanded by Cominius, with Martius as his deputy. While Cominius takes his soldiers to meet Aufidius' army, Martius leads a rally
    5.50
    2 votes
    191
    Prometheus Unbound

    Prometheus Unbound

    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    Prometheus Unbound is a four-act lyrical drama by Percy Bysshe Shelley first published in 1820, concerned with the torments of the Greek mythological figure Prometheus and his suffering at the hands of Zeus. It is inspired by the classical Prometheia, a trilogy of plays attributed to Aeschylus in Antiquity. Shelley's play concerns Prometheus' release from captivity, but unlike Aeschylus' version, there is no reconciliation between Prometheus and Jupiter (Zeus). Instead, Jupiter is overthrown, which allows Prometheus to be released. Shelley's play is closet drama, meaning it was not intended to be produced on the stage. In the tradition of Romantic poetry, Shelley wrote for the imagination, intending his play's stage to reside in the imaginations of his readers. However, the play is filled with suspense, mystery and other dramatic effects that make it, in theory, performable. Mary Shelley, in a letter on 5 September 1818, was the first to describe her husband Percy Shelley's writing of Prometheus Unbound. On 22 September 1818, Shelley, while in Padua, wrote to Mary, who was at Este, requesting "The sheets of 'Prometheus Unbound,' which you will find numbered from one to twenty-six
    5.50
    2 votes
    192
    The Spanish Tragedy

    The Spanish Tragedy

    • Characters: Bel-imperia
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: Thomas Kyd
    The Spanish Tragedy, or Hieronimo is Mad Again is an Elizabethan tragedy written by Thomas Kyd between 1582 and 1592. Highly popular and influential in its time, The Spanish Tragedy established a new genre in English theatre, the revenge play or revenge tragedy. Its plot contains several violent murders and includes as one of its characters a personification of Revenge. The Spanish Tragedy was often referred to (or parodied) in works written by other Elizabethan playwrights, including William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and Christopher Marlowe. Many elements of The Spanish Tragedy, such as the play-within-a-play used to trap a murderer and a ghost intent on vengeance, appear in Shakespeare's Hamlet. (Thomas Kyd is frequently proposed as the author of the hypothetical Ur-Hamlet that may have been one of Shakespeare's primary sources for Hamlet.) In the Introduction to his play Bartholomew Fair (1614), Ben Jonson alludes to The Spanish Tragedy as being "five and twenty or thirty years" old. If taken literally, this would yield a date range of 1584–89 — a range that agrees with what else is known about the play. Some critics, noting that the play makes no reference to the Spanish Armada
    5.50
    2 votes
    193
    Thesmophoriazusae

    Thesmophoriazusae

    • Playwright: Aristophanes
    Thesmophoriazusae (Θεσμοφοριάζουσαι, Thesmophoriazousai; meaning Women Celebrating the Festival of the Thesmophoria, sometimes also called The Poet and the Women) is one of eleven surviving plays by the master of Old Comedy, the Athenian playwright Aristophanes. It was first produced in 411 BC, probably at the City Dionysia. How it fared in that festival's drama competition is unknown but it is now considered one of Aristophanes' most brilliant parodies of Athenian society, with a particular focus on the subversive role of women in a male-dominated society, the vanity of contemporary poets, such as the tragic playwrights Euripides and Agathon, and the shameless, enterprising vulgarity of an ordinary Athenian, as represented in this play by the protagonist, Mnesilochus. The play is also notable for Aristophanes' free adaptation of key structural elements of Old Comedy and for the absence of the anti-populist and anti-war comments that pepper his earlier work. It was produced in the same year as Lysistrata, another play with a sexual theme. This bold statement by Euripides is the absurd premise upon which the whole play depends. The women are incensed by his plays' portrayal of the
    5.50
    2 votes
    194
    Me and Juliet

    Me and Juliet

    • Playwright: Oscar Hammerstein II
    Me and Juliet is a musical comedy by Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics and book) and their sixth stage collaboration. The work tells a story of romance backstage at a long-running musical: assistant stage manager Larry woos chorus girl Jeanie behind the back of her electrician boyfriend, Bob. Me and Juliet premiered in 1953 and was not considered a success, although it ran for much of a year on Broadway and returned a small profit to its backers. The show received no Tony Award nominations. Rodgers had long wanted to write a musical comedy about the cast and crew backstage at a theatre. After Rodgers and Hammerstein had another hit with The King and I, Rodgers proposed the backstage project to his partner. Hammerstein was unenthusiastic, thinking the subject matter trivial, but agreed to do the project. The play required complex machinery, designed by Jo Mielziner, so that the audience could view action not only on the stage of the theatre where the show-within-the-show (also named Me and Juliet) takes place, but in the wings and on the light bridge (high above the stage, from which the lighting technicians train spotlights) as well. When Me and Juliet began
    4.67
    3 votes
    195
    An Artist's Model

    An Artist's Model

    • Playwright: Owen Hall
    An Artist's Model is a two-act musical by Owen Hall, with lyrics by Harry Greenbank and music by Sidney Jones, with additional songs by Joseph and Mary Watson, Paul Lincke, Frederick Ross, Henry Hamilton and Leopold Wenzel. It opened at Daly's Theatre in London, produced by George Edwardes and directed by James T. Tanner, on 2 February 1895, transferring to the Lyric Theatre on 28 May 1895, and ran for a total of 392 performances. The piece starred Marie Tempest (and later Florence Perry) in the title role, Hayden Coffin, Letty Lind, Leonora Braham, Eric Lewis, Maurice Farkoa, Marie Studholme, and Louie Pounds. It also had a Broadway run in 1895-96. The success of A Gaiety Girl in 1893, the first musical by the team of Hall, Greenbank and Jones (followed by another such success, The Shop Girl in 1894), had confirmed to Edwardes that he was on the right track. He immediately set the team to work on An Artist's Model. Edwardes wanted his Daly's Theatre musicals to be slightly more sophisticated than his light and simple Gaiety Theatre musicals. Hall's new book kept the snappy dialogue of the previous work, but paired it with a romantic plot, tacked on at the last minute when Edwardes
    6.00
    1 votes
    196
    Harlequinade

    Harlequinade

    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    Harlequinade is a comic theatrical genre, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "that part of a pantomime in which the harlequin and clown play the principal parts". It developed in England between the 17th and mid-19th centuries. It was originally a slapstick adaptation or variant of the Commedia dell'arte, which originated in Italy and reached its apogee there in the 16th and 17th centuries. The story of the Harlequinade revolves around a comic incident in the lives of its five main characters: Harlequin, who loves Columbine; Columbine's greedy father Pantaloon, who tries to separate the lovers in league with the mischievous Clown; and the servant, Pierrot, often involving a chase scene with a policeman. Originally a mime (silent) act with music and stylised dance, the harlequinade later employed some dialogue, but it remained primarily a visual spectacle. Early in its development, it achieved great popularity as the comic closing part of a longer evening of entertainment, following a more serious presentation with operatic and balletic elements. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was presented with increasingly elaborate stage effects as the closing part of pantomimes. A
    6.00
    1 votes
    197
    Lysistrata

    Lysistrata

    • Characters: Myrrhine
    • Playwright: Aristophanes
    Lysistrata (/laɪˈsɪstrətə/ or /ˌlɪsəˈstrɑːtə/; Attic Greek: Λυσιστράτη, "Army-disbander") is one of the few surviving plays written by Aristophanes. Originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BCE, it is a comic account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end The Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace — a strategy, however, that inflames the battle between the sexes. The play is notable for being an early exposé of sexual relations in a male-dominated society. The dramatic structure represents a shift away from the conventions of Old Comedy, a trend typical of the author's career. It was produced in the same year as Thesmophoriazusae, another play with a focus on gender-based issues, just two years after Athens' catastrophic defeat in the Sicilian Expedition. These lines, spoken by Lysistrata and her friend Calonice at the beginning of the play, set the scene for the action that follows. Women, as represented by Calonice, are sly hedonists in need of firm guidance and direction. Lysistrata however is an extraordinary woman with a large sense of
    6.00
    1 votes
    198
    Saint Joan

