Suggested Reading

The following is a list of plays and books we suggest that theatre students read during their college careers. The list is not exhaustive but touches upon most works thought to be seminal. 100 of these works are in bold face to indicate their relative importance.

At least one play should be read every week, including summers. Obviously, a good number of these plays will be encountered in both classes and production work.

All students should develop a facility for using the library and other research resources as early as possible.

In order to retain information for future reference, students are advised to keep a computer file, journal, or file of index cards with the following information for all plays read in and out of class:

  • Title
  • Playwright
  • Year written
  • First Performance
  • Style and Genre
  • Principle Characters
  • Plot Synopsis (50-60 words)
  • Brief Analysis (statement of theme, or central action, or main dramatic question)
  • Significance


Aeschylus The Oresteia
Albee, Edward Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Zoo Story, A Delicate Balance
Anderson, Maxwell Winterset
Anonymous The Second Shepherd's Play, Everyman
Anouilh, Jean Antigone
Ansky, S. The Dybbuk
Arden, John Serjeant Musgrave's Dance
Aristophanes The Birds, The Frogs , Lysistrata
Baraka, Imaru Slave Ship, The Dutchman
Beckett, Samuel Endgame, Waiting for Godot , Krapp's Last Tape
Behan, Brendan The Hostage
Behn, Aphra The Rover
Bolt, Robert A Man for All Seasons
Brecht, Bertolt Baal, Caucasian Chalk Circle, Mother Courage, Threepenny Opera, Galileo
Büchner, Georg Danton's Death, Woyzeck
Calderón de la Barca, Pedro Life is a Dream
Camus, Albert Caligula
Capek, Karel RUR
Chekhov, Anton Cherry Orchard, The Seagull, The Three Sisters, Ivanov, Uncle Vanya
Churchill, Caryl Top Girls, Cloud Nine
Cocteau, Jean The Infernal Machine
Congreve, William The Way of the World
Corneille, Pierre Le Cid
Coward, Noel Blithe Spirit, Private Lives
Dürrenmatt, Friedrich The Physicists, The Visit
Eliot, T. S. Murder in the Cathedral
Euripides The Bacchae, Trojan Women, Medea
Farquhar, George The Recruiting Officer, The Beaux' Strategem
Feydeau, Georges A Flea in Her Ear
Fo, Dario Accidental Death of an Anarchist
Fornés, María Irene The Conduct of Life
Frisch, Max The Firebugs
Fugard, Anthol Master Harold and the Boys, Sizwe Banzi is Dead
García Lorca, Federico Blood Wedding, House of Bernarda Alba
Genet, Jean The Balcony, The Maids
Giraudoux, Jean Tiger at the Gates, The Madwoman of Chaillot
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von Faust
Gogol, Nicolai The Government Inspector
Goldsmith, Oliver She Stoops to Conquer
Goldoni, Carlo The Servant of Two Masters
Gorky, Maxim The Lower Depths
Handke, Peter Kaspar
Hansberry, Lorraine A Raisin in the Sun
Hellman, Lillian The Little Foxes, Toys in the Attic
Hochhuth; Rolf The Deputy
Horváth, Õdön von Tales from the Vienna Woods
Hwang, David Henry Golden Child
Ibsen, Henrik A Doll's House, An Enemy of the People, Hedda Gabler, Ghosts
Inge, William Come Back Little Sheba, Bus Stop, Picnic
Ionesco, Eugene Bald Soprano, Rhinoceros , The Chairs
Jarry, Alfred Ubu Roi
Jonson, Ben Volpone, The Alchemist
Kaufmann and Hart You Can't Take it With You, The Man Who Came to Dinner
Kaufmann, Moisés The Laramie Project
Kushner, Tony Angels in America, A Bright Room Called Day
Kyd, Thomas The Spanish Tragedy
Lilo, George The London Merchant
McCullers, Carson A Member of the Wedding
MacLeish, Archibald J. B.
Mamet, David A Life in the Theatre, American Buffalo, Glengarry Glen Ross, Oleanna
Marlowe, Christopher Dr. Faustus, The Jew of Malta
McDonagh, Martin The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Miller, Arthur The Crucible, Death of a Salesman, A View from the Bridge, All My Sons
Molière Tartuffe, The Miser , The School for Wives, The Misanthrope
Müller, Heiner Hamletmachine
Nichols, Peter Joe Egg
Norman, Marsha Getting Out, 'Night Mother
O'Casey, Sean Juno and the Paycock, The Plough and the Stars
O'Neill, Eugene Anna Christie, Emperor Jones , The Iceman Cometh, A Long Day's Journey into the Night, Desire Under the Elms
Odets, Clifford Awake and Sing!, Waiting for Lefty
Orton, Joe What the Butler Saw
Osborne, Joh Look Back in Anger, The Entertainer
Pinero, Arthur Wing The Schoolmistress
Pinter, Harold Dumb Waiter, The Birthday Party, Homecoming, Betrayal, The Caretaker
Pirandello, Luigi Six Characters in Search of an Author
Plautus The Twin Menaechmi
Rabe, David Streamers
Racine Andromanque, Phaedre
Rice, Elmer The Adding Machine
Rostand, Edmund Cyrano de Bergerac
Saroyan, William The Time of Your Life
Sartre, Jean Paul No Exit, The Flies
Schnitzler; Arthur La Ronde
Shakespeare, William A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, Comedy of Errors, Hamlet, King Henry IV - Part I, King Lear, Macbeth, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Julius Caesar, Merchant of Venice
Shange, Ntozake For Colored girls Who Have Considered Suicide
Shaw, George Bernard Candida, Heartbreak House, Pygmalion, The Arms and the Man, St. Joan, Man and Superman
Shepard, Sam Buried Child, Curse of the Starving Class, True West, Angel City
Sheridan, Richard The School for Scandal
Simon, Neil Good Doctor, Biloxi Blues, The Odd Couple, Plaza Suite
Sophocles Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone, Philoctetes
Stoppard, Tom Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are Dead, Arcadia, The Real Thing
Strindberg, August A Dream Play, Miss Julie
Synge, John Millington The Playboy of the Western World

