Goodreads Top 100 Stage Plays of All Time

The list of recommendations of the "Top 100 Stage Plays of All Time" originates from the Serious Literature Group of Goodreads.
1

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4.02 avg rating — 730,032 ratings
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2

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3.90 avg rating — 673,495 ratings
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3

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4.18 avg rating — 302,122 ratings
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4

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3.83 avg rating — 160,324 ratings
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5

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3.75 avg rating — 2,055,014 ratings
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6

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3.95 avg rating — 442,705 ratings
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7

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3.90 avg rating — 315,121 ratings
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8

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3.91 avg rating — 180,646 ratings
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9

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3.66 avg rating — 105,302 ratings
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10

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3.53 avg rating — 185,753 ratings
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11

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3.73 avg rating — 106,061 ratings
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12

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3.98 avg rating — 261,248 ratings
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13

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4.06 avg rating — 79,198 ratings
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14

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3.59 avg rating — 323,146 ratings
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15

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3.71 avg rating — 170,515 ratings
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16

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3.67 avg rating — 43,804 ratings
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17

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3.90 avg rating — 87,624 ratings
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18

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4.08 avg rating — 59,743 ratings
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19

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3.81 avg rating — 172,357 ratings
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20

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4.08 avg rating — 52,410 ratings
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21

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3.68 avg rating — 29,446 ratings
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22

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3.71 avg rating — 111,710 ratings
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23

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4.07 avg rating — 72,057 ratings
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24

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3.81 avg rating — 67,146 ratings
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25

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3.80 avg rating — 157,846 ratings
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26

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3.98 avg rating — 155,502 ratings
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27

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3.79 avg rating — 17,269 ratings
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28

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4.33 avg rating — 15,542 ratings
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29

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4.19 avg rating — 19,058 ratings
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30

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4.07 avg rating — 34,988 ratings
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31

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4.06 avg rating — 214,646 ratings
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32

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4.20 avg rating — 15,968 ratings
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33

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4.10 avg rating — 26,112 ratings
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34

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3.67 avg rating — 30,349 ratings
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35

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3.92 avg rating — 11,137 ratings
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36

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3.93 avg rating — 43,229 ratings
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37

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3.80 avg rating — 55,214 ratings
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38

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3.92 avg rating — 18,847 ratings
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39

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4.14 avg rating — 23,668 ratings
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40

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4.04 avg rating — 36,145 ratings
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41

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3.93 avg rating — 14,667 ratings
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42

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3.93 avg rating — 58,257 ratings
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43

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3.86 avg rating — 35,198 ratings
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44

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3.93 avg rating — 23,827 ratings
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45

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3.95 avg rating — 10,244 ratings
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46

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4.04 avg rating — 14,326 ratings
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47

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3.89 avg rating — 17,565 ratings
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48

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4.35 avg rating — 1,940 ratings
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49

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3.85 avg rating — 17,684 ratings
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50

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4.22 avg rating — 32,356 ratings
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51

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3.71 avg rating — 25,559 ratings
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52

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3.65 avg rating — 15,344 ratings
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52

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3.79 avg rating — 152,141 ratings
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54

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3.84 avg rating — 15,394 ratings
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55

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3.73 avg rating — 10,430 ratings
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56

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3.94 avg rating — 697 ratings
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57

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3.88 avg rating — 41,136 ratings
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58

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4.19 avg rating — 14,753 ratings
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59

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3.87 avg rating — 7,923 ratings
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60

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4.08 avg rating — 9,153 ratings
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61

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3.98 avg rating — 5,064 ratings
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62

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3.88 avg rating — 54,964 ratings
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63

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4.01 avg rating — 34,832 ratings
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64

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4.10 avg rating — 23,336 ratings
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65

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4.04 avg rating — 5,831 ratings
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66

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3.94 avg rating — 18,434 ratings
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67

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3.83 avg rating — 23,683 ratings
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68

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3.72 avg rating — 13,983 ratings
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69

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3.57 avg rating — 4,188 ratings
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70

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3.80 avg rating — 6,729 ratings
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71

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3.79 avg rating — 5,565 ratings
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72

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4.01 avg rating — 2,677 ratings
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73

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3.78 avg rating — 18,625 ratings
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74

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4.18 avg rating — 13,936 ratings
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75

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3.81 avg rating — 6,028 ratings
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76

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3.68 avg rating — 5,225 ratings
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77

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3.86 avg rating — 1,020 ratings
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77

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3.69 avg rating — 168,772 ratings
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79

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4.01 avg rating — 11,770 ratings
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80

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4.07 avg rating — 868 ratings
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81

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4.22 avg rating — 9,499 ratings
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81

