Thursday, January 14, 2010

So Far....

With my production spreadsheet growing to over 600 productions spanning between the 1999-2000 and 2009-2010 Theatre seasons in Boston, I thought it might be time to give an update on the playwrights in the lead:

Anton Chekhov (12)
Israel Horovitz (11)
Conor McPhereson (8)
Richard Dresser (8)
Harold Pinter (7)
Moliere (6)
Stephen Sondheim (6)
David Mamet (5)
Noel Coward (5)
Theresa Rebeck (5)
Richard Greenburg (5)
George Bernard Shaw (5)
Tom Stoppard (5)
Yasmina Reza (5)

Note: The data is not complete, but includes most of the shows from our Professional Theaters: Huntington, New Rep, Nora, Company One, Merrimack Rep, Stoneham Theatre, Gloucester Stage, Publick Theatre, Speakeasy Stage Company, Trinity Rep etc. For those theaters I have fairly complete information. There are still a good many plays that I don't have the author's names for so I can't really label them fully.

I purposely have not include productions from Actors Shakespeare Company, Boston Playwrights Theatre or Shakespeare and Company. The reason is that when I started this project most of the talk was about excluding Shakespeare because he wins hands down. I, therefore, also excluded Boston Playwrights because they are specifically devoted to new works, much like Playwrights Horizon in New York City.

Another way I broke down the information is by types of plays.

Classic Canon - Plays up until around 1900 - Greeks up to Chekhov,Ibsen, etc
20th Century - Plays after 1900 and up to around the early to mid 1990's.
Contemporary Plays - Plays written from around 1990 up until 2010.

As a note of explanation: David Mamet's Speed the Plow would be labeled 20th Century, but David Mamet's Romance would be contemporary.

I understand that this seems arbitrary - because it is. But I had to draw the line somewhere.

What I tried to do when labeling these productions was use some sort of judgement. As an example: Speakeasy Stage produced a fun, hip version of Craig Lucas's Reckless this past December, but I didn't label it as Contemporary because the play was first produced in 1988. However, if Speakeasy had produced that play in their 1999-2000 season, I would have labeled it Contemporary.

Here is how things breakdown for completed entries:

35 Classic Canon
115 20th Century
392 Contemporary

Let me know if you have any suggestions


99 said...

I wonder how many of the theatres are members of TCG or listed in their profiles. It's interesting that some of the playwrights with more representation in the Boston area (Horovitz, Dresser) don't seem to appear much on the national lists. Given the numbers here, they should.

Kudos again on doing a hard, tedious job.

Thomas Garvey said...

Horovitz is local - he lives north of Boston, in Gloucester, and Gloucester Stage often premieres his work. Dresser has a relationship with the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, in Lowell.

Art said...


Israel Horovitz is the Artistic Director of Gloucester Stage, so they obviously do about one of his plays every year.

As I mentioned before, Richard Dresser and Merrimack Rep hit a good groove together for a while and they produced 7 of his 8 productions.

Merrimack Rep is a TCG Member, Gloucester stage is not.

Horovitz has 15 productions listed with TCG member theaters across the country in the last decade.

Richard Dresser has 46 productions listed in the TCG database. the 46 includes his Merrimack Rep productions.

Ian Thal said...

As I said in the comments section of an earlier post, it would be expected that even if Teachout's statistics show the overall national trends (or at least the Nylach trends) that there would be regional differences owing to the interests of the local theatre community (such as Horowitz being A.D. for Gloucester Stage, or other such relationships between a playwright and a particular company.)

So, it's quite reasonable that any local theatre-scene audit will have some deviations from either the Nylach or national audits even if the same methodology was employed.

Steve said...

Fascinating stuff. Thanks for sharing it with us.