Thomas, Dylan

Under Milkwood
Tourneur, Cyril The Revenger's Tragedy
Vogel, Paula How I Learned to Drive
Wasserstein, Wendy The Sisters Rosensweig
Webster, John The Duchess of Malfi
Wedekind, Frank Spring's Awakening, Pandora's Box, Earth Spirit
Weiss, Peter The Assassination and Persecution of Jean Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum at Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade
Wilde, Oscar The Importance of Being Earnest
Wilder, Thornton Our Town, The Skin of Our Teeth
Williams, Tennessee A Streetcar Named Desire, Night of the Iguana, The Glass Menagerie, Camino Real
Wilson, August Fences, The Piano Lesson, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Wilson, Lanford Fifth of July, Rimers of Eldrich
Wycherley, William The Country Wife


The following list of theatre books covers most aspects of theatre study. Many of these are indispensiple additions to any theatre student's library. Most of these can be found in Scribner Library and many are available in paperback editions.


Adler, Stella The Technique of Acting
Aristotle The Poetics
Aronson, Arnold American Set Design
Artaud, Antonin The Theatre and it's Double
Ball, William A Sense of Direction
Bartow, Arthur The Director's Voice
Bay, Howard Stage Design
Beckerman, Bernard Dynamics of Drama: Theory and Method of Analysis
Benedetti, Robert The Director at Work
Bentley, Eric The Playwright as Thinker, The Life of the Drama
Berry, Cicely The Actor and the Text
Bloom, Harold Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human
Bogart, Anne Viewpoints
Boleslavski, Richard Acting: The First Six Lessons
Brecht, Bertolt Brecht on Theatre
Brockett, Oscar History of the Theatre
Brook, Peter The Empty Space, Threads of Time, The Open Door
Bruder, Melissa The Practical Handbook of the Actor
Brustein, Robert The Theatre of Revolt, Letters to a Young Actor
Burris-Meyer/Cole Scenery for the Theatre
Chaikin, Joseph The Presence of the Actor
Chekhov, Michael To The Director and Playwright, To the Actor
Clurman, Harold On Directing
Cole, Susan Directors in Rehearsal
Cole, Toby Directors on Directing
Corson, Richard Stage Makeup
Craig, Edward Gordon The Art of the Theatre
Dukore, Bernard Dramatic Theory and Criticism: Greeks to Grotowski
Esslin, Martin An Anatomy of Drama, Brecht, Theatre of the Absurd
Farber, Donald From Option to Opening, Producing Theatre
Gillette, J. Michael Theatre Design and Production
Goldman, William The Season
Gorelik, Mordechai New Theatres for Old
Grotowski, Jerzy Towards a Poor Theatre
Hagen, Uta Respect for Acting , A Challenge for the Actor
Hays, David Light in the Subject
Hodge, Francis Play Directing
Hull, Loraine Strasberg's Method
Jones, David Great Directors at Work
Jones, Robert Edmond The Dramatic Imagination
Langley, Stephen Theatre Management in America
Lewis, Robert Advice to the Players
Linklater, Kirstin Freeing the Natural Voice
Mamet, David Writing in Restaurants, True and False
Marranca, Bonnie Theatre of Images
Meisner, Stanford On Acting
Moore, Sonia The Stanislavsky System
Parker & Smith Scene Design and Stage Lighting
Pecktell, Lynn Designing and Painting for the Theatre
Pilbrow, Richard Stage Lighting
Roose-Evans, James Experimental Theatre
Rosenthal, Jean The Magic of Light
Rudlin, John Commedia Dell' Arte: An Actor's Handbook
Russell, Douglas Stage Costume Design
Schechner, Richard Environmental Theatre, The End of Humanism
Simonson, Lee The Stage is Set
Southern, Richard The Seven Ages of the Theatre
Spolin, Viola Improvisation for the Theatre
Stanislavski, Konstantin An Actor Prepares, Building a Character, Creating a Role, My Life in Art
Styan, J. L. Modern Drama in Theory and Practice
Stern, Lawrence Stage Management
Suzuki, Tadashi The Way of Acting
Watson and McKernie A Cultural History of the Theatre
Willett, John The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht