I take great pride in the fact that our Theatre Arts Department at Francis Marion University is noted for recognizing and nurturing a love of theatre in students who are fairly new to the discipline. In order to help cultivate the theatrical knowledge of our majors, I’ve compiled a list of plays that Theatre Arts majors should have read by the time they graduate. This list, of course, is not comprehensive. Neither is it written in stone. It is, instead, a list designed to help our majors build a strong foundation in Theatre Arts — one that will serve them well when they graduate from Francis Marion University and either move directly into the theatre profession or go on to further their theatrical education in a graduate setting.

The following plays are in very rough chronological order.

  1. Antigone by Sophocles.
  2. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles.
  3. Medea by Euripides.
  4. Lysistrata by Aristophanes.
  5. Everyman.
  6. The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare.
  7. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare.
  8. Richard II by William Shakespeare.
  9. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare.
  10. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  11. Henry V by William Shakespeare.
  12. Hamlet by William Shakespeare.
  13. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.
  14. Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe.
  15. Volpone by Ben Jonson.
  16. The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster.
  17. Tartuffe, or The Impostor, or The Hypocrite by Molière.
  18. The Imaginary Invalid by Molière.
  19. The Country Wife by William Wycherley.
  20. The Way of the World by William Congreve.
  21. The Beaux Stratagem by George Farquhar.
  22. She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith.
  23. The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
  24. A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen.
  25. Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen.
  26. Miss Julie by August Strindberg.
  27. Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov.
  28. The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov.
  29. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.
  30. Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw.
  31. Playboy of the Western World by John Millington Synge.
  32. Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello.
  33. Hay Fever by Noël Coward.
  34. Desire Under the Elms by Eugene O’Neill.
  35. The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman.
  36. You Can’t Take It with You by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.
  37. Long Day’s Journey into the Night by Eugene O’Neill.
  38. The Good Woman of Setzuan by Bertolt Brecht.
  39. The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht.
  40. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams.
  41. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams.
  42. A Cat on a Hot Roof by Tennessee Williams.
  43. The Bald Soprano by Eugène Ionesco.
  44. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.
  45. The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
  46. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett.
  47. Endgame by Samuel Beckett.
  48. Bus Stop by William Inge.
  49. The Visit by Friedrich Dürenmatt.
  50. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry.
  51. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee.
  52. Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss.
  53. The Homecoming by Harold Pinter.
  54. The Odd Couple by Neil Simon.
  55. The Boys in the Band by Mart Crowley.
  56. Indians by Arthur Kopit.
  57. The House of Blue Leaves by John Guare.
  58. Equus by Peter Shaffer.
  59. American Buffalo by David Mamet.
  60. Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet.
  61. for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange.
  62. The Shadow Box by Michael Cristofer.
  63. The Elephant Man by Bernard Pomerance.
  64. Buried Child by Sam Shepard.
  65. True West by Sam Shepard.
  66. Fifth of July by Lanford Wilson.
  67. Amadeus by Peter Shaffer.
  68. Bent by Martin Sherman.
  69. A Soldier’s Play by Charles Fuller.
  70. Noises Off by Michael Frayn.
  71. The Dining Room by A. R. Gurney.
  72. “MASTER HAROLD”… and the boys by Athol Fugard.
  73. Fool for Love by Sam Shepard.
  74. Fences by August Wilson.
  75. The Piano Lesson by August Wilson.
  76. Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry.
  77. M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang.
  78. Angels in America: Millennium Approaches by Tony Kushner.
  79. Angels in America: Perestroika by Tony Kushner.
  80. The Kentucky Cycle by Robert Schenkkan.
  81. Arcadia by Tom Stoppard.
  82. Love! Valour! Compassion! by Terrence McNally.
  83. How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel.
  84. Almost, Maine by John Cariani.
  85. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang.


Did I miss any of your favorite plays? Do you feel that one I’ve listed is not terribly important? Let me know in the comments.