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3.80 avg rating — 18,040 ratings
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83

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3.95 avg rating — 7,597 ratings
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84

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3.73 avg rating — 7,431 ratings
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85

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3.94 avg rating — 2,991 ratings
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86

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3.89 avg rating — 9,055 ratings
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87

by
3.44 avg rating — 18 ratings
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88

by
3.81 avg rating — 30,202 ratings
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89

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4.12 avg rating — 10,539 ratings
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90

by
3.72 avg rating — 12,880 ratings
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90

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3.75 avg rating — 9,116 ratings
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92

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3.70 avg rating — 3,856 ratings
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93

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3.69 avg rating — 4,433 ratings
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94

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 12,476 ratings
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95

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3.96 avg rating — 6,674 ratings
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96

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3.76 avg rating — 4,422 ratings
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97

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3.99 avg rating — 4,374 ratings
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98

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3.88 avg rating — 3,856 ratings
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99

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4.03 avg rating — 2,373 ratings
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100

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3.76 avg rating — 9,046 ratings
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flag this list (?)
376 books · 516 voters · list created October 2nd, 2011 by David Lentz (votes) .
142 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


David 858 books
1954 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3225 books
857 friends
Bettie 15582 books
124 friends
Dawn 4590 books
35 friends
Autumn 2386 books
157 friends
Thom 6023 books
307 friends
ღ Carol jinx~☆~☔ 3342 books
445 friends
Marion 947 books
4 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-50 of 55 (55 new)


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Why is Romeo and Juliet on twice?


message 2: by David (new)

David Lentz Sorry for the duplication of "R&J", the 100th play should be "Coriolanus" by Shakespeare.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Alrighty, I'll make it "remove duplicates," and that should solve the problem.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads OK, I have combined duplicates about five times and it won't stick. CJ, could you remove the one with the portrait of William Shakespeare on it, which is the duplicate?


message 5: by David (new)

David Lentz Thanks very much, Susanna.


message 6: by Bettie (new)

Bettie I take it this is a DO NOT ADD BOOKS TO THIS LIST type of list, only if it doesn't say that up top you know what'll happen

:O)


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads No problem! Let's just hope it sticks this time.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Bettie wrote: "I take it this is a DO NOT ADD BOOKS TO THIS LIST type of list, only if it doesn't say that up top you know what'll happen

:O)"


Good point. You might want to consider if you want to add that notice, David.


message 9: by David (new)

David Lentz Agreed. Done. Thank you, Bettie.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I see one's crept on already - you want me to remove Merchant of Venice, David?


message 11: by David (new)

David Lentz Yes, please.


message 12: by David (new)

David Lentz Dear CR,
No worries. It's a very fine play. The challenge for our Serious Literature Group was not to add every Shakespeare play but rather to give a chance to a broad array of worthy playwrights.


message 13: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin #96 and #98 both are Gorky, and list the same play, The Lower Depths, although one is an anthology.


message 14: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie is superior to any other Williams play and a good many on this list. Just saying.


message 15: by Tom (new)

Tom If you can't think of 100 better plays than ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, you need to think harder.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I see some outliers have crept on - you want me to remove them, David?


message 17: by Kathrina (new)

Kathrina Do you think the "outliers" can't hear you? This is listopia. Make a shelf if you want it private.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I'm merely asking the list creator, who wanted a closed list, if he wanted that respected or not.

I doubt the outliers can hear me; they are plays. Which didn't have ears, the last time I checked.


message 19: by Reese (new)

Reese Susanna wrote: "I'm merely asking the list creator, who wanted a closed list, if he wanted that respected or not.

I doubt the outliers can hear me; they are plays. Which didn't have ears, the last time I checked."


Touche!


message 20: by Reese (new)

Reese Kathrina wrote: "Do you think the "outliers" can't hear you? This is listopia. Make a shelf if you want it private."

A list maker isn't allowed to create the "rules of the game" because this is listopia???


message 21: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Reese wrote: "Kathrina wrote: "Do you think the "outliers" can't hear you? This is listopia. Make a shelf if you want it private."

A list maker isn't allowed to create the "rules of the game" because this is ..."


