Theater Around The Bay: Gender Parity Discussion Starter #1

Gender parity in the theater world, particularly in regards to the gender of our most frequently produced playwrights and the number and quality of roles for women, has been a very hot topic recently, and it’s a conversation happening on many fronts and from many different angles. A few months back, Stuart Bousel posted on his Facebook page a challenge to come up with 100 male playwrights who have created excellent roles for women. Anyone was welcome to contribute a name or two (or ten), and all names were accepted since the point was that “excellent” is really going to be a matter of taste, and could be broadly interpreted (for instance, is a role excellent because it has a lot of lines, or because of the complexity with which it’s drawn, or for how it functions in the action of the story, or for all of these reasons?). Dozens of people responded and Charles Lewis III was kind enough to compile the final list, which we now re-publish here as a way for you to start your own conversation about gender parity in theater. Who on this list do you agree with? Who do you contest? Who do you think is missing?

1. William Shakespeare
2. John Patrick Shanley
3. John Guare
4. Henrik Ibsen
5. David Mamet
6. Arthur Laurents
7. Stephen Sondheim
8. Jean-Baptiste Racine
9. Nat Cassidy
10. Arthur Miller
11. Clive Barker
12. JB Shaw
13. Oscar Wilde
14. Sean O’Casey
15. JM Synge
16. John Webster
17. Tom Stoppard
18. Tennessee Williams
19. Bertolt Brecht
20. Lee Blessing
21. Charles Mee
22. Mac Wellman
23. Jean Anouilh
24. Christopher Fry
25. Anton Chekov
26. Jose Rivera
27. Garcia Lorca
28. Adam Bock
29. John Kander
30. Fred Ebb
31. James Lapine
32. Hugh Wheeler
33. Athol Fugard
34. Euripedes
35. Lanford Wilson
36. Aristophanes
37. John Peilmeier
38. Christopher Durang
39. Tracy Letts
40. Aeschylus
41. David Auburn
42. Edward Albee
43. Sophocles
44. Anthony Clarvoe
45. Aristophanes
46. Don Delillo
47. Daniel Heath
48. Neil LaBute
49. Craig Lucas
50. Adam Guettel
51. Michael John LaChiusa
52. Thornton Wilder
53. Ed Graczyk
54. Brian Friel
55. Charles Busch
56. John Waters
57. Dawson Moore
58. Carl Thelin
59. Molière
60. Friedrich Durrenmatt
61. Jean Genet
62. Enrique Urueta
63. Steve Yockey
64. Christopher Chen
65. Joshua Conkel
66. Gary Graves
67. Prince Gomolvilas
68. Jon Tracy
69. Peter Nachtrieb
70. Pierre Cornielle
71. Paul Zindel
72. Horton Foote
73. George C. Wolfe
74. William Inge
75. Christopher Hampton
76. Stuart Bousel
77. Eugene O’Neill
78. Martin McDonagh
79. Kirk Shimano
80. Morgan Ludlow
81. Lee Blessing
82. Donald Marguiles
83. Marcus Gardley
84. Robert David MacDonald
85. Harold Pinter
86. Steve Lyons
87. Richard Kalnoski
88. Richard Greenberg
89. David Ives
90. David Lindsay Abaire
91. James Goldman
92. William Finn
93. Pedro Caldeón de la Barca
94. Paul Zindel
95. Mark Dunn
96. Leonard Melfi
97. David Henry Hwang
98. John Ford Noonan
99. Henry Krieger
100. Tom Eyen
101. Jonathan Larson
102. Joseph Kesserling
103. Langston Hughes
104. August Wilson
105. Rajiv Joseph
106. August Strindberg

NOTE: Originally compiled Tuesday – 12 March 2013 (names first submitted Saturday – 9 March 2013).

NOTE: List shortened to 106 names, following the removal of John Patrick Shanley from #91 (he’d already been listed at #2).

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