    Saint Joan

    • Characters: La Tremouille
    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    • Playwright: George Bernard Shaw
    Saint Joan is a play by George Bernard Shaw, based on the life and trial of Joan of Arc. Published not long after the canonization of Joan of Arc by the Roman Catholic Church, the play dramatises what is known of her life based on the substantial records of her trial. Shaw studied the transcripts and decided that the concerned people acted in good faith according to their beliefs. He wrote in his preface to the play: There are no villains in the piece. Crime, like disease, is not interesting: it is something to be done away with by general consent, and that is all [there is] about it. It is what men do at their best, with good intentions, and what normal men and women find that they must and will do in spite of their intentions, that really concern us. Michael Holroyd has characterised the play as "a tragedy without villains" and also as Shaw's "only tragedy". John Fielden has discussed further the appropriateness of characterising Saint Joan as a tragedy. Shaw characterised Saint Joan as "A Chronicle Play in 6 Scenes and an Epilogue". Joan, a simple peasant girl, hears voices which she claims to be those of Saint Margaret, Saint Catherine, and the archangel Michael, sent by God to
    6.00
    1 votes
    199
    The Balcony

    The Balcony

    • Characters: Chantal
    • Playwright: Jean Genet
    The Balcony (French: Le Balcon) is a play by the French dramatist Jean Genet. Set in an unnamed city that is experiencing a revolutionary uprising in the streets, most of the action takes place in an upmarket brothel that functions as a microcosm of the regime of the establishment under threat outside. Since Peter Zadek directed its first production at the Arts Theatre Club in London in 1957, the play has been revived frequently (in various versions) and has attracted many prominent directors, including Peter Brook, Erwin Piscator, Roger Blin, Giorgio Strehler, and JoAnne Akalaitis. It has also been adapted as a film and given operatic treatment. The play's dramatic structure integrates Genet's concern with meta-theatricality and role-playing and consists of two central strands: a political conflict between revolution and counter-revolution and a philosophical one between reality and illusion. Genet suggested that the play should be performed as a "glorification of the Image and the Reflection." Genet's biographer Edmund White wrote that with The Balcony, along with The Blacks (1959), Genet re-invented modern theatre. The psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan described the play as the
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    200
    The Circus Girl

    The Circus Girl

    • Playwright: James T. Tanner
    The Circus Girl is a musical comedy in two acts by James T. Tanner and Walter Apllant (Palings), with lyrics by Harry Greenbank and Adrian Ross, music by Ivan Caryll, and additional music by Lionel Monckton. The musical was produced at George Edwardes's, Gaiety Theatre, beginning 5 December 1896, and ran for a very successful 497 performances. It also had a successful New York run at two theatres for a total of 172 performances. It starred Seymour Hicks as Dick Capel and his wife Ellaline Terriss as Dora Wemyss. Edmund Payne and Arthur Williams also appeared. Nancy McIntosh played La Favorita in the New York production in 1897. Set in Paris, the plot concerns a group of English tourists who get mixed up with a circus troupe. Two of the famous songs from the show are "A Little Bit of String" and "The Way to Treat a Lady". Ellaline Terriss wrote:
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    1 votes
    201
    The Melting Pot

    The Melting Pot

    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    The Melting Pot is a play by Israel Zangwill, first staged in 1908. It depicts the life of a Russian-Jewish immigrant family, the Quixanos. David Quixano has survived a pogrom, which killed his mother and sister, and he wishes to forget this horrible event. He composes an "American Symphony" and wants to look forward to a society free of ethnic divisions and hatred, rather than backward at his traumatic past. The hero of the play proclaims : "America is God's Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming... Germans and Frenchmen, Irishmen and Englishmen, Jews and Russians - into the Crucible with you all! God is making the American."' Some critics of the play have taken issue with David's apparent willingness to give up his ties to Judaism in order to become "American." Although the idea of "melting" as a metaphor for ethnic assimilation had been used before, Zangwill's play popularized the term "melting pot" as a symbol for this occurrence in American society. The Melting Pot opened at the Comedy Theatre in New York on September 6, 1909, and ran for 136 performances. It was produced by Liebler & Co. and staged (directed) by Hugh Ford.
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    1 votes
    202
    The State of Innocence

    The State of Innocence

    The State of Innocence was intended to be performed as an opera, with the libretto written in 1674, (first published in 1677) by John Dryden. It is basically a musical stage adaptation of John Milton's epic poem Paradise lost, a tribute to Milton rather than a satire of the poem. That Dryden was an admirer of Milton's is surprising as the two men were politically opposed. Milton was against the restoration of the British monarchy, while the royalist Dryden was created England’s first Poet Laureate by the restored Charles II. So great an admirer of Milton was Dryden that he said of the blind writer: "This man cuts us all out." Milton actually gave permission for Paradise Lost to be transformed by Dryden, saying "Ay, you may tag my verses if you will." The presumptuousness of Dryden's proposal never occurred to him. Written in heroic couplets, The State of Innocence begins thus: It seems the musical score was never written to accompany the libretto. The State of Innocence has never been performed. At the time of its writing, the scenery required, and special effects like "rebellious angels wheeling in the air, and seeming transfixed with thunderbolts" over "a lake of brimstone or
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    203
    The Toreador

    The Toreador

    ''The Toreador is an Edwardian musical comedy in two acts by James T. Tanner and Harry Nicholls, with lyrics by Adrian Ross and Percy Greenbank and music by Ivan Caryll and Lionel Monckton. It opened at the Gaiety Theatre in London, managed by George Edwardes, on 17 June 1901 and ran for an extremely successful 675 performances. It starred Marie Studholme, Gertie Millar, Harry Grattan, Edmund Payne, George Grossmith, Jr. and the young Sidney Bracy. Gabrielle Ray later joined the cast. The show also enjoyed Broadway runs in 1902 and 1904 and toured internationally. Key songs include "Captivating Cora", "I'm Romantic", "When I Marry Amelia", "Keep Off the Grass", and "Archie". As was customary for musicals at the time, other songs were interpolated into the show. For example Christie MacDonald performed "Moon, Moon" in the show, which was written by Nathaniel D. Mann. ACT I – Interior of Susan's Flower Shop, Biarritz ACT II – Market Square, Villaya Addenda
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    1 votes
    204
    The World and the Child

    The World and the Child

    • Country of origin: England
    The World and the Child (Latin: Mundus et Infans) is an anonymous English morality play. Its source is a late 14th-century or 15th-century poem The Mirror of the Periods of Man's Life, from which the play borrows significantly while reducing the number of characters. It is thought to have influenced William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1. The earliest surviving edition (printed by Wynkyn de Worde) is dated 17 July 1522, although the play is believed to have been written earlier than that and to have circulated in manuscript form. A bookseller in Oxford records the sale of "mundus a play" in 1520. T. W. Craik suggests a date of 1508 while MacCracken offers sometime in the late 15th century.
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    205
    Hedda Gabler

    Hedda Gabler

    • Characters: Hedda
    • Country of origin: Norway
    • Playwright: Henrik Ibsen
    Hedda Gabler is a play first published in 1890 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The play premiered in 1891 in Germany to negative reviews, but has subsequently gained recognition as a classic of realism, nineteenth century theatre, and world drama. A 1902 production was a major sensation on Broadway starring Minnie Maddern Fiske and following its initial limited run was revived with the actress the following year. The character of Hedda is considered by some critics as one of the great dramatic roles in theatre, the "female Hamlet," and some portrayals have been very controversial. Depending on the interpretation, Hedda may be portrayed as an idealistic heroine fighting society, a victim of circumstance, a prototypical feminist, or a manipulative villain. Hedda's married name is Hedda Tesman; Gabler is her maiden name. On the subject of the title, Ibsen wrote: "My intention in giving it this name was to indicate that Hedda as a personality is to be regarded rather as her father's daughter than her husband's wife." Hedda Gabler, daughter of an aristocratic general, has just returned to her villa in Kristiania (now Oslo) from her honeymoon. Her husband is Jørgen Tesman, an
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    2 votes
    206
    Richard II, Part I

