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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Noël Coward is listed (or ranked) 51 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Noël Coward Private Lives, Hay Fever Tonight at 8:30

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Biljana Srbljanović is listed (or ranked) 52 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Biljana Srbljanović Porodične priče, The Fall Skakavci

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August Wilson is listed (or ranked) 53 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
August Wilson Fences, The Piano Lesson Seven Guitars

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Alfred Jarry is listed (or ranked) 54 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Alfred Jarry Ubu Roi, Supermale

55
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Stephen Sondheim is listed (or ranked) 55 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Stephen Sondheim Into the Woods, Company

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Sławomir Mrożek is listed (or ranked) 56 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Sławomir Mrożek DOS Cartas, Das dramatische Werk in sieben Bänden Vatzlav

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Martin McDonagh is listed (or ranked) 57 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Martin McDonagh Seven Psychopaths, In Bruges The Pillowman

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Gabriele d'Annunzio is listed (or ranked) 58 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Gabriele d'Annunzio Cabiria, The Triumph of Death Halcyon

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Milena Markovic is listed (or ranked) 59 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Milena Markovic White White World, Tomorrow Morning

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

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Simon Stephens is listed (or ranked) 61 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Simon Stephens On the Shore of the Wide World, Harper Regan Port

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Ivor Martinić is listed (or ranked) 62 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History

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Ben Jonson is listed (or ranked) 63 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Ben Jonson The Alchemist, Volpone Every Man in His Humour

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Caryl Churchill is listed (or ranked) 64 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Caryl Churchill Top Girls, Cloud Nine Mad Forest

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Carlo Goldoni is listed (or ranked) 65 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Carlo Goldoni Servant of Two Masters, The Venetian Twins The Venetian Twins

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Tena Štivičić is listed (or ranked) 66 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Tena Štivičić Fragile!

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Dario Fo is listed (or ranked) 67 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Dario Fo Master Breasts: Objectified, Aesthetisized Fantasized

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

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Elfriede Jelinek is listed (or ranked) 69 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Elfriede Jelinek The Piano Teacher, Malina Greed

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Guillaume Apollinaire is listed (or ranked) 70 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

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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

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Federico García Lorca is listed (or ranked) 72 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Federico García Lorca Blood Wedding, Yerma

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Pierre de Beaumarchais is listed (or ranked) 73 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

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Rainer Werner Fassbinder is listed (or ranked) 74 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Rainer Werner Fassbinder Berlin Alexanderplatz, Querelle World on a Wire

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Botho Strauß is listed (or ranked) 75 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Botho Strauß The Distant Land, Theaterstücke 3. 1993 - 1999 Schlußchor. Drei Akte

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Conor McPherson is listed (or ranked) 76 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Conor McPherson The Eclipse, I Went Down This Lime Tree Bower: Three Plays

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Pier Paolo Pasolini is listed (or ranked) 77 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Pier Paolo Pasolini La Dolce Vita, The Gospel According to St. Matthew Nights of Cabiria

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Seán O'Casey is listed (or ranked) 78 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Seán O'Casey Juno and the Paycock, Juno and the Paycock The Plough and the Stars

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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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Friedrich Dürrenmatt is listed (or ranked) 80 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

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Yasmina Reza is listed (or ranked) 81 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Yasmina Reza Carnage, Art God of Carnage

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Thomas Bernhard is listed (or ranked) 82 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Thomas Bernhard Extinction, Correction Old Masters

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Georg Büchner is listed (or ranked) 83 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Georg Büchner Werke und Briefe, Briefe von ihm und Briefe an ihn Woyzeck

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Pierre de Marivaux is listed (or ranked) 84 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Pierre de Marivaux L' épreuve, Le préjugé vaincu La Vie de Marianne

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Tracy Letts is listed (or ranked) 85 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Tracy Letts Killer Joe, August: Osage County Bug

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Denis Diderot is listed (or ranked) 86 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Denis Diderot Memoirs of a Nun, Rameau's Nephew Encyclopédie

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William Inge is listed (or ranked) 87 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
William Inge Splendor in the Grass, Let's Make It Legal Come Back

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John Osborne is listed (or ranked) 88 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
John Osborne Tom Jones, The Entertainer The Charge of the Light Brigade

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Mark Ravenhill is listed (or ranked) 89 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Mark Ravenhill Faust, Bette Bourne: It Goes with the Shoes Pool (No Water) & Citizenship

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

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Vladimir Mayakovsky is listed (or ranked) 91 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Vladimir Mayakovsky Mystery-Bouffe, Night & Morning The bedbug

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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

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Marius von Mayenburg is listed (or ranked) 93 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Marius von Mayenburg Fireface, The Ugly One

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Karel Čapek is listed (or ranked) 94 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Karel Čapek War with the Newts, Adam the creator R.U.R.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda is listed (or ranked) 95 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History

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Mikhail Bulgakov is listed (or ranked) 96 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Mikhail Bulgakov The Master and Margarita, The White Guard Heart of a Dog

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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

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Peter Weiss is listed (or ranked) 98 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Peter Weiss Marat/Sade

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Émile Zola is listed (or ranked) 99 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Émile Zola Nana, Germinal Thérèse Raquin

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John Millington Synge is listed (or ranked) 100 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
John Millington Synge Teatro Irlandes, The Complete Plays The Playboy of the Western World