books The Greatest Playwrights in History  

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List Rules Top writers of theatre and stage plays, including musicals

List of the best playwrights ever that span all time periods and issues in the plays that they wrote. Well known playwrights such as William Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, and Arthur Miller are included on this list along with more modern playwrights that have yet to have the same kind of recognition as these big names and their classic plays.

A playwright writes dramatic literature or a drama and can be used as performance pieces or as closet dramas that are not performed and only read as literary works. Recognizable titles are listed with the author’s name, like “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare or “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller.

This list of the best playwrights asks the question, "Who is the best playwright ever?" and can be voted on by readers to change the order of who is on top. Each playwright is listed with a picture of themselves and have some of their most famous works listed next to their name to be identified easier. If you do not see a popular or your favorite playwright on the list, be sure to add them to have others be able to vote on them, as well.
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51
+ - 20 17
Sławomir Mrożek is listed (or ranked) 51 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Sławomir Mrożek DOS Cartas, Das dramatische Werk in sieben Bänden, Vatzlav

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52
+ - 33 33
Cyrano de Bergerac is listed (or ranked) 52 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Cyrano de Bergerac Voyages to the Moon and the Sun, Selenarchia: The Government of the World in the Moon, The Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon and Sun

53
+ - 59 39
Ben Jonson is listed (or ranked) 53 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Ben Jonson The Alchemist, Volpone, Every Man in His Humour

54
+ - 103 83
Stephen Sondheim is listed (or ranked) 54 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Stephen Sondheim Into the Woods, Company

55
+ - 42 33
Carlo Goldoni is listed (or ranked) 55 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Carlo Goldoni Servant of Two Masters, The Venetian Twins, The Venetian Twins

56
+ - 64 60
Sarah Kane is listed (or ranked) 56 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Sarah Kane Blasted, Crave, Cleansed

57
+ - 74 55
Noël Coward is listed (or ranked) 57 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Noël Coward Private Lives, Hay Fever, Tonight at 8:30

58
+ - 9 8
Jon Fosse is listed (or ranked) 58 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Jon Fosse The Girl on the Sofa, Visites - variations sur la mort, Jenta i sofaen

59
+ - 43 39
Caryl Churchill is listed (or ranked) 59 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Caryl Churchill Top Girls, Cloud Nine, Mad Forest

60
+ - 8 7
Roland Schimmelpfennig is listed (or ranked) 60 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Roland Schimmelpfennig Woman Before, Push up, The Golden Dragon

61
+ - 74 59
Federico García Lorca is listed (or ranked) 61 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Federico García Lorca Blood Wedding, Yerma

62
+ - 20 22
Gabriele d'Annunzio is listed (or ranked) 62 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Gabriele d'Annunzio Cabiria, The Triumph of Death, Halcyon

63
+ - 39 36
Dario Fo is listed (or ranked) 63 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Dario Fo Master Breasts: Objectified, Aesthetisized, Fantasized

64
+ - 7 8
Biljana Srbljanović is listed (or ranked) 64 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Biljana Srbljanović Porodične priče, The Fall, Skakavci

65
+ - 7 8
Simon Stephens is listed (or ranked) 65 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Simon Stephens On the Shore of the Wide World, Harper Regan, Port

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66
+ - 7 8
Ivor Martinić is listed (or ranked) 66 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History

67
+ - 39 38
Pierre de Beaumarchais is listed (or ranked) 67 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Pierre de Beaumarchais The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, Le vœu de toutes les nations

68
+ - 86 78
David Mamet is listed (or ranked) 68 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
David Mamet Race, Glengarry Glen Ross

69
+ - 7 8
Tena Štivičić is listed (or ranked) 69 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Tena Štivičić Fragile!

70
+ - 13 9
Elfriede Jelinek is listed (or ranked) 70 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Elfriede Jelinek The Piano Teacher, Malina, Greed

71
+ - 72 68
Lillian Hellman is listed (or ranked) 71 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Lillian Hellman The Children's Hour, Another Part of the Forest, The Lark

72
+ - 6 11
Milena Markovic is listed (or ranked) 72 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Milena Markovic White White World, Tomorrow Morning

73
+ - 11 18
Guillaume Apollinaire is listed (or ranked) 73 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Guillaume Apollinaire L'hérésiarque et Cie, Les Onze Mille Verges ou les Amours d'un hospodar, Alcools