    Richard II, Part I

    • Country of origin: England
    Thomas of Woodstock and Richard the Second Part One are two common names for an untitled, anonymous and apparently incomplete manuscript of an Elizabethan play depicting events in the reign of King Richard II. Some scholars have attributed it to William Shakespeare, although it does not appear in at least two of the major editions of the Shakespeare Apocrypha. The play often is cited as being a probable influence upon Shakespeare's Richard II, as well as possibly Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2. The play survives only as an anonymous, untitled and incomplete manuscript, part of a collection in the British Library catalogued as MS. Egerton 1994. It is one of fifteen plays included in the collection discovered by James Halliwell-Phillipps, which also includes Edmund Ironside, another play whose authorship has been attributed by some scholars to William Shakespeare. The collection of manuscripts in which Thomas of Woodstock survives was compiled by a seventeenth century actor in the King's Revels Men, William Cartwright (ca. 1606-1686; not to be confused with his contemporary poet/dramatist of the same name), who later became a bookseller and collector of plays during the English Civil
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    207
    Spring Awakening

    Spring Awakening

    • Characters: Moritz Stiefel
    • Playwright: Frank Wedekind
    Spring Awakening (German: Frühlingserwachen) is the German dramatist Frank Wedekind's first major play and a seminal work in the modern history of theatre. It was written sometime between autumn 1890 and spring 1891, but did not receive its first performance until 20 November 1906, when it premiered at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin under the direction of Max Reinhardt. It carries the sub-title A Children's Tragedy. The play criticises the sexually-oppressive culture of 19 century (Fin de siècle) Germany and offers a vivid dramatisation of the erotic fantasies that it breeds. Due to the controversial subject matter (puberty, sexuality, rape, child abuse, homosexuality, suicide, abortion), the play has often been banned or censored. It was first staged in English in 1917 in New York City. This performance was threatened with closure when the city's Commissioner of Licenses claimed that the play was pornographic, but a New York trial court issued an injunction to allow the production to proceed. One matinee performance was allowed for a limited audience. There was a 1955 Off-Broadway production at the Provincetown Playhouse. In 1963, the play was produced in England, but for only
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    2 votes
    208
    The Count of Luxembourg

    The Count of Luxembourg

    • Playwright: Adrian Ross
    The Count of Luxembourg is an operetta in two acts with English lyrics and libretto by Basil Hood and Adrian Ross, music by Franz Lehár, based on Lehár's three-act German operetta Der Graf von Luxemburg which had premiered in Vienna in 1909. Lehár made amendments to his Viennese score to accommodate the two-act adaptation. He also interpolated into the score three new pieces: a waltz that he had written for a commemorative performance of Der Graf in Vienna; a song from his first operetta, Wiener Frauen; and a Russian dance from the opera Tatjana. The Count of Luxembourg opened at Daly's Theatre in London on 20 May 1911 and ran for a successful 345 performances, followed by a UK tour. The operetta starred Lily Elsie, Huntley Wright, W. H. Berry and Bertram Wallis. The opening night was conducted by Lehár and attended by King George V and Queen Mary. The Times particularly praised the singing and dancing of Elsie and Wallis, as well as Lehár's music, though the paper judged the story to be thin and improbable. It also had a good run at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York in 1912 with the libretto further adapted by Glen MacDonaugh, and it played in Australia in 1913. There was a
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    209
    The New Aladdin

    The New Aladdin

    The New Aladdin is an English musical comedy in two acts by James T. Tanner and W. H. Risque, with music by Ivan Caryll, Lionel Monckton, and additional numbers by Frank E. Tours, and lyrics by Adrian Ross, Percy Greenbank, W. H. Risque, and George Grossmith, Jr. It was produced by George Edwardes at the Gaiety Theatre, opening on 29 September 1906 and running for 203 performances. The London production starred Grossmith, Harry Grattan (who also choreographed), Lily Elsie, Edmund Payne and Gaby Deslys (making her London debut). Gertie Millar, the established star of the Gaiety soon became available and replaced Elsie in the leading role, but shortly thereafter The Merry Widow made Elsie a big star. The Aladdin story had been dramatised extensively in England before and was very popular in pantomime versions, but this was the first book musical on the subject. P. G. Wodehouse wrote a comic dramatisation of the creation of The New Aladdin called "The Cooks and the Gaiety Broth" as part of Plum Punch: The Life of Writers.
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    210
    Bat Boy: The Musical

    Bat Boy: The Musical

    • Characters: Bat Boy
    • Playwright: Keith Farley
    Bat Boy: The Musical is an American musical with a book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming and music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe, based on a June 23, 1992 Weekly World News story about a half-boy, half-bat, dubbed "Bat Boy", found living in a cave. Bat Boy premiered at Actors Gang Theatre in 1997 and has since been produced off-Broadway, in London's West End, at the Edinburgh Festival and in scores of productions throughout the world. Bat Boy: The Musical was developed at the Directors Company and premiered at Tim Robbins' Actors Gang Theatre on October 31, 1997. Directed by Keythe Farley, and choreography by Derick LaSalla. The cast featured Deven May as Bat Boy and Kaitlin Hopkins as Meredith Parker. The musical opened off-Broadway at the Union Square Theatre on March 21, 2001 and closed on December 2, 2001. Directed by Scott Schwartz, with choreography by Christopher Gattelli, the cast featured Deven May as Bat Boy and Kaitlin Hopkins as Meredith, Sean McCourt as Dr. Thomas Parker, Kerry Butler as Shelley Parker, Kathy Brier as Maggie/Ron Taylor, Daria Hardeman as Ruthie Taylor/Ned, Trent Armand Kendall as Rev. Hightower/Mrs. Taylor/Roy/Institute Man, Jim Price as
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    2 votes
    211
    Chess

    Chess

    • Characters: The Arbiter
    • Playwright: Richard Nelson
    Chess is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, and with lyrics by Tim Rice. The story involves a romantic triangle between two top players, an American and a Russian, in a world chess championship, and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other; all in the context of a Cold War struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union, during which both countries wanted to win international chess tournaments for propaganda purposes. Although the protagonists were not intended to represent any specific individuals, the character of the American was loosely based on chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer, while elements of the story may have been inspired by the chess careers of Russian grandmasters Viktor Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov. As had been done with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Evita, a highly successful concept album of Chess was released in 1984. The first theatrical production of Chess opened in London's West End in 1986 and played for three years. A much-altered U.S. version premièred on Broadway in 1988, but survived only for two months. Chess is frequently revised for new
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    212
    Hippolytus

    Hippolytus

    • Characters: Theseus
    • Playwright: Euripides
    Hippolytus (Ancient Greek: Ἱππόλυτος, Hippolytos) is an Ancient Greek tragedy by Euripides, based on the myth of Hippolytus, son of Theseus. The play was first produced for the City Dionysia of Athens in 428 BC and won first prize as part of a trilogy. Euripides first treated the myth in Hippolytos Kalyptomenos (Ἱππόλυτος καλυπτόμενος – Hippolytus Veiled), now lost. Scholars are virtually unanimous in believing that the contents to the missing Kalyptomenos portrayed a shamelessly lustful Phaedra who directly propositions Hippolytus, to the displeasure of the audience. This failure prompted Euripides to revisit the myth in Hippolytos Stephanophoros (Ἱππόλυτος στεφανοφόρος – "Hippolytus who wears a crown"), in reference to the crown of garlands Hippolytus wears as a worshipper of Artemis, this time with a modest Phaedra who fights her sexual appetites. The surviving play offers a much more even-handed and psychologically complex treatment of the characters than is commonly found in traditional retelling of myths. The play is set in Troezen, a coastal town in the northeastern Peloponnese. Theseus, the king of Athens, is serving a year's voluntary exile after having murdered a local
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    213
    Pygmalion

    Pygmalion

    • Characters: Eliza Doolittle
    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    • Playwright: George Bernard Shaw
    Pygmalion is a 1912 play by George Bernard Shaw, named after Pygmalion (mythology). Professor of phonetics Henry Higgins makes a bet that he can train a bedraggled Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess at an ambassador's garden party by teaching her to assume a veneer of gentility, the most important element of which, he believes, is impeccable speech. The play is a sharp lampoon of the rigid British class system of the day and a commentary on women's independence. In ancient Greek mythology, Pygmalion fell in love with one of his sculptures that came to life and was a popular subject for Victorian era English playwrights, including one of Shaw's influences, W. S. Gilbert, who wrote a successful play based on the story in 1871, called Pygmalion and Galatea. Shaw also would have been familiar with the burlesque version, Galatea, or Pygmalion Reversed. Shaw's play has been adapted numerous times, most notably as the musical My Fair Lady and the film of that name. Shaw wrote the play in the spring of 1912 and read it to Mrs. Campbell in June. She came on board almost immediately, but her mild nervous breakdown (and its doctor-enforced leisure, which led to a
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    214
    Die Hamletmaschine

