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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4.01 avg rating — 601,645 ratings
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2

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3.89 avg rating — 550,029 ratings
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3

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4.17 avg rating — 248,345 ratings
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4

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3.82 avg rating — 123,015 ratings
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5

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3.74 avg rating — 1,746,453 ratings
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6

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3.94 avg rating — 379,032 ratings
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7

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3.88 avg rating — 265,258 ratings
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8

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3.90 avg rating — 153,058 ratings
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9

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3.49 avg rating — 153,358 ratings
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10

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4.06 avg rating — 71,870 ratings
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11

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3.97 avg rating — 224,803 ratings
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12

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3.60 avg rating — 81,993 ratings
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13

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3.70 avg rating — 84,348 ratings
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14

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3.64 avg rating — 38,120 ratings
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15

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3.68 avg rating — 141,877 ratings
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16

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3.55 avg rating — 265,382 ratings
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17

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3.90 avg rating — 77,905 ratings
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18

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4.07 avg rating — 47,206 ratings
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19

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4.09 avg rating — 52,423 ratings
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20

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4.06 avg rating — 63,269 ratings
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21

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3.81 avg rating — 143,156 ratings
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22

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3.68 avg rating — 23,860 ratings
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23

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3.68 avg rating — 96,307 ratings
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24

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3.73 avg rating — 53,394 ratings
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25

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3.78 avg rating — 14,906 ratings
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26

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4.19 avg rating — 16,804 ratings
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27

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4.07 avg rating — 30,848 ratings
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28

by
4.06 avg rating — 190,967 ratings
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29

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4.30 avg rating — 12,001 ratings
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30

by
3.66 avg rating — 25,917 ratings
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31

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3.97 avg rating — 134,004 ratings
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32

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4.09 avg rating — 23,329 ratings
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33

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4.20 avg rating — 14,855 ratings
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34

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3.79 avg rating — 134,620 ratings
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35

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3.94 avg rating — 12,848 ratings
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35

by
3.91 avg rating — 9,783 ratings
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37

by
3.79 avg rating — 46,997 ratings
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38

by
3.92 avg rating — 36,383 ratings
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39

by
3.93 avg rating — 50,904 ratings
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40

by
4.14 avg rating — 21,874 ratings
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41

by
4.04 avg rating — 32,447 ratings
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42

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4.02 avg rating — 13,403 ratings
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43

by
3.97 avg rating — 8,585 ratings
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44

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3.85 avg rating — 13,738 ratings
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45

by
3.90 avg rating — 15,650 ratings
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46

by
3.92 avg rating — 19,099 ratings
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47

by
3.85 avg rating — 12,080 ratings
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48

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3.84 avg rating — 14,095 ratings
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49

by
4.34 avg rating — 1,583 ratings
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50

by
3.90 avg rating — 564 ratings
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51

by
3.66 avg rating — 12,619 ratings
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52

by
3.85 avg rating — 6,670 ratings
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53

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4.06 avg rating — 6,524 ratings
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54

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3.70 avg rating — 8,150 ratings
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55

by
4.18 avg rating — 13,468 ratings
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56

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4.03 avg rating — 5,205 ratings
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57

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 29,865 ratings
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58

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3.85 avg rating — 30,045 ratings
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58

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3.69 avg rating — 20,972 ratings
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60

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4.21 avg rating — 29,943 ratings
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61

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3.87 avg rating — 35,105 ratings
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62

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4.07 avg rating — 18,553 ratings
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63

by
4.13 avg rating — 2,259 ratings
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64

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3.71 avg rating — 11,075 ratings
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65

by
3.94 avg rating — 16,824 ratings
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66

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3.81 avg rating — 138,432 ratings
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67

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3.58 avg rating — 3,345 ratings
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68

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3.79 avg rating — 4,495 ratings
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69

by
3.68 avg rating — 4,622 ratings
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70

by
3.82 avg rating — 19,737 ratings
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71

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3.98 avg rating — 4,398 ratings
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72

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3.99 avg rating — 10,739 ratings
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73

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3.84 avg rating — 45,068 ratings
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74

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4.08 avg rating — 695 ratings
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75

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3.95 avg rating — 6,821 ratings
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76

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 2,498 ratings
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77

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3.69 avg rating — 3,259 ratings
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78

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3.83 avg rating — 794 ratings
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79

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3.78 avg rating — 5,849 ratings
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80

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4.08 avg rating — 12 ratings
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81

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3.74 avg rating — 12,199 ratings
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82

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3.75 avg rating — 6,797 ratings
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82

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4.18 avg rating — 13,261 ratings
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84

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3.76 avg rating — 14,929 ratings
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85

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3.97 avg rating — 5,149 ratings
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86

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3.77 avg rating — 3,836 ratings
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87

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3.80 avg rating — 4,749 ratings
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88

by
3.76 avg rating — 7,304 ratings
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89

by
3.94 avg rating — 2,667 ratings
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90

by
3.74 avg rating — 6,484 ratings
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90

by
4.12 avg rating — 9,616 ratings
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92

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3.67 avg rating — 3,666 ratings
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93

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4.22 avg rating — 8,843 ratings
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94

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3.80 avg rating — 4,173 ratings
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95

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3.97 avg rating — 9,139 ratings
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96

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3.66 avg rating — 141,431 ratings
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97

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3.98 avg rating — 3,923 ratings
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98

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3.88 avg rating — 3,374 ratings
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99

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3.86 avg rating — 6,399 ratings
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100

by
3.64 avg rating — 8,989 ratings
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345 books · 361 voters · list created October 2nd, 2011 by David Lentz (votes) .
115 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


David 858 books
2015 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 2973 books
739 friends
Bettie☯ 14275 books
250 friends
Dawn 3395 books
38 friends
Autumn 1725 books
124 friends
Thom 6023 books
311 friends
ღ Carol jinx~☆~ 3030 books
403 friends
Marion 705 books
3 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-50 of 51) (51 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 the gift (new)

the gift 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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