The Outliers are restless tonight.


message 22: by David (new)

David Lentz Dear Goodreaders,
This list has been open for discussion for nearly four weeks by the Serious Literature Group of Goodreads, which has also recently published Top 100 lists on literary novels and poems. This group is comprised of a highly diverse group of Goodreaders. I have agreed to publish the consensus of our group. The purpose of this list is to promote discussion about great stage plays. I'm glad to see that you have strong opinions and favorites as they will help to point readers to Goodreads. Please vote for your favorites and voice your agreement or disagreement with the list. There were so many great plays it was a challenge to identify only 100 -- Shakespeare properly occupies a significant section of the list and a strong argument could well be made that every one of his plays should be on this top 100 list. I don't agree with all the selections myself and haven't read all of them. Nevertheless, I do plan to indulge in reading and seeing new stage plays from this list. So please keep your comments coming on this list and feel free to build your own on Listopia: that's why it's there for you.


message 23: by Reese (last edited Oct 03, 2011 06:57AM) (new)

Reese David,

Thank you for explaining the purpose of this list and the process that led to its creation.

My own list of the top 100 stage plays would not match this list, but I realize that this list is not an invitation to the entire GR community to turn the list into an unlimited number of "top" plays. I hope that your message (#23) will encourage GR members to vote only for works on the Serious Literature Group's list and discourage voters from attempting to make the list something other than it was meant to be.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads David - do you want the titles not on the original list removed?


message 25: by David (new)

David Lentz Dear Susanna,
Yes, please -- Chaucer's "Miller's Tale" from the Canterbury Tales is not a stage play, for example, but appears in our Top 100 Poems List and does belong there as it is great. But Mel Brooks in the Top 100 Stage Plays of All Time? Or Neil Simon, really? "The Frogs" by Aristophenes is on our group's original list and should stay. A few of the other adds are quite interesting and I wish we had them earlier. Thank you for your help, Susanna.


message 26: by Reese (new)

Reese David wrote: "Or Neil Simon, really?"

David,
I'm, of course, not among those who have voted for plays that are not on the Serious Literature Group's list; and I think that the members who voted for a few of Neil Simon's plays did not select his best works. But in response to your comment in message #26, I want to say: "No Neil Simon, really?"


message 27: by David (new)

David Lentz The Serious Literature Group may well be guilty off being a little too serious. I'm loving your repartee.


message 28: by Reese (new)

Reese David wrote: "The Serious Literature Group may well be guilty off being a little too serious.

You took the words right out of my mind. Seriously. Thank you -- seriously.

CORIOLANUS -- seriously?


message 29: by Colin (last edited Oct 04, 2011 05:41AM) (new)

Colin Bruce Anthes I love the list; thank you for making this! And I'm for Coriolanus haha! However, I think Peter Pan should be added as the greatest piece of children's theatre. Also, I think the time is ripe to re-evaluate Ibsen. A Doll's House and The Master Builder, as utterly excellent as they are, are more period pieces. Although they still work very well on stage, they were specific to controversies of the day. An Enemy of the People is so well done, its relevance can still rile and enlighten audiences far better than plays being written about current affairs. Also, Peer Gynt has become a more and more relevant play as theatre techniques have evolved. Both plays were hugely impactful on contemporary playwrights such as Arthur Miller. The plays that made Ibsen iconic may no longer be his best works, now that we can see them from a distance.


message 30: by David (new)

David Lentz Colin wrote: "I love the list; thank you for making this! And I'm for Coriolanus haha! However, I think Peter Pan should be added as the greatest piece of children's theatre. Also, I think the time is ripe to re..."

Dear Colin,
I think that Tayyab is building a children's book top 100 list on which "Peter Pan" rightfully belongs. I totally get your point on Ibsen and agree with it. He did have a great influence on theatre in his day and thereafter but some may pale as period pieces. Thank you for your insight and sharp perspective.


message 31: by David (new)

David Lentz Reese wrote: "David wrote: "The Serious Literature Group may well be guilty off being a little too serious.

You took the words right out of my mind. Seriously. Thank you -- seriously.

CORIOLANUS -- serio..."


There's just no accounting for taste, Reese. I mean, Shakespeare? Seriously?


message 32: by Reese (new)

Reese Colin & David,

I have enjoyed reading the comments posted by each of you. And Colin, I'm with you on the place that AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE deserves to get before spots are given to ADH and TMB. I have an imagination deficiency, so I can't imagine what it would take to get me to support the inclusion of CORIOLANUS on a list of the top 100 stage plays "of all time."


message 33: by Reese (new)

Reese David wrote: "Dear Reese,
This ship has sailed after four weeks of serious discussion about what should be on the list: the list is the list. I encourage you to start your own list -- honestly. I have voluntaril..."