    Die Hamletmaschine

    Hamletmachine (in German, Die Hamletmaschine) is a postmodernist drama by German playwright and theatre director Heiner Müller. Written in 1977, the play is loosely based on Hamlet by William Shakespeare. The play originated in relation to a translation of Shakespeare's Hamlet that Müller undertook. Some critics claim the play problematizes the role of intellectuals during the East German Communism area, others argue that the play should be understood in relation to wider post-modern concepts. Characteristic of the play is that it is not centred on a conventional plot, but partially connects through sequences of monologues, where the protagonist leaves his role and reflects on being an actor. The play is constituted of scenes. The whole text is roughly nine pages long. The script itself is extremely dense and open to interpretation; recurring themes include feminism and the ecology movement. The play remains Müller's most-often performed and (arguably) his best-known today; Müller himself directed a seven-and-a-half hour performance of Hamlet (in which Die Hamletmaschine was the play-within-a-play) in Berlin in 1990. The play has been performed as a radio drama, including music by
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    215
    Mother Courage and Her Children

    Mother Courage and Her Children

    • Characters: Eilif
    • Playwright: Bertolt Brecht
    Mother Courage and Her Children (German: Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder) is a play written in 1939 by the German dramatist and poet Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956) with significant contributions from Margarete Steffin. After four very important theatrical productions in Switzerland and Germany from 1941 to 1952—the last three supervised and/or directed by Brecht—the play was filmed several years after Brecht's death in 1959/1960 with Brecht's widow and leading actress, Helene Weigel. Mother Courage is considered by some to be the greatest play of the 20th century, and perhaps also the greatest anti-war play of all time. Mother Courage is one of nine plays that Brecht wrote in an attempt to counter the rise of Fascism and Nazism. In response to the invasion of Poland by the German armies of Adolf Hitler in 1939, Brecht wrote Mother Courage in what writers call a "white heat"—in a little over a month. As leading Brecht scholars Ralph Manheim and John Willett wrote: Following Brecht's own principles for political drama, the play is not set in modern times but during the Thirty Years' War of 1618–1648. It follows the fortunes of Anna Fierling, nicknamed "Mother Courage", a wily canteen
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    216
    Philoctetes

    Philoctetes

    • Characters: Philoctetes
    • Playwright: Sophocles
    Philoctetes (Ancient Greek: Φιλοκτήτης, Philoktētēs; English pronunciation:  /ˌfɪləkˈtiːtiːz/, stressed on the third syllable, -tet-) is a play by Sophocles (Aeschylus and Euripides also each wrote a Philoctetes but theirs have not survived). The play was written during the Peloponnesian War. It was first performed at the Festival of Dionysus in 409 BC, where it won first prize. The story takes place during the Trojan War (after the majority of the events of the Iliad, and before the Trojan Horse). It describes the attempt by Neoptolemus and Odysseus to bring the disabled Philoctetes with them to Troy. When Heracles was near his death (the subject of another play by Sophocles - The Trachiniae), he wished to be burned on a funeral pyre while still alive. No one but Philoctetes would light the fire, and in return for this favor Heracles gives him his bow. Philoctetes leaves with the others to participate in the Trojan War, but gets bitten on the foot by a snake when walking on Chryse, a sacred ground. The bite leaves him in constant agony, and emits a horrible smell. For this he is left by Odysseus on the desert island Lemnos. Ten years pass, and the Greeks capture the Trojan seer
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    217
    The Comedy of Errors

    The Comedy of Errors

    • Characters: Dromio of Ephesus
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    The Comedy of Errors is one of William Shakespeare's earliest plays. It is his shortest and one of his most farcical comedies, with a major part of the humour coming from slapstick and mistaken identity, in addition to puns and word play. The Comedy of Errors (along with The Tempest) is one of only two of Shakespeare's plays to observe the classical unities. It has been adapted for opera, stage, screen and musical theatre. The Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. When the Syracusans encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to wrongful beatings, a near-seduction, the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus, and false accusations of infidelity, theft, madness, and demonic possession. Due to a law forbidding the presence of Syracusian merchants in Ephesus, elderly Syracusian trader Egeon faces execution when he is discovered in the city. He can only escape by paying a
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    218
    The Garrick Gaieties

    The Garrick Gaieties

    The Garrick Gaieties is a revue with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Lorenz Hart, the first successful musical by this songwriting team. It debuted in 1925 on Broadway and was the first of three Garrick Gaiety revues, which were subsequently produced in 1926 and 1930. The show parodied current subjects, such as the New York City Subway system and the Theatre Guild (producer of the show). The Garrick Gaieties is remembered as "bringing Rodgers and Hart their first major recognition." Their hit song "Manhattan" was introduced in this revue. The revue first opened on Broadway at the Garrick Theatre on May 17, 1925, as a 2-performance benefit for the Theatre Guild. The reviews were favorable, and Rodgers and others persuaded the Theatre Guild to continue the production, which re-opened on June 8, 1925 and ran until November 28, for 211 performances. Several writers contributed the material for the sketches, including Edith Meiser, Sam Jaffe, Benjamin Kaye and Morrie Ryskind. Directed by Philip Loeb with musical staging by Herbert Fields, the cast included Romney Brent, June Cochrane, Sterling Holloway, Libby Holman, Philip Loeb, Edith Meiser, Sanford Meisner, Betty Starbuck and
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    219
    The Merry Devil of Edmonton

    The Merry Devil of Edmonton

    • Country of origin: England
    The Merry Devil of Edmonton is an Elizabethan era stage play, a comedy about a magician, Peter Fabel, nicknamed the Merry Devil. Scholars have conjectured dates of authorship for the play as early as 1592, though most favor a date in the 1600–4 period. The Merry Devil enters the historical record in 1604, when it is mentioned in a contemporary work called the Black Booke. The play was entered into the Stationers' Register on 22 October 1607, and published the next year, in a quarto printed by Henry Ballard for the bookseller Arthur Johnson (Q1 – 1608). Five more quartos appeared through the remainder of the century: Q2 – 1612; Q3 – 1617; Q4 – 1626; Q5 – 1631; and Q6 – 1655. All of these quartos were anonymous. The play was performed at Court on 8 May 1608; it was also one of the twenty plays that the King's Men acted at Court in the Christmas season of 1612–13 during the festivities celebrating the wedding of Princess Elizabeth, the daughter of King James I, with Frederick V, Elector Palatine. Publisher Humphrey Moseley obtained the rights to the play and re-registered it on 9 September 1653 as a work by Shakespeare. Moseley's attribution to Shakespeare was repeated by Edward
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    220
    Wicked

    Wicked

    • Characters: Glinda
    • Country of origin: United States of America
    • Playwright: Winnie Holzman
    Wicked (full title: Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz) is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman. It is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, a parallel novel of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and L. Frank Baum's classic story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The musical is told from the perspective of the witches of the Land of Oz; its plot begins before and continues after Dorothy's arrival in Oz from Kansas and includes several references to the 1939 film and Baum's novel. Wicked tells the story of two unlikely friends, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch of the North), who struggle through opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, reactions to the Wizard's corrupt government, and, ultimately, Elphaba's public fall from grace. Produced by Universal Pictures in coalition with Marc Platt and David Stone, the Joe Mantello-directed and Wayne Cilento-choreographed original production of Wicked premiered on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre in October 2003, after completing pre-Broadway SHN tryouts at San
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    1 votes
    221
    Hair

    Hair

    • Characters: Sheila Franklin
    • Country of origin: United States of America
    • Playwright: James Rado
    Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with a book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot. A product of the hippie counter-culture and sexual revolution of the 1960s, several of its songs became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement. The musical's profanity, its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, its treatment of sexuality, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy. The musical broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of "rock musical", using a racially integrated cast, and inviting the audience onstage for a "Be-In" finale. Hair tells the story of the "tribe", a group of politically active, long-haired hippies of the "Age of Aquarius" living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War. Claude, his good friend Berger, their roommate Sheila and their friends struggle to balance their young lives, loves and the sexual revolution with their rebellion against the war and their conservative parents and society. Ultimately, Claude must decide whether to resist the draft as his friends have done, or to succumb
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    222
    Ah, Wilderness!

    Ah, Wilderness!

    • Characters: Muriel McComber
    • Country of origin: United States of America
    • Playwright: Eugene O'Neill
    Ah, Wilderness! is a comedy by American playwright Eugene O'Neill that premiered on Broadway at the Guild Theatre on 2 October 1933. The play takes place on the Fourth of July, 1906, and focuses on the Miller family, presumably of New London, Connecticut. The main plot deals with the middle son, 16-year-old Richard, and his coming of age. The title derives from Quatrain XI of Edward Fitzgerald's translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which is one of Richard's favorite poems. The story was also made into the 1959 Broadway musical Take Me Along starring Jackie Gleason as the drunken Uncle Sid (Beery's role in the film), Walter Pidgeon as Nat and Robert Morse as Richard. The production ran for 448 performances. Gleason won the 1960 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. The play was made into a 1935 film of the same title and again in 1948 as the musical Summer Holiday. Mickey Rooney starred as Tommy in the former and Richard in the latter. The play was also adapted for the radio on the Campbell Playhouse and Ford Theatre.
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    223
    Ajax

    Ajax

    • Characters: Ajax
    • Playwright: Sophocles
    Sophocles's Ajax (Ancient Greek: Αίας, Aias) is a Greek tragedy written in the 5th century BC. The date of Ajax's first performance is unknown, but most scholars regard it as an early work, circa 450 - 430 B.C. (J. Moore, 2). It chronicles the fate of the warrior Ajax after the events of the Iliad, but before the end of the Trojan War. At the onset of the play, Ajax is enraged because Achilles' armor was awarded to Odysseus, rather than to him. He vows to kill the Greek leaders who disgraced him. Before he can enact his revenge, though, he is tricked by the goddess Athena into believing that the sheep and cattle that were taken by the Achaeans as spoil are the Greek leaders. He slaughters some of them, and takes the others back to his home to torture, including a ram which he believes to be his main rival, Odysseus. Ajax realizes what he has done and is in agony over his actions. Ajax’s pain is not because of his wish to kill Agamemnon and Odysseus. He is extremely upset that Athena fooled him and is sure that the other Greek warriors are laughing at him. Ajax contemplates ending his life due to his shame. His concubine, Tecmessa, pleads for him not to leave her and her child
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    224
    Heracles

    Heracles

    • Characters: Heracles
    • Playwright: Euripides
    Herakles (Ancient Greek: Ἡρακλῆς μαινόμενος, Hēraklēs Mainomenos, also known as Hercules Furens) is an Athenian tragedy by Euripides that was first performed c. 416 BCE. While Herakles is in the underworld obtaining Cerberus for one of his labours, his father Amphitryon, wife Megara, and children are sentenced to death in Thebes by Lycus. Herakles arrives in time to save them, though the goddesses Iris and Madness (personified) cause him to kill his wife and children in a frenzy. It is the second of two surviving tragedies by Euripides where the family of Herakles are suppliants (the first being Herakles' Children). It was first performed at the City Dionysia festival. In a prologue filled with genealogical detail, Amphitryon outlines the ancestral history of Herakles' and Lycus' families. Lycus is ruling Thebes unlawfully and is about to kill Amphitryon, and—because Megara is the daughter of the lawful king Creon—Herakles' wife Megara and their children. Herakles cannot help his family, for he is in Hades engaged in the last of his twelve labours: bringing back the monster Cerberus who guards the gates there. The family has taken refuge at the altar of Zeus; they are forbidden to
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    1 votes
    225
    Le Cid

    Le Cid

    • Characters: Leonor
    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Pierre Corneille
    Le Cid is a tragicomedy written by Pierre Corneille and published in 1636. It is based on the legend of El Cid. The play followed Corneille's first true tragedy, Médée, produced in 1635. An enormous popular success, Corneille's Le Cid was the subject of a heated polemic over the norms of dramatic practice known as the Querelle du Cid. Cardinal Richelieu's Académie française acknowledged the play's success, but determined that it was defective, in part because it did not respect the classical unities. The play focuses on Don Rodrigue and Chimène. Rodrigue's father, Don Diègue, is the old upstart general of medieval Spain and past his prime, whereas Chimène's father is the successful current general, Comte de Gormas. Rodrigue and Chimène love each other, but any chance of marriage is brutally disturbed when Chimène's father insults Rodrigue's father. Torn between his love for Chimène and his duty to avenge his father's honour, Rodrigue chooses the latter and faces the general in a duel in which Don Gormas is killed. Without denying her love, Chimène asks the King for Rodrigue's head. When the Moors attack, Rodrigue gets the chance to redeem himself in the eye of the nation, and, more
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    226
    Oedipus at Colonus

    Oedipus at Colonus

    • Characters: Oedipus
    • Playwright: Sophocles
    Oedipus at Colonus (also Oedipus Coloneus, Ancient Greek: Οἰδίπους ἐπὶ Κολωνῷ, Oidipous epi Kolōnō) is one of the three Theban plays of the Athenian tragedian Sophocles. It was written shortly before Sophocles' death in 406 BC and produced by his grandson (also called Sophocles) at the Festival of Dionysus in 401 BC. In the timeline of the plays, the events of Oedipus at Colonus occur after Oedipus the King and before Antigone; however, it was chronologically the last of Sophocles' three Theban plays to be written. The play describes the end of Oedipus' tragic life. Legends differ as to the site of Oedipus' death; Sophocles set the place at Colonus, a village near Athens and also Sophocles' own birthplace, where the blinded Oedipus has come with his daughters Antigone and Ismene as suppliants of the Erinyes and of Theseus, the king of Athens. Led by Antigone, Oedipus enters the village of Colonus and sits down on a stone. They are approached by a villager, who demands that they leave, because that ground is sacred to the Furies, or Erinyes. Oedipus recognizes this as a sign, for when he received the prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother, Apollo also revealed
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    227
    The Geisha

    The Geisha

    • Playwright: Owen Hall
    The Geisha, a story of a tea house is an Edwardian Musical Comedy in two acts. The score was composed by Sidney Jones to a libretto by Owen Hall, with lyrics by Harry Greenbank. Additional songs were written by Lionel Monckton and James Philip. The Geisha was first performed on 25 April 1896 at Daly's Theatre in London, produced by George Edwardes. The original production ran for 760 performances. This run, the second longest of any musical up to that time, would be beaten three years later by Edwardes' San Toy, which was written by Jones, Greenbank and Monckton. The cast included Marie Tempest in the role of O Mimosa San and Letty Lind as the dancing soubrette Molly Seamore. C. Hayden Coffin played Lieutenant Reginald Fairfax, Huntley Wright played Wun-Hi, and later Rutland Barrington and Scott Russell joined the cast. Direction was by J. A. E. Malone, choreography by Willie Warde and costumes by Percy Anderson. The music director was Ernest Ford. The Geisha was also an immediate success abroad, with an 1896 production in New York (starring Nancy McIntosh beginning in November), and tours and productions in Europe. It has been "ranked as the first internationally successful
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    228
    The Happy Day

    The Happy Day

    • Playwright: Seymour Hicks
    The Happy Day is an English musical comedy in two acts by Seymour Hicks, with music by Sidney Jones and Paul Rubens, and lyrics by Adrian Ross and Rubens. It was produced by George Edwardes's company (by the estate's executor, Robert Evett) and was directed by Evett. The musical opened at Daly's Theatre in London on 13 May 1916 and ran for 241 performances. It starred Winifred Barnes and Jose Collins, and later Bertram Wallis joined the cast. The Happy Day opened during World War I in the same year as three other tremendously successful shows in London: Chu Chin Chow, Theodore & Co and The Bing Boys are Here. Audiences, including servicemen on leave, wanted light and uplifting entertainment during the war, and these shows delivered it. The show was Jones's last success. Two of the popular songs from The Happy Day were "Bohemia" and "I Don't Seem to Want You When You're With Me". Act I Act II Addenda
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    229
    The Notebook of Trigorin