74
+ - 40 30
Friedrich Dürrenmatt is listed (or ranked) 74 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Friedrich Dürrenmatt The Marriage of Mr. Mississippi, It Happened in Broad Daylight, The Judge and His Hangman

75
+ - 8 5
Pier Paolo Pasolini is listed (or ranked) 75 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Pier Paolo Pasolini La Dolce Vita, The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Nights of Cabiria

76
+ - 14 14
Thomas Bernhard is listed (or ranked) 76 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Thomas Bernhard Extinction, Correction, Old Masters

77
+ - 51 24
Lin-Manuel Miranda is listed (or ranked) 77 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History

78
+ - 18 19
Botho Strauß is listed (or ranked) 78 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Botho Strauß The Distant Land, Theaterstücke 3. 1993 - 1999, Schlußchor. Drei Akte

79
+ - 12 12
Witold Gombrowicz is listed (or ranked) 79 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Witold Gombrowicz Three Plays, Trans-Atlantyk, Les Envoûtés

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80
+ - 7 5
Rainer Werner Fassbinder is listed (or ranked) 80 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Rainer Werner Fassbinder Berlin Alexanderplatz, Querelle, World on a Wire

81
+ - 17 18
Pierre de Marivaux is listed (or ranked) 81 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Pierre de Marivaux L' épreuve, Le préjugé vaincu, La Vie de Marianne

82
+ - 24 41
Denis Diderot is listed (or ranked) 82 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Denis Diderot Memoirs of a Nun, Rameau's Nephew, Encyclopédie

83
+ - 23 40
Vladimir Mayakovsky is listed (or ranked) 83 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Vladimir Mayakovsky Mystery-Bouffe, Night & Morning, The bedbug

84
+ - 18 21
Karel Čapek is listed (or ranked) 84 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Karel Čapek War with the Newts, Adam the creator, R.U.R.

85
+ - 36 31
William Inge is listed (or ranked) 85 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
William Inge Splendor in the Grass, Let's Make It Legal, Come Back

86
+ - 24 30
Georg Büchner is listed (or ranked) 86 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Georg Büchner Werke und Briefe, Briefe von ihm und Briefe an ihn, Woyzeck

87
+ - 35 33
Mikhail Bulgakov is listed (or ranked) 87 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Mikhail Bulgakov The Master and Margarita, The White Guard, Heart of a Dog

88
+ - 6 8
Conor McPherson is listed (or ranked) 88 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Conor McPherson The Eclipse, I Went Down, This Lime Tree Bower: Three Plays

89
+ - 34 31
John Osborne is listed (or ranked) 89 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
John Osborne Tom Jones, The Entertainer, The Charge of the Light Brigade

90
+ - 69 47
Sam Shepard is listed (or ranked) 90 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Sam Shepard True West, Fool for Love, Cowboy Mouth

91
+ - 32 29
Yasmina Reza is listed (or ranked) 91 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Yasmina Reza Carnage, Art, God of Carnage

92
+ - 13 18
Ludovico Ariosto is listed (or ranked) 92 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Ludovico Ariosto Sir John Harington's translation of Orlando Furioso, Il negromante, Orlando Furioso

93
+ - 33 31
Tracy Letts is listed (or ranked) 93 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Tracy Letts Killer Joe, August: Osage County, Bug

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94
+ - 20 16
Seán O'Casey is listed (or ranked) 94 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Seán O'Casey Juno and the Paycock, Juno and the Paycock, The Plough and the Stars

95
+ - 4 6
Marius von Mayenburg is listed (or ranked) 95 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Marius von Mayenburg Fireface, The Ugly One

96
+ - 31 34
Peter Weiss is listed (or ranked) 96 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Peter Weiss Marat/Sade

97
+ - 27 27
W. Somerset Maugham is listed (or ranked) 97 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
W. Somerset Maugham Of Human Bondage, The Razor's Edge, The Unfaithful

98
+ - 4 9
Mark Ravenhill is listed (or ranked) 98 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Mark Ravenhill Faust, Bette Bourne: It Goes with the Shoes, Pool (No Water) & Citizenship

99
+ - 37 40
Aaron Sorkin is listed (or ranked) 99 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Aaron Sorkin The Social Network, A Few Good Men, Moneyball

100
+ - 27 28
Émile Zola is listed (or ranked) 100 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Émile Zola Nana, Germinal, Thérèse Raquin