David,

I believe that you may have misunderstood my intention. In responding to Colin's comments, I was simply engaging in an exchange of opinions. Your remarks in message #23 seemed to encourage discussion of the list. I wasn't attempting to get the Group to modify the list, nor am I interested in starting a new list. The site has a Best Plays or Musicals list and a Best American Plays list, and I've already voted for works on both lists.


message 34: by Colin (last edited Oct 04, 2011 05:34PM) (new)

Colin Bruce Anthes Haha Coriolanus is a strange play that always seems to be making a comeback. It's raw and has essentially no likeable characters, keeping it from ever become a mainstream staple,but the very real, pulsating arguments and fascinating character portrayal always spark the minds of deep Shakespeare diggers, the way something like All's Well that Ends Well does not.Olivier had massive success with it, T.S. Eliot called it Shakespeare's best tragedy, and now it's a gold star for Ralph Fienes both on stage and screen. I call it the great underdog play.


message 35: by David (new)

David Lentz Colin wrote: "Haha Coriolanus is a strange play that always seems to be making a comeback. It's raw and has essentially no likeable characters, keeping it from ever become a mainstream staple,but the very real, ..."

Dear Colin,
Very astute and well said. Thank you.


message 36: by Reese (new)

Reese Colin wrote: "Haha Coriolanus is a strange play that always seems to be making a comeback. It's raw and has essentially no likeable characters, keeping it from ever become a mainstream staple,but the very real, ..."

Colin,
I have to admit that your passionate remarks about CORIOLANUS have shaken the scale in my head that, for many years, has had almost nothing but tedious scholarly articles sitting on it. I should see Ralph Fienes and forget "The Dialectic of Transcendence in CORIOLANUS" etc. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.


message 37: by David (new)

David Lentz Let's open this excellent list to gain the benefit of the intellectual capital of all Goodreaders based upon our list of Top 100 Stage Plays recommended by the Serious Literature Group. I'll take off the "Please Do Not Add Books" notation and see where this accessibility takes our list.


message 38: by Michael (new)

Michael How about Copenhagen by Michael Frayn?


message 39: by Lowell (new)

Lowell Kite Importance of Being Earnest #3? I read a play the other night called MURDER WITH GRACE that was as good as Wilde's overrated play.


message 40: by Betsy (new)

Betsy I've done some community theater and so I got to add some of these to my read list on GoodReads. My favorite part out of the plays listed was the Professor in Our Town - " We have some of the oldest dirt in the world here. We're very proud of that. "


message 41: by J (new)

J Name Why is "Of Mice and Men" in this list?


message 42: by David (new)

David Lentz Dear Jeremiah,
Thanks. Deleted. It's a novel.


message 43: by Anna (new)

Anna Kļaviņa So it's OK to add books to this list? I would like to add Miss Julie, Faust and The Inspector General


message 44: by Colin (new)

Colin Bruce Anthes Those are terrific recommendations, Anna!


message 45: by David (last edited Aug 08, 2013 03:50PM) (new)

David Lentz Dear Julie,
Yes, we opened up the list to everyone after a while.
Feel free to make additions as long as they're great stage plays. Love "Faust": Part I is already there at #20.
Cordially,
David


message 46: by Sebastian (new)

Sebastian Panfili Hm... can it be I haven't read enough plays? or is that I've forgotten that many?


message 47: by Pamela (last edited Sep 14, 2013 03:52AM) (new)

Pamela Surely an indication of how great a play is would be how often it is performed regardless of age? The best of the Shakespeare canon is continuously performed worldwide. 'Antigone' despite being over three thousand years old can still be seen in the original or as Seamus Heaney's re-working of it in many a theatres repertoire. But Aristophanes 'The Frogs' ? Really? When was the last time anyone actually saw a performance of The Frogs? It may still be studied in Classics/Literature classes, but a play is meant to be watched not just read.The test of a great play is in performance and The Frogs doesn't hold up. For that reason I think Neil Simon,who was somewhat maligned here, would be a better choice than Aristophanes. Come on admit it, you'd rather watch Brighton Beach Memoirs any day :D Viv 'The Frivolous Literature Group'


message 48: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Colin wrote: "I love the list; thank you for making this! And I'm for Coriolanus haha! However, I think Peter Pan should be added as the greatest piece of children's theatre. Also, I think the time is ripe to re..."

I have to disagree with regards to A Doll's House I have just seen The Young Vic's production of A Doll's House with a new translation by Simon Stephens and both my friend and I were surprised at how relevant the play still is, even to a modern audience. Coriolanus gets my vote, there is going to be a great new production at The Donmar in November, the hottest ticket in London this year!


message 49: by Marisa (new)

Marisa Maharaj Thanks for this.


message 50: by Shyam (new)

Shyam Reddy Thanks for the top 100 stage plays. I have English Literature Exam in India. I have to read all these stories now to crack the exam. Thanks for your help From Shyam Reddy http://readwritelistenspeak.com/meton...
I will be coming back to read this stuff again and again.


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