    The Notebook of Trigorin

    • Country of origin: United States of America
    • Playwright: Tennessee Williams
    The Notebook of Trigorin is a play by American playwright Tennessee Williams, adapted from Anton Chekhov's drama The Seagull (1895). Williams based his adaptation primarily on Ann Dunnigan's 1960 translation. The play was first produced in 1981 by the Vancouver Playhouse in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1980, Williams' play The Red Devil Battery Sign had been given a new production at the Playhouse by artistic director Roger Hodgman while Williams was Writer in Residence at the University of British Columbia. Invited to return with a new play, Williams confessed his desire to adapt Chekov's The Seagull. The October 1981 production was confirmed before a single page of the adaptation was written. A 1996 production of the play by the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park directed by Stephen Hollis and starring Lynn Redgrave as Madame Arkadina was the American premiere. The play received its London premiére at the Finborough Theatre in 2010. The production was directed by Phil Willmott and starred Stephen Billington as Trigorin.
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    230
    Carmen Jones

    Carmen Jones

    • Characters: Carmen Jones
    • Country of origin: United States of America
    • Playwright: Oscar Hammerstein II
    Carmen Jones is a 1943 Broadway musical with music by Georges Bizet (orchestrated for Broadway by Robert Russell Bennett) and lyrics and book by Oscar Hammerstein II. Conceptually, it is Bizet's opera Carmen updated to a World War II-era African-American setting. (Bizet's opera was, in turn, based on the 1846 novella by Prosper Mérimée.) The Broadway musical was produced by Billy Rose, using an all-black cast, and directed by Hassard Short. Robert Shaw prepared the choral portions of the show. The original Broadway production starred Muriel Smith (alternating with Muriel Rahn) in the title role. The original Broadway cast members were nearly all new to the stage; Kennedy and Muir write that on the first day of rehearsal only one member had ever been on a stage before. The 1954 film was adapted by Hammerstein and Harry Kleiner. It was directed by Otto Preminger and starred Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte. The musical has also been revived in London, running for a season in 1991 at London's Old Vic and most recently in London's Royal Festival Hall in the Southbank Centre in 2007. Parachute maker Carmen Jones makes a play for a "fly boy" Air Force man, Joe, who is in love with
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    231
    Greater Tuna

    Greater Tuna

    • Characters: Pearl Burras
    • Country of origin: United States of America
    • Playwright: Joe Sears
    Greater Tuna is the first in a series of 4 comedic plays (followed by A Tuna Christmas, Red, White and Tuna and Tuna Does Vegas), each set in the fictional town of Tuna, Texas, the "third-smallest" town in the state. The series was written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard. The plays are at once an affectionate comment on small-town, Southern life and attitudes but also a withering satire of same. Of the four plays, Greater Tuna is the darkest in tone. The plays are notable in that two men play the entire cast of over twenty eccentric characters of both genders and various ages. Greater Tuna debuted in Austin, Texas, in the fall of 1981, and had its off-Broadway premiere in 1982. St. Vincent Summer Theatre produced the play in 2000, and No Name Players produced it in 2002. Charles H. Duggan produced national tours of "Greater Tuna", "A Tuna Christmas" and "Red, White & Tuna" for twenty-six years. Williams and Sears regularly tour the country to perform all four plays, with Howard directing. An HBO Special of Greater Tuna, produced by Embassy Television and Norman Lear, was aired in 1984. Due to modern videography techniques, the various characters portrayed by Sears and
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    232
    Henry VI, part 3

    Henry VI, part 3

    • Characters: King Henry VI of England
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    Henry VI, Part 3 or The Third Part of Henry the Sixt (often written as 3 Henry VI) is a history play by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1591, and set during the lifetime of King Henry VI of England. Whereas 1 Henry VI deals with loss of England's French territories and the political machinations leading up to the Wars of the Roses, and 2 Henry VI focuses on the King's inability to quell the bickering of his nobles, and the inevitability of armed conflict, 3 Henry VI deals primarily with the horrors of that conflict, with the once ordered nation thrown into chaos and barbarism as families break down and moral codes are subverted in the pursuit of revenge and power. Although the Henry VI trilogy may not have been written in chronological order, the three plays are often grouped together with Richard III to form a tetralogy covering the entire Wars of the Roses saga, from the death of Henry V in 1422 to the rise to power of Henry VII in 1485. It was the success of this sequence of plays which firmly established Shakespeare's reputation as a playwright. Henry VI, Part 3 features the longest soliloquy in all of Shakespeare (3.2.124–195), and has more battle scenes
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    233
    Kanjinchō

    Kanjinchō

    • Country of origin: Japan
    • Playwright: Namiki Gohei III
    Kanjinchō (勧進帳, The Subscription List) is a Japanese kabuki play by Namiki Gohei III, based on the Noh play Ataka. It is one of the most popular plays in the modern kabuki repertory. Belonging to the repertories of the Naritaya and Kōritaya guilds, the play was first performed in March 1840 at the Kawarazaki-za, in Edo. Ichikawa Ebizō V, Ichikawa Kuzō II, and Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII played the leading roles of Benkei, Togashi, and Yoshitsune, respectively. The lines of Ichikawa Danjūrō and Matsumoto Kōshirō have come to be particularly celebrated for playing the role of Benkei in Kanjinchō. Though bearing the same name and general narrative concept as a 1702 play, one of the Kabuki Jūhachiban, the modern version of Kanjinchō, going back to 1840, is believed to not be directly derived from or connected to this earlier aragoto piece. Akira Kurosawa's film The Men who Tread on the Tiger's Tail is partly based on Kanjinchō. Taking place in the mid- to late 12th century, the play begins with a local noble called Togashi Saemon, who is charged with defending a particular gate along the road. He warns his men to be vigilant, for Minamoto no Yoshitsune, the great warrior of the Minamoto
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    234
    King John

    King John

    • Characters: Pandulph
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    King John, a history play by William Shakespeare, dramatises the reign of John, King of England (ruled 1199–1216), son of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine and father of Henry III of England. It is believed to have been written in the mid-1590s but was not published until it appeared in the First Folio in 1623. King John receives an ambassador from France, who demands, on pain of war, that he renounce his throne in favour of his nephew, Arthur, whom the French King, Philip, believes to be the rightful heir to the throne. John adjudicates an inheritance dispute between Robert Falconbridge and his older brother Philip the Bastard, during which it becomes apparent that Philip is the illegitimate son of King Richard I. Queen Eleanor, mother to both Richard and John, recognises the family resemblance and suggests that he renounce his claim to the Falconbridge land in exchange for a knighthood. John knights the Bastard under the name Richard. In France, King Philip and his forces besiege the English-ruled town of Angiers, threatening attack unless its citizens support Arthur. Philip is supported by Austria, who is believed to have killed King Richard. The English contingent
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    235
    King of Cadonia

    King of Cadonia

    King of Cadonia is an English musical in two acts with a book by Frederick Lonsdale, lyrics by Adrian Ross and Arthur Wimperis and music by Sidney Jones and Frederick Rosse. It opened at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London on 3 September 1908, produced by Frank Curzon, and ran for 333 performances. It starred Isabel Jay, Huntley Wright and Bertram Wallis. There was a brief Broadway production in 1910 with additional music by Jerome Kern at the Fifth Avenue Theatre. This was Lonsdale's first success. Famous songs included "The Wind Of Love", "The Portrait" and "Disguises". Act 1 - The Gardens of the Duke of Alasia In Cadonia, a mythical country where the king is frequently replaced, the soon-to-be crowned sovereign, Alexis, is tired of the limitations that are placed on his freedom. He learns that there is a conspiracy afoot to assassinate him, and therefore he shaves off his moustache and beard to escape. The disguise is successful. He soon meets Princess Marie, the daughter of the Duke of Alasia, heir presumptive to the Cadonia throne. The princess falls in love with the handsome stranger, and she is pleased to learn that the king has mysteriously disappeared. But her feelings
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    236
    L'Illusion Comique

    L'Illusion Comique

    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Pierre Corneille
    L'Illusion Comique is a comedic play by Pierre Corneille, written in 1636. In its use of meta-theatricality (plays-within-the-play), it is far ahead of its time. It was first performed at the Hôtel de Bourgogne in 1636 and published in 1639. Corneille wrote this piece at the age of 29 and had already written seven other plays. L'Illusion comique marks a turning point in his career. This piece can be regarded as the end of an apprenticeship during which the author demonstrates his literary prowess. In this work, Corneille makes use of all theatre genres: the first act is a prologue that is inspired by the pastoral style, and the next three acts are an imperfect comedy with the farcical character Matamore at the center. The fourth and fifth acts evolve into a tragicomedy with their episodes of rivalry, imprisonment, and even death. L'Illusion comique is therefore a summary of a theatrical universe, and it is in this play that Corneille shows his mastery of theatre as a whole. L'Illusion comique plays with the idea of theatre within the theatre and has many layers of representation: The complex structure of the play, based on a mise en abyme and a play on appearances is designed to
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    237
    Life of Galileo

    Life of Galileo

    • Characters: Andrea Sarti
    • Playwright: Bertolt Brecht
    Life of Galileo (German: Leben des Galilei), also known as Galileo, is a play by the twentieth-century German dramatist Bertolt Brecht. The first version of the play was written between 1937 and 1939; the second (or 'American') version was written between 1945–1947, in collaboration with Charles Laughton. The play received its first theatrical production (in German) at the Zurich Schauspielhaus, opening on 9 September 1943. This production was directed by Leonard Steckel, with set-design by Teo Otto. The cast included Steckel himself (as Galileo), Karl Paryla and Wolfgang Langhoff. The second version (in English) opened at the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles on 30 July 1947. It was directed by Joseph Losey and Brecht, with musical direction by Serge Hovey and set-design by Robert Davison. Laughton played Galileo, with Hugo Haas as Barberini and Frances Heflin as Virginia. This production opened at the Maxine Elliott's Theatre in New York on 7 December of the same year. A third production, by the Berliner Ensemble with Ernst Busch in the title role, opened in January 1957 at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm and was directed by Erich Engel, with set-design by Caspar Neher. The play was
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    238
    Major Barbara

    Major Barbara

    • Characters: Andrew Undershaft
    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    • Playwright: George Bernard Shaw
    Major Barbara is a three act play by George Bernard Shaw, written and premiered in 1905 and first published in 1907. An Officer of The Salvation Army, Major Barbara Undershaft, becomes disillusioned when her Christian denomination accepts money from an armaments manufacturer (her father) and a whisky distiller. She eventually decides that bringing a message of salvation to people who have plenty will be more fulfilling and genuine than converting the starving in return for bread. Although Barbara initially regards the Salvation Army's acceptance of Undershaft's money as hypocrisy, Shaw did not intend that it should be thought so by the audience. Shaw wrote a preface for the play's publication, in which he derided the idea that charities should only take money from "morally pure" sources. He points out that donations can always be used for good, whatever their provenance, and he quotes a Salvation Army officer, "they would take money from the devil himself and be only too glad to get it out of his hands and into God's". Lady Britomart, the daughter of a British earl, and her son Stephen discuss a source of income for her grown daughters Sarah, who is engaged to Charles Lomax, and
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    239
    Oh! Calcutta!

    Oh! Calcutta!

    • Characters: Performers
    • Country of origin: United States of America
    • Playwright: Kenneth Tynan
    Oh! Calcutta! is an avant-garde theatrical revue, created by British drama critic Kenneth Tynan. The show, consisting of sketches on sex-related topics, debuted Off-Broadway in 1969 and then in London in 1970. It ran in London for over 3,900 performances, and in New York initially for 1,314. Revivals enjoyed even longer runs, including a Broadway revival that ran for 5,959 performances, making the show the longest-running revue in Broadway history at the time. As of 2012, its revival was still the seventh longest-running show in Broadway history, the second longest-running revival, after Chicago, and the fourth longest-running American production ever on Broadway, after Chicago, A Chorus Line and The Lion King. The show sparked considerable controversy at the time, because it featured extended scenes of total nudity, both male and female. The title is taken from a painting by Clovis Trouille, itself a pun on "O quel cul t'as!" French for "What an arse you have!". Tynan had hoped that Harold Pinter would direct the production, in order to give it avant-garde legitimacy, but Pinter declined. Sketches were written by, amongst others, Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett, John Lennon, Sam
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    240
    Quality Street

    Quality Street

    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    Quality Street is a comedy in four acts by J. M. Barrie, written before his more famous work Peter Pan. The story is about two sisters who start a school "for genteel children". The original Broadway production opened in 1901 and ran for only 64 performances. The show was then produced in London, where it was a hit, running for 459 performances. It was frequently revived until World War II. The play is set in Napoleonic times. There is heightened anticipation as the local gossips of the town discuss the developing relationship between Miss Phoebe Throssel and Valentine Brown. Phoebe then confesses to her sister, Susan, that Brown intends to drop by later that day, and both are certain he means to propose. When he finally does appear, it is not to ask for Phoebe's hand in marriage but to announce his intention to join the fight in Europe against Napoleon. This leaves the girls devastated. Ten years after the departure of Brown, we find the girls have set up a school in order to pay the rent. Phoebe has not accepted any other suitor and has allowed herself to become an "Old Maid" and school mistress. Phoebe, however, longs for her youth, and the return of Captain Brown only deepens
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    241
    Richard II

    Richard II

    • Characters: Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: William Shakespeare
    King Richard the Second is a history play by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in approximately 1595. It is based on the life of King Richard II of England (ruled 1377–1399) and is the first part of a tetralogy, referred to by some scholars as the Henriad, followed by three plays concerning Richard's successors: Henry IV, Part 1; Henry IV, Part 2; and Henry V. It may not have been written as a stand-alone work. Although the First Folio (1623) edition of Shakespeare's works lists the play as a history play, the earlier Quarto edition of 1597 calls it The tragedie of King Richard the second. Richard II is the main character of the play. The first Act begins with King Richard sitting majestically on his throne in full state. We learn that Henry Bolingbroke, Richard's cousin, is having a dispute with Thomas Mowbray, and they both want the king to act as judge. The subject of the quarrel is Bolingbroke's accusation that Mowbray had squandered monies given to him by Richard for the King's soldiers. Bolingbroke also accuses Mowbray of the recent murder of the Duke of Gloucester, although John of Gaunt — Gloucester's brother and Bolingbroke's father — believes that Richard
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    242
    Riders to the Sea

    Riders to the Sea

    • Characters: Bartley
    • Playwright: John Millington Synge
    Riders to the Sea is a play written by Irish playwright John Millington Synge. It was first performed on February 25, 1904 at the Molesworth Hall, Dublin by the Irish National Theater Society. A one-act tragedy, the play is set in the Aran Islands, and like all of Synge's plays it is noted for capturing the poetic dialogue of rural Ireland. The very simple plot is based not on the traditional conflict of human wills but on the hopeless struggle of a people against the impersonal but relentless cruelty of the sea. Only four characters are named: Maurya, an elderly Irishwoman, her daughters Cathleen and Nora, and her son Bartley. Also mentioned are Maurya's deceased sons Shawn, Sheamus, Stephen, Patch, and Michael. The young priest is also important to introduce controversies about Maurya's sons, e.g. whether the clothes are from Michael's body, whether the young priest let Bartley go to sell his horse, etc.). Maurya has lost her husband, father-in-law, and five sons to the sea. As the play begins Nora and Cathleen receive word that a body that may be their brother Michael has washed up on shore in Donegal, far to the north. Bartley is planning to sail to Connemara to sell a horse,
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    243
    Sir Thomas More

    Sir Thomas More

    • Country of origin: England
    Sir Thomas More is a collaborative Elizabethan play by Anthony Munday and others depicting the life and death of Thomas More. It survives only in a single manuscript, now owned by the British Library. The manuscript is notable because three pages of it are considered to be in the hand of William Shakespeare and for the light it sheds on the collaborative nature of Elizabethan drama and the theatrical censorship of the era. In 1871, Richard Simpson proposed that some additions to the play had been written by Shakespeare, and a year later James Spedding, editor of the works of Sir Francis Bacon, while rejecting some of Simpson's suggestions, supported the attribution to Shakespeare of the passage credited to Hand D. In 1916, the paleographer Sir Edward Maunde Thompson published a minute analysis of the handwriting of the addition and judged it to be Shakespeare's. The case was strengthened with the publication of Shakespeare's Hand in the Play of Sir Thomas More (1923) by five noted scholars who analysed the play from multiple perspectives, all of which led to the same affirmative conclusion. Although some dissenters remain, the attribution has been generally accepted since the
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    244
    Tamburlaine

    Tamburlaine

    • Characters: Calyphas
    • Country of origin: England
    • Playwright: Christopher Marlowe
    Tamburlaine the Great is a play in two parts by Christopher Marlowe. It is loosely based on the life of the Central Asian emperor, Timur "the lame". Written in 1587 or 1588, the play is a milestone in Elizabethan public drama; it marks a turning away from the clumsy language and loose plotting of the earlier Tudor dramatists, and a new interest in fresh and vivid language, memorable action, and intellectual complexity. Along with Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy, it may be considered the first popular success of London's public stage. Marlowe, generally considered the greatest of the University Wits, influenced playwrights well into the Jacobean period, and echoes of Tamburlaine's bombast and ambition can be found in English plays all the way to the Puritan closing of the theatres in 1642. While Tamburlaine is considered inferior to the great tragedies of the late-Elizabethan and early-Jacobean period, its significance in creating a stock of themes and, especially, in demonstrating the potential of blank verse in drama, are still acknowledged. The play (in both parts) was entered into the Stationers' Register on August 14, 1590 (as "two comical discourses"). Both parts were
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    245
    The Acharnians

    The Acharnians

    • Playwright: Aristophanes
    The Acharnians (Ancient Greek: Ἀχαρνεῖς / Attic Ἀχαρνῆς / Akharneĩs) is the third play - and the earliest of the eleven surviving plays - by the Athenian playwright Aristophanes. It was produced in 425 BCE on behalf of the young dramatist by an associate, Callistratus, and it won first place at the Lenaia festival. The play is notable for its absurd humour, its imaginative appeal for an end to the Peloponnesian War and for the author's spirited response to condemnations of his previous play, The Babylonians, by politicians such as Cleon, who had reviled it as a slander against the Athenian polis. In The Acharnians, Aristophanes reveals his resolve not to yield to attempts at political intimidation. Along with the other surviving plays of Aristophanes, The Acharnians is one of the few examples we have of a highly satirical genre of drama known as Old Comedy. Short summary: The protagonist, Dikaiopolis, miraculously obtains a private peace treaty with The Spartans and he enjoys the benefits of peace in spite of opposition from some of his fellow Athenians. Detailed summary: The play begins with Dikaiopolis sitting all alone on the Pnyx (the hill where the Athenian Assembly or
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    246
    The Lady of the Camellias

    The Lady of the Camellias

    • Characters: Marguerite Gautier (Camille)
    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Alexandre Dumas
    The Lady of the Camellias (French: La Dame aux camélias) is a novel by Alexandre Dumas, fils, first published in 1848, and subsequently adapted for the stage. The Lady of the Camellias premiered at the Théâtre du Vaudeville in Paris, France on February 2, 1852. The play was an instant success, and Giuseppe Verdi immediately set about putting the story to music. His work became the 1853 opera La Traviata, with the female protagonist, Marguerite Gautier, renamed Violetta Valéry. In the English-speaking world, The Lady of the Camellias became known as Camille and 16 versions have been performed at Broadway theatres alone. The title character is Marguerite Gautier, who is based on Marie Duplessis, the real-life lover of author Dumas, fils. The theme of the Lady of the Camellias is a love story between Marguerite Gautier, a "demi-mondaine" ("courtisane" in the original French, i.e., a woman "kept" by various lovers, frequently more than one at a time) suffering from tuberculosis ("phthisie" in the novel), and a young provincial bourgeois, Armand Duval. The narration of the love story is told by Duval himself to the (unnamed) narrator of the book. Armand falls in love with Marguerite and
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    247
    The Maids

    The Maids

    • Characters: Claire
    • Playwright: Jean Genet
    The Maids (French: Les Bonnes) is a play by the French dramatist Jean Genet. It was first performed at the Théâtre de l'Athénée in Paris in a production that opened on 17 April 1947, which Louis Jouvet directed. A film adaptation of the play was released in 1974. Genet loosely based his play on the infamous Papin sisters, Lea and Christine, who brutally murdered their employer and her daughter in Le Mans, France, in 1933, although the play is not the story of the Papin sisters as such. Genet's original intention was that the three protagonists, Madame and the maids Solange and Claire, be performed by male actors. Solange and Claire are two housemaids who construct elaborate sadomasochistic rituals when their mistress (Madame) is away. The focus of their role-playing is the murder of Madame and they take turns portraying both sides of the power divide. Their deliberate pace and devotion to detail guarantees that they always fail to actualize their fantasies by ceremoniously "killing" Madame at the ritual's denouement. The play was first presented in Britain in French by the ICA, initially at the Mercury Theatre, Notting Hill Gate, London. Peter Zadek directed, while Eduardo Paolozzi
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    248
    The Massacre at Paris

    The Massacre at Paris

    • Country of origin: England
    The Massacre at Paris is an Elizabethan play by the English dramatist Christopher Marlowe. It concerns the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre, which took place in Paris in 1572, and the part played by the Duc de Guise in those events. The Lord Strange's Men acted a play titled The Tragedy of the Guise, thought to be Marlowe's play, on 26 January 1593. The Admiral's Men performed The Guise or The Massacre ten times between 21 June and 27 September 1594. The Diary of Philip Henslowe marks the play as "ne," though scholars disagree as to whether this indicates a "new" play or a performance at the Newington Butts theatre. The Diary also indicates that Henslowe planned a revival of the play in 1602, possibly in a revised version. A possible revision may have something to do with the surprising number of Shakespearean borrowings and paraphrases in the text. The only surviving text is an undated quarto that is too short to represent the complete original play and in all probability it is a memorial reconstruction by the actors who performed the work. It preserves a lot of the violence and stabbing jokes but deletes most of whatever social value the play may have had, except for one long
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    249
    The School for Scandal

    The School for Scandal

    • Characters: Sir Peter Teazle
    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    • Playwright: Richard Brinsley Sheridan
    The School for Scandal is a play written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. It was first performed in London at Drury Lane Theatre on May 8, 1777. The prologue, written by David Garrick, commends the play, its subject, and its author to the audience. (Garrick was Sheridan's predecessor as manager of Drury Lane.) Scene I: Lady Sneerwell, a wealthy young widow, and her hireling Snake discuss her various scandal-spreading plots. Snake asks why she is so involved in the affairs of Sir Peter Teazle, his ward Maria, and Charles and Joseph Surface, two young men under Sir Peter's informal guardianship, and why she has not yielded to the attentions of Joseph, who is highly respectable. Lady Sneerwell confides that Joseph wants Maria, who is an heiress, and that she wants Charles. Thus she and Joseph are plotting to alienate Maria from Charles by putting out rumors of an affair between Charles and Sir Peter's new young wife, Lady Teazle. Joseph arrives to confer with Lady Sneerwell. Maria herself then enters, fleeing the attentions of Sir Benjamin Backbite and his uncle Crabtree. Mrs. Candour enters and ironically talks about how "tale-bearers are as bad as the tale-makers". Soon after that,
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    250
    Waiting for Godot

    Waiting for Godot

    • Characters: Vladimir
    • Country of origin: France
    • Playwright: Samuel Beckett
    Waiting for Godot ( /ˈɡɒdoʊ/ GOD-oh) is an absurdist play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone named Godot. Godot's absence, as well as numerous other aspects of the play, have led to many different interpretations since the play's premiere. It was voted "the most significant English language play of the 20th century". Waiting for Godot is Beckett's translation of his own original French version, En attendant Godot, and is subtitled (in English only) "a tragicomedy in two acts". The original French text was composed between 9 October 1948 and 29 January 1949. The première was on 5 January 1953 in the Théâtre de Babylone, Paris. The production was directed by Roger Blin, who also played the role of Pozzo. Waiting for Godot follows a pair of men who divert themselves while waiting expectantly, vainly for someone named Godot to arrive. They claim he's an acquaintance but in fact hardly know him, admitting that they would not recognize him when they do see him. To occupy the time they eat, sleep, converse, argue, sing, play games, exercise, swap hats, and contemplate suicide – anything "to hold the
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