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December 23, 2009


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Neil Simon is alive?

Rob Kozlowski

You know, this list reminds me: Is there a more successful, less-talked-about playwright in this country than Steven Dietz? I think I envy him most of all because no one seems to spend any time hating his work.


I was just thinking that, when we give the statistics on this list, there's one we never note: age. After some speedy wikipediaing and some calculations, here's what I found (leaving out the names):

in their 80s - 1
in their 70s - 1
in their 60s - 1
in their 50s - 1
in their 40s - 1
in their 30s - 3

For two of them, I was unable to find any info, but, given the biographical information, I'd put one in the 30/40s bracket and one in the 50s.

I don't know if that kind of analysis is worth anything, but there it is.

Jack Worthing

For what it's worth, I'd criticize much of Mamet's recent work (save RACE) as I did Ruhl's. Not sure how the productions break down, but I'd guess there are a few of NOVEMBER, PANTHEON, etc.


99, and ALL 8 are kind of boring!


I'm going to continue on in the blissful ignorance that this was 12 productions of Compleat Female Stage Beauty and none of Tuesdays with Morrie...

And I actually think surprisingly many of these playwrights are *not* boring. Or, have some boring plays and some not? (see: the first part of my comment.) Like, Peter Nachtrieb? God, the fact that so many people are into Boom is just awesome. (Although that's another case where level of production - is it all second stages and such? - would be interesting to know.) And if you're gonna do safe realism, Donald Margulies does that damn well and, now that I think of it, writes some solid parts for women. And Opus is good!

Do some new plays become trendy, and sort of take over the country? Sure. But 9 productions - even 17 - is hardly an epidemic. Maybe they're not all pushing forward the form or whatever - though may every regional theatre in the country have to figure out how to make it rain from an elevator - but I like a lot of these plays, and I'm happy for these writers.


(I did not mean to say that Peter Nachtrieb has some boring plays and some not. I don't think I know anything of his other than Boom. Yet.)


That's an interesting point, Jaime. There are 74 member theaters in the League of Resident Theaters. TCG's numbers are a little harder to calculate as they say they have "700 theaters and affiliate organizations" in their membership (anyone at TCG want to tell us how many member theaters there are?). Rob's list also includes Broadway and Commercial Off-Broadway.

Anyway, it's just interesting that the Most Produced Playwrights still don't have the hugest amount of productions in the world.

And certainly, getting back to Ruhl, I think in Chicago there's a different level of saturation. We get one Ruhl play a year here in New York, not three in one season, each from one of the biggest theaters in town.


I saw Steven Dietz' "Shooting Star" and it's easy to see why a play like that would get produced regionally: two actors, not much in the way of sets. It's about man and a woman who used to be a couple and are reunited by chance. It probably appeals to the older theatergoing demographic. It's funny and the characters and plot are interesting. He has a good ear for witty dialogue. And he doesn't shy away from bringing up hot-button subjects. It's the kind of play you could walk out of the theater talking about. I know I'd like to see more of his work.

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