Rob posts the following on his blog:
This is a misleading conclusion, for a number of reasons. For starters, TCG's Top-10 lists exclude plays by Shakespeare because it's not a fair fight; he handily beats the other playwrights, living or dead, year in and year out. Also, more to the point, Teachout has compiled a list of the Top 10 most-produced shows over a decade, but the way he's worded this litany, it reads as if American theaters have produced "no" productions by these authors at all. "No history, in other words."
There's one other problem: By listing playwrights' names, Teachout exposes another flaw in his data-mining. A thorough list of "most-produced" playwrights over the last 10 years would paint a different picture. Conor McPherson, Sarah Ruhl, and August Wilson would probably be on the list, for starters; so, I daresay, would many of the writers Teachout lists above. Because while each year's Top 10 reflects that year's hottest plays while they're white-hot, it fails to register the hardy warhorses and Streetcars that don't crack the Top 10 but, over the aggregate of 10 years, are likely to outrun the temporary favorites. It also fails to account for authors, new and old, who are too prolific to rise to the top with just one defining play; maybe no single Chekhov or Williams play had as many productions as Wit or Doubt in the 2000s; but I'm willing to bet Teachout a lunch that Chekhov and Williams received more productions than did Margaret Edson or David Auburn.
On my lunch hour, just out of curiosity, I started to go through the seasons of our companies here in Boston for at least the past few years...
In very short order it became overwhelmingly clear that Terry's data appears to bear out. Newer work dominates the last decade.
Rob's point is well taken, but it doesn't appear, at least on what I see for Boston, to be enough to offset Terry's main argument. The names he lists are very rare birds on our landscape in comparison to newer works.
The exception so far is Anton Chekhov. Aside from Shakespeare, Chekhov pretty much rules the last decade. I have only gone through a small number of companies, but he is already hitting almost a dozen productions.
Shaw though less, doesn't fare too badly either. However, Rebeck, Rapp, Jon Robin Baitz, August Wilson and some others aren't THAT far behind.
More to the point though - new and/or newer work is increasingly dominating our stages.
I'll work more on compiling the data as I can, but it may take some time.
As a side note: There are immediately things I run into that can throw things off though.
For instance, the ART had something of a Mamet festival last year, so suddenly you have 5 Mamet plays interjected into the data.
I started compiling the data in a spreadsheet, and I'll continue to do so.