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1927
Georgia Douglas JohnsonDrama, Folk Play
 
Charity’s daughter Emeline is seriously ill. A pompous doctor advises her that a $50 operation could save Emeline’s life, but that’s a devastating amount for her poor family, and besides, Charity doesn’t trust the man. She faces the heartbreaking dec…
 

About the Playwright

Georgia Douglas Johnson
Georgia Douglas Johnson
Georgia Douglas Johnson (c.1880-1966) was a playwright, poet, journalist and musician. She began her professional life as a teacher, working in Atlanta schools for about 10 years after she graduated from college. She left teaching to study music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland College of Music in Ohio, taking classes in harmony, violin, voice and piano. After completing her studies, she returned to Atlanta and resumed her teaching career, working her way up to assistant pr…
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It is the final day of the 19th century, and the last day the Stanhope family will spend in their home. While they are packing up their belongings, a reporter arrives inquiring about the late Alison Stanhope, a renowned poet. The family finds themsel…
 

About the Playwright

Susan Glaspell
Susan Glaspell
Susan Keating Glaspell (1876-1948) Born July 1, 1876, in Davenport, Iowa, Susan Glaspell published news articles and short stories even before entering Drake University, from which she received a degree in philosophy. Over the course of her career, she wrote more than fifty short stories, nine novels, fourteen plays, and a biography of her husband, George Cram (Jig) Cook. It is difficult to imagine the Provincetown Players (1916-1922) without Glaspell, a founding member who acted as well as w…
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1934
Zoe AkinsDrama, Melodrama, Literary Adaptation
 
Charlotte Lovell battles her cousin Delia for the affection of her illegitimate child, whom she reluctantly gave to Delia to raise. In the end, will the child see Charlotte, her biological mother, as nothing more than “an old maid”?
 

About the Playwright

Zoe Akins
Zoe Akins
Zoe Akins (1886-1958) was a playwright, poet, critic and novelist. Born in the small town of Humansville, Missouri, she was encouraged to write by her father. Drawn to the theatre, she also briefly tried an acting career—but after a season of walk-ons, she decided to focus on writing. Her first play to be produced in New York was the verse drama The Magical City (1915), performed by the Washington Square Players. In 1919, Akins made her Broadway debut with Papa: An Amorality in Three Acts, whic…
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1936
Maurine Dallas WatkinsBackstage Comedy
 
The fabulous diva Lily Darnley is on her way back to Broadway with a fabulous new play, Empty Hands—and she has plenty of suggestions how to make it more fabulous, even if they make everybody else miserable. Meanwhile, an ambitious young ingénue, Ker…
 

About the Playwright

Maurine Dallas Watkins
Maurine Dallas Watkins
Maurine Dallas Watkins (1896-1969) is little remembered today, despite being the author of Chicago (1926) the smash Broadway comedy about two “merry murderesses” with showbiz aspirations that would, fifty decades after its premiere, inspire the smash Broadway musical of the same name. The play was based on Watkins’s observations as journalist covering the Windy City’s sensational Jazz Age murder trials. Watkins’ career encompassed more than Chicago—she earned a playwriting degree from Yale Scho…
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1939
Lillian HellmanDrama, Melodrama
 
Set in Alabama in 1900, the play tells the saga of the Hubbard family, who have lied, cheated, beaten, and killed their way to the top for generations. With the rise of industrialization, they want to keep that way—they’ve drawn up plans for a new co…
 

About the Playwright

Lillian Hellman
Lillian Hellman
Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) ranks among the most famous and controversial of American playwrights. She never shied away from provocative, social justice-based themes. Her first play, The Children’s Hour (1934), about two owners of a girls’ school accused of having a lesbian affair, was considered so shocking that some members of the Pulitzer Prize committee refused to see it, costing it a nomination. Toys in the Attic (1960) featured two eccentric Southern sisters whose potential was never value…
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1948
Fay KaninComedy
 
Liberal Congresswoman and former war reporter Agatha Reed returns to her alma mater, the Good Hope College for Women, to screen a documentary about World War II. Reed wants the young graduates to see the horrors of war firsthand, but the college’s co…
 

About the Playwright

Fay Kanin
Fay Kanin
Fay Kanin (1917-2013) has written for stage, screen, and television—winning two Emmys, the Writers’ Guild of America Edmund H. North Award, and the Humanitas Prize Keiser Award during her seven decade career. Kanin was also President of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences from 1979 to 1983, the second woman to hold that post. Kanin began her career as a story editor and script reader for RKO in the 1930’s, networking with executives and learning everything about the business—from l…
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1953
Jane BowlesTragicomedy
 
Set on the border between Mexico and California in the 1940s, the play explores the mysterious, powerful, and sometimes suffocating attachment between a mother and her daughter—the beautiful, aristocratic Gertrude Eastman Cuevas and her seemingly imp…
 

About the Playwright

Jane Bowles
Jane Bowles
Jane Bowles (1917-1973) wrote only one novel, one play, and seven short stories in her lifetime, but her impact on American literature is significant. Both Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams cited her as influences, and her surprising, spiky surreal writing style anticipated a changing literary landscape. Bowles was known for her wry, self-deprecatory sense of humor. “I’m Jewish, homosexual, alcoholic, a communist—and a cripple!” she once replied when asked why she remained on the literary fr…
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1955
Alice ChildressComedy, Drama
 
A scathing indictment of racism in American commercial theatre, Trouble in Mind tells the story of Wiletta Mayer, an African-American actress cast in a supposedly “progressive” play about racism by a white male author—it turns out to be anything but …
 

About the Playwright

Alice Childress
Alice Childress
Alice Childress (1912-1994) was an actress, novelist, and playwright. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, she moved to Harlem at age five, where she was raised by her grandmother. Alice’s grandmother encouraged her love of writing, and Alice found inspiration in her family’s stories as well as the lives of the people around her. In particular, the stories she heard at weekly church events inspired her to focus on the lives of urban African-Americans. Alice developed a passion for theatre and at…
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